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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the English Reeves family come from? What is the English Reeves family crest and coat of arms? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Reeves family history?

The history of the name Reeves dates back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It is derived from a member of the family who worked as a local representative of a lord. The surname Reeves originally derived from the Old English word Gerefa which referred to a representative. Occupational names that were derived from the common trades of the medieval era transcended European cultural and linguistic boundaries. Occupational names have remained fairly commonplace in the modern period. This is attested to by the continuing appearance of occupational suffixes at the end of many English surnames. Some of these suffixes include: herd, monger, maker, hewer, smith and wright.

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Only recently has spelling become standardized in the English language. As the English language evolved in the Middle Ages, the spelling of names changed also. The name Reeves has undergone many spelling variations, including Reeve, Reve, Reave, Reaves, Reeves and others.

First found in Suffolk where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the census rolls taken by the ancient Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Reeves research. Another 163 words(12 lines of text) covering the years 1662, 1818, 1900, 1608, 1658, 1618, 1678, 1660, 1678, 1673 and 1737 are included under the topic Early Reeves History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 125 words(9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Reeves Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Reeves family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 47 words(3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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To escape the unstable social climate in England of this time, many families boarded ships for the New World with the hope of finding land, opportunity, and greater religious and political freedom. Although the voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, those families that arrived often found greater opportunities and freedoms than they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Reeves were among those contributors:

Reeves Settlers in the 17th Century


  • Jo Reeves, aged 19, landed in New England in 1634
  • Leonard Reeves, who arrived in Virginia in 1638
  • Edward Reeves, who landed in Virginia in 1650
  • Charles Reeves, who landed in Virginia in 1652
  • Edmond Reeves, who arrived in Virginia in 1657


Reeves Settlers in the 18th Century


  • Rachel Reeves, who arrived in Virginia in 1701
  • Robert Reeves, who arrived in Virginia in 1705
  • Richard Reeves, who landed in New England in 1716
  • John Reeves, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Thomas Reeves, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750


Reeves Settlers in the 19th Century


  • John Henry Reeves from England, deserted the British Navy by jumping overboard at Channel Head, Newfoundland swimming to Port Aux Basques, and changing his name to Lawrence, in the early 1800's
  • Frederick Reeves, aged 3, arrived in Kennebunk, Me in 1830
  • Joseph Reeves, aged 7, landed in Kennebunk, Me in 1830
  • Henry Reeves, aged 5, arrived in Kennebunk, Me in 1830
  • Mary Reeves, aged 31, landed in Kennebunk, Me in 1830


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  • Florence Reeves (1894-2005), English suffragette, civil servant, and notable supercentenarian
  • Sims Reeves (1818-1900), English tenor
  • Mr. David Reeves (d. 1912), aged 36, English Second Class passenger from Slinfold, West Sussex who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
  • Mr. Frederick Simms Reeves, aged 33, English Greaser from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping on life boat 4
  • Alec Harley Reeves CBE (1902-1971), British scientist best known for his invention of pulse-code modulation
  • Admiral Joseph Mason "Bull" Reeves (1872-1948), United States Navy officer who became known as the "Father of Carrier Aviation" for his role in integrating aircraft carriers into the Fleet
  • Amber Reeves (1887-1981), British feminist writer and scholar
  • Hubert Reeves CC, OQ (b. 1932), Canadian astrophysicist and popularizer of science
  • Keanu Reeves (b. 1964), Canadian actor awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005, probably best known for his lead role in the Matrix series of films
  • Bryant Reeves (b. 1973), retired American Basketball Player

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  • Those Reeves Girls by Christine Wood.
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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Animum rege
Motto Translation: Rule thy mind.

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  1. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  2. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  3. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  4. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  5. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  6. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  8. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  9. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  10. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  11. ...

The Reeves Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Reeves Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 28 March 2014 at 07:49.

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