Select Stevens/Stephens Surname Genealogy

It could be Stephens, it could be Stevens - being "son of Stephen" and "son of Steven," a personal name from the Greek Stephanos meaning "crown."  It was a popular name in the early Middle Ages, having been borne by the first Christian martyr.  There are two spellings of the surname, Stevens and Stephens.

Select Stevens/Stephens Resources on The Internet

England.   In England, the first record of Stephens came from Airard FitzStephen who commanded William the Conqueror’s flagship on the invasion of England.  His family received land allotments in Gloucestershire. They became feudal barons and remained powerful through medieval times.  The Fitz was dropped sometime around 1350.  Branches of the family were later resident at Eastington, Chavenage, and Lypiatt Park. 

Stephens as it is spelt has remained very much a west country name, with a particularly high concentration in Cornwall. 
A Stephens family was established at St. Ives from the 1470’s, having apparently arrived there after a shipwreck from Ireland.  They started out as bakers and became successful merchants.  Samuel Stephens of this family built a splendid mansion for himself at Tragenna Castle in 1774.  But it stayed with the family for only sixty years.

One Cornish family history began with the marriage of Robert Stephens and Mary Morrier in St. Austell in 1667. Their descendants remained in St. Austell until the mid 19th century when the depression in the mining industry there drove many to emigrate to Australia. 

However, the Stevens spelling can be found at St. Ives in Cornwall.   William Stevens, the progenitor of a St. Ives family, was born nearby at Zennor in 1611.  F
or five generations, starting in 1900, a Stevens family has been fishing off St. Ives. 

Stevens, by general contrast, has been a name of London and the southeast.  One Stevens family came from Henley in Oxfordshire.  Henry Stevens was Wagonmaster General to Charles I during the Civil War.  His descendants, lawyers in London, held lands in Berkshire, first at Wargrave and then at Bradfield.  The Rev. Thomas Stevens converted the Bradfield manor house in the 19th century into Bradfield College.

Surrey Stevens living in 1600 included Rodger Stevens of Banstead and Jerome Stevens of Ewell.  The early cricketer Edward "Lumpy" Stevens was born at Send near Guildford in 1735.

America.  John Stephens was an early arrival in America, settling in Guilford, Connecticut in 1648.  Some genealogies have him coming from Lypiatt in Gloucestershire, but this has been disputed.  A branch of this family was later to be found in Maryland.  Henry Stephens who came to Stonington, Connecticut in 1668 was also thought to have come from Gloucestershire, but again this may be doubtful. 

Some of the early Stephens in America were from Germany, such as Peter Stephens (born Peter Steffen) who was instrumental in founding in Virginia in the 1730's the town that is now called Stephens City. 

On the Stevens side was John Stevens from Oxfordshire who came to Newbury, Massachusetts in 1638.  Another John Stevens arrived in New York from London in 1699 and later settled in Perth Amboy, New Jersey.  He was the patriarch of a very notable early American family:
  • his son John grew to prominence as a sea captain and merchant and later was a member of the Continental Congress. 
  • his grandson John, who founded the New Jersey town of Hoboken, was the builder of the first ocean-going steamship and he also designed and constructed the first American-built steam locomotive. 
  • while two of John’s sons, Robert and Edwin, were also noted inventors.  Edwin left a bequest which started the Stevens Institute of Technology.
Today the overall Stevens/Stephens numbers in America are larger than in England because they include some Stevens/Stephens who had originally come from Germany or Holland.

Canada.  The brothers Roger and Abel Stevens of Pittsford, Vermont were Loyalist at the time of the Revolutionary War.  Both later departed for Canada.  Abel left in 1794 and set up a Baptist colony for Vermonters in Leeds county, Ontario which came to be known as Steventown.
  The Rev. John Stephens, a Methodist minister from Cornwall, was father to two sons who stayed in England and three sons who were early settlers in South Australia:
  • Edward Stephens came out with his wife Emily on the Coromandel in 1836.  Like his father he was a Methodist and the first Methodist sermon in South Australia was preached in his tent.  He prospered in Adelaide, but returned to England in 1855.
  • his brother John Stephens was active in London in promoting this new colony, publishing his book The Land of Promise in 1839.  He came out to Adelaide himself in 1843 and founded the Adelaide Observer newspaper.  However, he incurred debts, faced libel suits, and died early in 1850. 
  • while another brother Samuel Stephens lasted an even shorter time in South Australia.

Other Stephens from Cornwall came to South Australia later, as miners.  John Stephens, for instance, arrived with his wife Mary in 1850, first working as a carpenter at the Burra Burra mine before moving to Moonta.

Select Stevens/Stephens Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

Select Stevens/Stephens Names

Airard FitzStephen was the Norman nobleman who came to England with William the Conqueror.
John Stevens from New Jersey was the builder of the first ocean-going steamship.  He also designed and constructed the first American-built steam locomotive.
John Lloyd Stephens was a 19th century American explorer and diplomat who played a prominent role in the rediscovery of Mayan civilization and the planning of the Panama railroad.
Wallace Stevens was an American modernist poet of the 1940's and 1950's.

Select Stevens/Stephens Today

  • 97,000 in the UK (64% Stevens, 36% Stephens)
  • 118,000 in America (57% Stevens, 43% Stephens)
  • 44,000 elsewhere (66% Stevens, 34% Stephens)

Select Surname List

Adams Ellis Johnson O'Connor
Allen Evans Jones O'Sullivan Shaw
Anderson Fisher
Kelly Parker Simpson
Bailey Foster Kennedy Perry Smith
Baker Fox King Peterson Stevens
Barnes Fraser 
Lee Phillips Stewart
Bell Graham Lewis Powell Taylor
Bennett Gray Marshall Price Thomas
Brown Green Martin Reed
Griffiths Mason      
Reynolds Turner
Campbell Hall McDonald Richards
Carter Hamilton Miller  Richardson Walsh
Chapman Harris Mitchell Roberts Ward
Clark Harrison
Moore Robertson Watson
Collins Henderson Morgan Robinson White
Cook Hill Morris Rogers Williams
Cooper Howard Murphy Ross Wilson
Cox Hughes Murray Russell Wood
Davis Jackson Nelson Ryan Wright
Edwards James O'Brien 

For other surnames check the surnames2 page where there are to be found the history and genealogy for more than 800 surnames.

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