Ives Surname Genealogy

The Ives surname derived from the Old French name Ive, meaning
“yew” or “bow,” and has its modern equivalence in the French
Yves. The name was introduced by the Normans into England at the
time of the Conquest – although the place-name St.
Ives in Cornwall was apparently named after a 5th century Irish female

Ives Resources on

Ives Ancestry

The Ives surname has mainly cropped up on the east coast of England
– from Yorkshire in the north down to Essex and London.

An Ives family were prominent merchants in the woollen industry in
Norwich in the 18th century. Four Jeremiah Ives were mayors
during that time, Jeremiah Ives, the mayor in 1733; Jeremiah Ives the
elder; Jeremiah Ives of St. Clements; and Jeremiah Ives of St. George’s
The last of these Ives built Catton Hall and
died there
in 1820, aged sixty six.

Jeremiah Robert Ives bought Bentworth Hall in Hampshire in 1848.
After his death, his widow Emma raised their illegitimate grandson
George at the house. George, a friend and supporter of Oscar
Wilde, became a writer, penal reformer and early gay rights campaigner.

Another Ives family were Norfolk landowners and merchants at Great
Yarmouth. John
born there in 1751, was an antiquarian and
an officer of arms at the College of Arms in London, although he did
not leave a good impression on everyone.

“Mr. Ives possessed a quick and lively
fancy, but seems to have been deficient in sound antiquarian
learning. He died in 1776 at the early age of 25 years.”

The 1851 census for Norfolk showed 358 Ives individuals living at
130 different addresses. One family account traces an Ives family
from Burnham in rural Norfolk who migrated to Lancashire in search of
jobs at the cotton mills.

An Ives family owned the New Inn in Ealing in the 17th century where
that ran a coaching service to London. Another Ives family were
curriers in Cratfield near Halesworth in Suffolk. In 1864
two brothers of this family, Walter and Charles, started the
manufacture of boots. Six generations later, John Ives runs the
family shoe business in Woodbridge, Suffolk.

America. William Ives
left London in 1635 aboard the Truelove
bound for New England. In the years that followed, he married
Hannah Dickerman and was one of the co-founders of New Haven,
Connecticut. William and Hannah had nine children and are
considered to be the progenitors of the largest Ives family in

The family produced an unusual number of noteworthy descendants.
As Arthur Coon Ives put it in his 1932 Genealogy of the Ives

“A member of our family was the first
explorer of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado, one is president of a
large insurance company, one ranks among America’s best known
publishers, one became a member of the Canadian Parliament, one is
known for his ability as a railroad builder, one rose from humble
circumstances to the office of lieutenant governor, and one – the black
sheep – became a famous horse thief and bandit.”

Prominent bearers of the Ives name in Connecticut in the 19th century –
not necessarily all are related – include:

  • Chauncey Ives (from New Haven), the neo-classical sculptor.
  • Edward Ives
    (from Bridgeport), the toymaker. He and his son
    Harry were the subjects of Louis Hertz’s 1950 biography Messrs. Ives of Bridgeport.
  • Frederick Ives (from Litchfield), a pioneer of color and
    stereoscopic photography. His son Herbert headed the development
    of facsimile and television systems at AT&T.
  • Henry Ives
    (from Litchfield), the so-called “Napoleon of Finance,” a stock
    manipulator responsible for a brief but spectacular Wall Street scandal
    in the 1880’s.
  • and Charles Ives (from Danbury), the modernist composer. He
    was the son of George Ives, a bandleader during the Civil War.

A more recent genealogy has been Dorothy Gilmore’s 1988 book The Migrating Ives and their Descendants.

Ives Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Ives Names

James Ives co-founded
with Nathaniel Currier the American printmaking firm of Currier &
Ives in 1857.
Charles Ives

was an American modernist composer, widely regarded as one of the first
American composers of international renown.
Burl Ives was a well-known American folk-singer, writer, and

Select Iveses Today

  • 7,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Yorkshire)
  • 3,000 in America (most numerous in New York)
  • 4,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)




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