Reeve History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The origins of the Reeve surname lie with the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name Reeve began when someone in that family worked as a local representative of a lord, a reeve, sheriff, steward or bailiff. [1] [2] The surname Reeve was originally derived from the Old English (ge)refa which referred to a representative. [3] The name is "an official appointed by the lord of the manor to supervise his tenants' work." [4]

Early Origins of the Reeve family

The surname Reeve was first found in Leicestershire where Walter and James le Reve were listed in 1220. John atte Reuese was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire in 1327. The plural form of the name which is actually most common today dates back to 1332 when Richard del Reves was listed in the Subsidy Rolls for Lancashire in 1332. [3]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included: Sampson le Reve, Suffolk; and John le Reve, Cambridgeshire. [5]

In Somerset, William le Reve, John le Reveson, and William le Reveson were listed there 1 Edward III (during the first year of the reign of King Edward III.) [6]

Early History of the Reeve family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Reeve research. Another 124 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1662, 1611, 1638, 1686, 1729, 1818, 1900, 1585, 1647, 1660, 1594, 1672, 1608, 1658, 1618, 1678, 1660, 1678, 1673, 1737, 1667, 1726, 1667, 1861 and 1865 are included under the topic Early Reeve History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Reeve Spelling Variations

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Reeve has appeared include Reeve, Reve, Reave, Reaves, Reeves and others.

Early Notables of the Reeve family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Edmund Reeve (1585-1647), English Justice of the Common Pleas, son of Christopher Reeve of Felthorpe, Norfolk; Edmund Reeve (died 1660), English divine, vicar of Hayes-cum-Norwood, Middlesex; Thomas Reeve (1594-1672), English Royalist divine, born at Langley, Norfolk, son of Thomas Reeve, a husbandman; John Reeve (1608-1658), an English plebeian prophet, believed the voice of God had instructed him to found a Third Commission in...
Another 69 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Reeve Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Reeve World Ranking

In the United States, the name Reeve is the 4,795th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [7] However, in New Zealand, the name Reeve is ranked the 640th most popular surname with an estimated 1,122 people with that name. [8] And in the United Kingdom, the name Reeve is the 635th popular surname with an estimated 10,404 people with that name. [9]

Ireland Migration of the Reeve family to Ireland

Some of the Reeve family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 196 words (14 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Reeve migration to the United States +

At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Reeve arrived in North America very early:

Reeve Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Samuel Reeve, who arrived in Virginia in 1622 [10]
  • Nathaniel] Reeve, who arrived in Virginia in 1623 [10]
  • Joe Reeve, who settled in New England in 1634
  • Francis Reeve who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Dennis Reeve, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Reeve Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Catherine Reeve, who landed in Virginia in 1704 [10]
Reeve Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Reeve, aged 30, who arrived in Missouri in 1848 [10]
  • Alfred, Charles, James, John, Mark, Robert Reeve all, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania between 1840 and 1870

Canada Reeve migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Reeve Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Richard Reeve, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749-1752
  • Thomas Reeve, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1749-1752

Australia Reeve migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Reeve Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William Reeve, English convict from Cambridge, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 17, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [11]
  • George Reeve, English convict from Suffolk, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on February 22, 1834, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [12]
  • Mr. Benjamin Reeve, English convict who was convicted in Norfolk, Norfolkshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Augusta Jessie" on 27 September 1834, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [13]
  • C. Reeve, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Dawson" in 1839 [14]
  • Mr. Henry Reeve, English convict who was convicted in Norwich, Norfolk, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Candahar" on 26th March 1842, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land), he died in 1842 [15]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Reeve migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Reeve Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Reeve, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Tyne" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 9th August 1841 [16]
  • J. Reeve, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Alexandrina" in 1871
  • Alexander Reeve, aged 31, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "City of Auckland" in 1872
  • George Reeve, aged 34, a farmer, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Apelles" in 1874
  • Elizabeth Reeve, aged 32, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Apelles" in 1874
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Reeve migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [17]
Reeve Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Reeve, who settled in St. Christopher (Saint Kitts) in 1635
  • Mr. Thomas Reeve, (b. 1611), aged 24, British settler traveling aboard the ship "Matthew" arriving in St Christopher (Saint Kitts) in 1635 [18]
  • John Reeve was banished to Barbados in 1685

Contemporary Notables of the name Reeve (post 1700) +

  • Christopher D'Olier Reeve (1952-2004), American actor, film director, producer, screenwriter, author and activist, known for his role as Superman, founder of the Christopher Reeve Foundation
  • Jill Reeve (b. 1969), American bronze medalist field hockey defender
  • John H. Reeve, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Orange County 2nd District, 1868, 1876 [19]
  • John A. Reeve (1859-1935), American Democratic Party politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Burlington, 1887, 1929-30 [19]
  • J. Reeve, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from New York, 1868 [19]
  • George B. Reeve, American politician, Candidate for New York State Assembly from Suffolk County 1st District, 1933 [19]
  • George B. Reeve, American politician, Member of California State Assembly 8th District, 1862-63 [19]
  • Emmor Reeve, American politician, Member of New Jersey State Senate from Salem County, 1861-63 [19]
  • Carl Reeve, American politician, Candidate for U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, 1940 [19]
  • Barnabus F. Reeve, American politician, Representative from New York 1st District, 1876 [19]
  • ... (Another 22 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Hood
  • Mr. Robert E Reeve (b. 1901), English Leading Steward serving for the Royal Navy from Norwich, Norfolk, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [20]


The Reeve Motto +

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.


  1. ^ Dixon, Bernard Homer, Surnames. London: John Wilson and son, 1857. Print
  2. ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  3. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  5. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  6. ^ Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  7. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  8. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  9. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  10. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  11. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Albion voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1823 with 200 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/albion/1823
  12. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Arab voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1834 with 230 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/arab/1834
  13. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th August 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/augusta-jessie
  14. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) DAWSON 1839 (also called DAWSONS). Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Dawsons.gif
  15. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 9th December 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/candahar
  16. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  17. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  18. ^ Pilgrim Ship's of 1600's (Retrieved October 4th 2021, retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  19. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, February 8) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  20. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm


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