After months of effort, my search for Elizabeth in England was going nowhere. I tried lots of traditional research methods, a few listed below. None worked.
I had hit the genealogical brick wall.
Ship Passenger Lists
There are some passenger lists of Penn’s ships, but they are not complete. Those whose ancestors appear on the lists are quite fortunate.
A partial registry of arrivals was made between the years 1682 and 1688, but for what reason is not very clear. That it was not made at the time of the arrivals is evident from the irregularity of dates and some inaccuracies therein.
An impression prevails with some persons that all the early immigrants were registered, but that was not the case, on this side of the water at least.History of Chester County Pennsylvania – Futhey and Cope – 1881 – p. 22
Elizabeth and her children are nowhere to be found.
Online Record Search
If you search online for an English marriage in mid-1600s between a man named Jarvis and a woman named Elizabeth, you get hundreds of results.
- 1666 Henry Jarvis and Elizabeth Webb London
- 1670 Henry Jarvis and Elizabeth Kingsmill Kent
- 1673 Henry Jarvis and Elizabeth Moseley Leicestershire
- 1677 John Jarvis and Elizabeth Austen Canterbury, Kent
- 1672 Josephus Jarvis and Elizabeth Lee Lincolnshire
- 1676 Mauritius Jarvis and Elizabetham Mawer Middlesex
- 1676 Simon Jarvis and Elizabeth Abethell Upavon, Wiltshire
- 1665 Thomas Jarvis and Elizabeth Gosse Southwark, Surrey
- etc. etc. etc. and many more…
Obviously, that wasn’t the way forward.
Quakers aren’t in Church of England parish registers
Many Church of England parish records are online. But not Quaker records. Quakers kept their own records. And many of those Quaker records are held in each County Archive and aren’t online.
If you were to visit a county archive, which of the 48 English counties would you start with?
In 1559 the Church of England became the established church. Nonconformists were people who did not belong to the Church of England.
Nonconformists included Catholics and Jews, but were most prominently non-Anglican Protestant denominations, like Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians and Quakers.
Sites like The National Archives hosts nonconformist records. The Quaker records are named RG6.
But before the 1830s, very few records are online.
Quakers were persecuted often and viciously. Their property was taken, they were whipped and imprisoned, and many died.
There’s a famous book recording the sufferings of Quakers in England. And it includes some Jarvises.
Here again, I couldn’t find any more information about the Jarvises in the book. But surely these are candidates for Elizabeth’s husband.
Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania was founded in 1864 by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). One of its missions is to hold the Friends Historical Library, an archive of Quaker material. It’s the largest store of Quaker materials in America.
It’s in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, eleven miles southwest of Philadelphia.
Swarthmore is named for Swarthmoor Hall, a 17th century manor house in Ulverston, England. It was the home of Margaret Fell, a prominent supporter of the founder of the Quaker movement, George Fox.
I visited Swarthmore to do research. It’s a beautiful campus, and only a few miles from Elizabeth Jervis’ land.
I was disappointed to find that they don’t hold English Birth/Marriage/Death records. Another bust.
- Quote about ships passenger lists – History of Chester County Pennsylvania – Futhey and Cope – 1881 – p. 22
- Quaker Birth/Marriage/Death records online – https://bmdregisters.co.uk/
- A Collection of the Sufferings of the People Called Quakers – Joseph Besse – 1753
- RG6 Nonconformist Register – The National Archives – http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C13331?_ser=RG%206
- Friends Historical Library – Swarthmore College – https://www.swarthmore.edu/friends-historical-library
- Gif – Swarthmore College Campus – Swarthmore College Libraries – library.swarthmore.edu
- Photo – Swarthmore Garden – Mark Jarvis – July 2017