REEVE, Bovingdon, circa 1700

March 2005




John Reeve (johncr200 @t of Bournemouth writes: I am trying to find the parents of Thomas Reeve, I do not have a birth date but I know the following:

He married a woman called Frances ?, they had 5 children all born in Bovingdon, Hannah born and died 1703, John 1704, Frances 1706, Thomas 1708, (who is a direct ancestor), and Rebekah 1711.

Around the turn of the century some of my ancestors moved into Aston Clinton and from then I had relatives on both side of the Bucks/Herts border. One descended from the Bucks side was John Reeve mentioned in the section Where did your Ancestors shop? He was a stationer in Tring. 

In drafting your question you omitted the sources of your information about Thomas & Frances's children. It would seem to come from a family tree indexed on familysearch and submitted to the Church of Later Day Saints after 1991 rather than an original source. The inclusion of such family trees in familysearch can be very misleading as some of the trees are full of errors. (see The Limits of the IGI on Familysearch

The information on the British Vital Records CD set is far more reliable and gives the following information. (The entries are duplicate and while I did not check one set is presumably the registers and the other could be the bishops' transcripts.)

Name Father Mother Born Baptised
Hannah Thomas Reeve - 2 May 1703 9 May 1703
John Thomas Reeve Frances   20 Aug 1704
Francisca Thomas Reeve     15 Sep 1706
Thomas Thomas Reeve Frances   19 Sep 1708
Rebekah Thomas Reeve Frances   21 Oct 1711
Isaac Thomas Reeve Frances   Oct 1713

This shows that the familysearch was reasonably accurate but incomplete, bearing in mind it was less detailed and had missed Isaac.

As I am sure you have already determined there are no obvious Thomas Reeve marriages on and I can add that there are none on the British Vital Records. In fact there may be not record of such a marriage in existence. Before 1754 a couple could be married by affirmation before witnesses, and details would only appear in the parish register if it was a church wedding. More particularly there was a tax on the registration of marriages between 1698 and 1703 (exactly the period one would expect Thomas and Frances to have married) and as a result many of the marriages of the poor were not registered.

Unfortunately the prospects of finding a straightforward birth record for Thomas is not good. (see Where is my ancestor's baptism before 1837?) In addition many of the parish records have "problems" during the period of the Commonwealth and Bovingdon's registers before 1674 are lost. Once King Charles II had been restored to the throne (during the period when Thomas was probably born) many children were baptised by dissenting ministers and nothing would appear in the parish registers.  The fact that three of Thomas's children were given Old Testament names (Hannah, Rebekah and Isaac) could well point to his coming from a non-conformist background.

Whether there are other records which will allow you to probe back before about 1700 will depend on the social status and occupation of the family at the time (the poor left few records) and the survival of any manorial and other records. You might find it easier to discover what the family was doing during the 18th century (not just births, marriages and deaths) and use this knowledge to plan any "push" back into the 17th century. Because cousin marriage were common, exploring other ancestral branches may also help get round "missing" data.

Finally. the family tree from which the familysearch entries were extracted was presumably drafted by a cousin of yours who is also interested in genealogy - and you might want to follow this up,

If you can add to the information given above tell me.