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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


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 United States 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 United States 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

Reeves Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Mary Reeves, aged 31, landed 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
  • Frederick Reeves, aged 3, arrived in Kennebunk, Me in 1830
  • Absalom Reeves, who landed in Texas in 1835


Reeves Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • John Reeves, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Thomas Reeves, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Mr. John Reeves U.E. who settled in St. John River [Saint John], New Brunswick c. 1784
  • John Reeves was Chief Justice of Newfoundland in 1791

Reeves Settlers in Canada 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
  • James Reeves settled in English Harbour in 1835

Reeves Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • William Reeves, English convict from Surrey, who was transported aboard the "Andromeda" on October 16, 1826, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • John Reeves, English convict from Sussex, who was transported aboard the "Argyle" on March 5th, 1831, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Austraila
  • William Reeves, English convict from Buckinghamshire, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on February 22, 1834, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Austraila
  • Isaac Reeves arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lalla Rookh" in 1840
  • Alfred Reeves arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lalla Rookh" in 1840


Reeves Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Elizabeth Reeves, aged 29, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Prince of Wales" in 1842
  • Eliza Reeves arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Wyvern" in 1856
  • William Reeves, aged 22, arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ambrosine" in 1860
  • Ann Reeves arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "African" in 1860
  • Richard Reeves arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ida Zeigler" in 1863


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  • Anita Lynn Reeves (1964-1988), American Passenger from Laurel, Maryland, America, who flew aboard the Pan Am Flight 103 from Frankfurt to Detroit, known as the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 and died
  • Martha Rose Reeves (b. 1941), American R&B and Pop singer
  • George Reeves (1914-1959), American actor, best known for his role as Superman in the 1950s television program
  • Albert L. Reeves (b. 1873), American Republican politician, Member of Missouri State House of Representatives, 1901-02; Judge of U.S. District Court, 1923-
  • Alan F. Reeves, American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from California 6th District, 1974
  • Abram Reeves, American politician, Member of New Jersey State House of Assembly from Cape May County, 1859-60
  • A. B. Reeves, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Kansas, 1908
  • Albert Lee Reeves Jr. (1906-1987), American Republican politician, Lawyer
  • Alfred J. Reeves, American politician, Delegate to New York State Constitutional Convention 6th District, 1915
  • Andrew Crozier Reeves (1867-1936), American politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from New Jersey, 1932

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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. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  3. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  4. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  5. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  6. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  7. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  8. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  9. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  10. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  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 6 April 2016 at 16:06.

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