Richard Ives just returned England where he was conducting more research for his book about his branch of the Ives family in America. He was kind to share his latest discoveries and conclusions. The text that follows is by Richard with only a few minor edits. After a careful examination of the evidence that has recently come to light about the William Ives who was baptized in Langham, Rutland County, England on March 21, 1607, Richard has become convinced that he and our ancestor, William Ives, who arrived in Boston in 1635, are the same person. The evidence to support this view is, admittedly, scanty but extremely compelling.
The first bit of evidence resides in the fact that on the day Will Ives, the immigrant to Boston, boarded the "Truelove" in England, he was asked to swear his allegiance to King Charles - which he did. He was no doubt asked other questions by the ever-suspicious Royal customs and immigrations inspector, but the only answer the inspector was required to write down was William's age, which Will Ives gave as "28." This age accords perfectly with the date of birth of William Ives of Langham. To grasp the significance of this fact, one ought to ask just how men named William Ives were living in England in the early decades of the 17th century? We know of at least half a dozen and there may have been twice that many. How many of the William Ives men we know about were born in 1607? Answer? Only one.
The second bit of evidence is somewhat more tangential but nevertheless extremely telling. When William Ives of New Haven died in about May 1648, his wife (We will call her Hannah for the same of convenience) understood that in a matter of months she must find a husband (At her age, she would not have been allowed to live without a husband in New Haven.). Now, consider the fact that she might have found a man from anywhere in New England to marry, or she might have chosen an immigrant from any of the 10,000 towns and villages in England itself. Whom did she choose in the end? Dr. William Bassett, scion the Bassett clan of North Luffenham (pronounced "Luff-Num") a village located just 9 miles from Langham, where the only English William Ives we know of from that period who was born in 1607 was born and raised. What, then, are the chances then that William Ives of Rutland and William Ives of New Haven are not the same person?
For some time now, our cousin David Ives and Richard have been in contact with the Langham Village History Group, based in Will Ives' home village, which has produced a magnificent volume entitled The Life and Families of 17th Century Langham. In it there is a considerable amount of information in it that pertains to Will Ives' youth, his family, and his ancestors. Richard would urge any Ives person who is interested in knowing about the background of our ancestor, Will Ives, to purchase a copy. A careful examination of the book and of the website that the Langham History Group maintains on the internet will open vistas that Ives researchers have been seeking for hundreds of years. Richard believes the that the book may be purchased directly from the Langham History Group, which can be contacted at LVG@LanghaminRutland.org The Langham Village History Group Home Page can be accessed simply by entering the name at Google Search or any search engine.
Last month, Richard traveled to England and met with members of the Langham Village History Group. They could not have been more obliging and generous in their hospitality. He laid the evidence before them that indicates that Will Ives of Langham and Will Ives of New Haven were one in the same person, and they agreed that the evidence is extremely persuasive. Attached below are a few photos by Richard of the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul at Langham - the church where Will Ives was baptized in 1607. Also included is a photo of the font - original to the church, and dating from the 16th century of before - at which Will Ives was baptized.
Finally, Richard it is time to clear the air about a few details relating to Will Ives, both before he arrived in America, and after. Three years ago, he procured copies of the records of church membership for St. Stephen Coleman, London for the years 1630 to 1635 from the LDS genealogical center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Since 17th century English cannot be read by anyone not trained to read that script, he paid several experts to decipher the rolls. What they revealed was that Will Ives was never enrolled as a tithing member of St. Stephen Coleman during the period 1630-1635, nor is there a record of any person named Ives having been enrolled during that time. The legend, perpetrated by well-meaning scholar Isabel Calder that Will Ives was a member of Reverend Davenport's congregation is, simply, false. This is not meant to suggest that Will did not attend St. Stephen - he may have - only that the records indicate clearly that he was never a member.
There is a second bit of William Ives lore in need of correction. It is been stated in the past that on arriving at Boston in 1635, Will resided in Cambridge/Watertown Massachusetts, near Boston, presumably to be near or live with his supposed kinsman, Miles Ives. As far as I have been able to discover, there is not the slightest bit of evidence to support this claim. Because the Ives name is relatively rare, they were probably related, and in view of the fact that Boston and Cambridge were mere villages at the time, the two men probably did meet, but that is really all that can be said about it.