David Ivens, or to give me my full name Charles David Hardy Ivens, has been researching this family for over 30 years now. I am now joined on this site by fellow ‘Ivens family’ researcher, Jan Arnold, who holds much personal history of the Warwickshire family.
My family were a family of hoarders, and when my father died I found interesting wooden boxes stuffed full of notes, jottings and photos. Add to that the photo albums, letters, newspaper cuttings and saved official documents – however innocuous, and you end up with a fascinating insight into our past.
Then again, my mother was interested and implored her in laws to write down their memories, (her own family history being largely lost).
The result was an attempt to draw up a family tree. The advantage I had was that I lived in the 20th century with its communication breakthrough in the Internet.
I started with basic searches on the web sites, which revealed more Ivens than I had ever heard about. This lead me to the Warwick Record Office where I discovered scores of Ivens in and around the Warwickshire villages during the early 19th century, and some into the 18th century.
By placing them into a large home-made map of the district, I realised how the various families had evolved. Swinbrook, where my family emanates from, sits just to the south of this region.
I now live in Moreton in Marsh, Gloucestershire, where the counties of Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire meet. It is the home of the Ivens family. I am surrounded by villages that appear in the records.
Since those early days I have made contact with countless descendants of Ivens around the world, but notably in Portugal, Australia, Canada, and of course around the UK.
Many have supplied half remembered trees looking for connections and ancestors. All these trees have been logged, and as information comes to light the trees start to fit into the bigger picture. It’s like a giant jigsaw.
But I am not alone. There are several Ivens descendants who are equally keen to explore this family, and I have chatted with many, and even met up with a group. The historical family information they hold is quite fascinating. One of the great pleasures this whole project gives is the insight into the social history of the times. The ordinary lives of people. While the ‘famous’ are of course interesting, it is the day to day stories that bring history to life.
My latest project is to establish a database of ALL known Ivens (and Ivins) taken from all the Census (1841-1911) and the 1939 Register, plus Birth, Marriage, Death, Probate and Parish records and combine them into a comprehensive source of individuals and families with supporting documentation. It’s nearly complete and includes all the family trees that have been sent in over the years. It currently holds some 10,200 individual records representing 5,200 individuals from early the 17th century onwards.
But, despite this, I have yet to find the elusive link that connects the Swinbrook family to the much larger Warwickshire families. One day!
Nevertheless, I am keen to keep the Ivens story alive and interesting for future generations. Not only for the enthusiasts like me, but for our kith and kin, so that they know who they are and where they fit in the world.
I’m hoping that you will also add your anecdotes, photos and interesting family papers.
This is our place!