88 – John Jervis (8G)

John Jervis had two families. He and his wife Margaret had several children (ca 1651-1658). After Margaret’s death, John married Elizabeth and they also had children (ca 1669-1680).

The Quaker meeting minutes revealed a lot about Elizabeth’s hardships after John died. But they didn’t provide any information about John and Elizabeth before his death. That was disappointing.

Let’s review what we know about John and Elizabeth Jervis pre-1680.

John Jervis’ first family

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is ancestry-tree-john-jervis-margaret-copy.jpg

We haven’t found birth or marriage citations for John Jervis. Based on the baptism of his daughter Mary in 1652, we’ll guess that he married a year earlier in 1651. He was probably in his early 20s when he married, so we’ll guess his birth year at around 1625-1630.

Here are baptisms of children of John Jervis. The baptisms are in Nantwich, in the Church of England parish registers, so he wasn’t a Quaker at the time.

  • Mary b. May 1652
  • John b. December 1653
  • Infant b. August 1657 d. August 1657

And September 23, 1658, the burial of Margaret, wife of John Jervise.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is burial-margaret-jervise-wife-of-john-nantwich-cheshire-1658-4.jpg

John Jervis’ second family

We haven’t found a marriage citation for John Jervis and Elizabeth. We assume that they married as Quakers around 1669, so no parish record would be found.

Why would Elizabeth marry someone 20 years older? She’s early 20s, he’s early 40s. I’ve asked myself this question a million times. Lots of explanations are plausible, but I’ll offer one.

There were only 10 to 15 Quaker families in Nantwich meeting in 1660s, so the pool of candidates for marriage was very small. I think you couldn’t be too picky if you wanted to marry a local Quaker.

For Quakers, “marrying out” was strongly discouraged, and could even lead to disownment. In later years, “marrying out” and subsequent disownment was one of the greatest contributing factors in declining Quaker membership.

For example, the Leek (Staffordshire) monthly meeting recorded less than two approved marriages per year in the early 1700s.

The Leek Monthly Meeting Minute Book and other local Quaker sources record a total of 52 approved marriages for the period 1705 to 1737.

The early Quaker movement in Staffordshire, 1651-1743

John and Elizabeth are Quakers

Nantwich in the 18th Century – Eric Garten – p. 72

John and Elizabeth had children

We know that Elizabeth was pregnant when she wrote to the court on November 1, 1680. She was “dayly expecting”, so it’s likely her baby was born in November.

And we know there was at least one other child in the household, because the Quaker minutes on January 5, 1681, say, “First an account was brought in from nampwich meeting of a poor widow & children being in want.” 

Nantwich Women’s MM – January 5, 1681

Assuming that Nantwich Elizabeth is the same person as Pennsylvania Elizabeth, we know she had a son Joseph and a daughter Ruth. I’m guessing the November 1680 baby is Ruth, and another child in the household is Joseph.

John’s Death

We have a citation where a Quaker “John Jarves of Namptwich deceased ye 25th of 8 month 1678 was buried at _____ ye ______“.

Death register – John Jarves – RG6/1037 – 1678

So this John Jarves Quaker burial in 1678 is likely Elizabeth’s husband John.

If this John Jarves is Elizabeth’s husband, there’s a problem. Elizabeth is pregnant in November 1680. If John died in 1678, he couldn’t be the father.

Let’s explore three theories about John’s death.

Theory 1:

There were two Quakers named John Jervis in Nantwich. One died in October 1678. The other died between February and November 1680.

What’s the likelihood that two Quakers named John Jervis from Nantwich died within two years? Based on the citations we’ve found, very unlikely.

Theory 2:

Elizabeth’s husband died in 1678, the John Jervis in the Quaker citation. In November 1680, Elizabeth is pregnant from another father.

This theory might help explain the dire situation Elizabeth was in when she wrote to the court, and her subsequent hardship.

But it’s unlikely that the Quaker meeting would have been so charitable towards her.

Theory 3:

Maybe the Quaker citation was recorded with an incorrect year – 1678 instead of 1680.

It records the death date as October 25. That’s fits perfectly with the inventory date of October 29 and Elizabeth’s letter dated November 1.

Here’s how it could have happened. The death register is RG 6/1037.  It’s not a contemporaneous account. It’s a list constructed after-the-fact, sometimes much later, from other documents. This register was constructed from the Cheshire QM info, which was constructed from Nantwich info. Transcription errors occur.

I like this theory.

Another Brick Wall

Since we estimated John Jervis’ birth year around 1625-1630, his baptism should show up in parish records.

Try as I might, I couldn’t find his birth or parents. At least, not yet.

Here we are yet again at a genealogy brick wall.

Nibbles Extra Credit

John Jervis Jr

John Jervis Jr was baptized December 18, 1653 at Nantwich. His parents were John and Margaret Jervis.

Marriage and Children

We haven’t found a marriage citation for John Jr and Alice.

John Jr and Alice’s children found to date:

  • Benjamin b. 1676 d. 1679
  • William b. 1679
  • John b. 1681 d. bef 1692
  • Jacob b. 1684 d. 1717
  • John b. 1692


John Jr was a heelmaker like his father. Here’s a 1718 citation where John Latham of Wybunbury is apprenticed to John Jervis of Nantwich heelmaker.

John and Alice are Quakers

John Jr and Alice were active Quakers. They reported sufferings, and they held meetings at their house.

John Jervis appears in many of the Quaker meeting minutes, such as this example in 1715 where “Samuel Ryland & John Jervies are appointed to attend the Quarterly Meeting“.

John Jervis reported sufferings too. In 1681 John Jervis was fined 4s several times, each for a month’s absence from the Church of England. He reports sufferings like these for several years.

Later Years

John Jervis Jr died March 7, 1721. Alice Jervis died a month later on April 2, 1721. Both were buried at Stoke. Both are listed as about age 67, which matches perfectly with John’s birth in 1653.

More Nibbles Extra Credit

The Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) is a guideline for establishing the reliability (“proof”) of a genealogical conclusion with reasonable certainty.

Some of you have seen this before when we visited the Teplys in Bohemia. I’m including it again for the new Jarvis/Jervis readers.

We don’t have much information about John Jervis Sr. When we don’t have citations and proofs, we can still make assumptions. But we can’t state as fact. We need to follow the GPS.

It has five elements:

  • reasonably exhaustive research
  • complete and accurate source citations
  • analysis and correlation of the collected information
  • resolution of any conflicting evidence
  • a soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion

To reach a sound conclusion, we need to meet all five components of the GPS.


  • Burial citation – Margaret Jervis – 1658 – Cheshire Diocese Of Chester Parish Burials 1538-1911- Nantwich, Cheshire, England – https://www.findmypast.com/
  • Quaker reference in Nantwich – Nantwich in the 18th Century – Eric Garten – p. 72
  • Quaker marriage quotation – The early Quaker movement in Staffordshire, 1651-1743 – Denis Stuart
  • Elizabeth Jervis Request for Letter of Administration, Opinion, Inventory of John Jarvice – 1680 – Cheshire County Wills and Probate – Cheshire County Archives – https://www.findmypast.com/
  • Quaker meeting minutes – Elizabeth Jervis – January 5, 1681 – Minutes – Women’s Monthly Meeting – Nantwich – 1676-1724 – 5_2_1 – Cheshire Archives
  • Death register – John Jervis Sr – 1678 – RG 6/1037 – England & Wales, Society Of Friends (Quaker) Burials 1578-1841 – https://www.findmypast.com/transcript?id=TNA%2FRG6%2FBUR%2F786258
  • Apprentice record – John Jervis Jr – 1718 – IR 1/45 – Public Record Office – or Britain, Country Apprentices 1710-1808 – https://www.findmypast.com/transcript?id=GBOR%2FAPPRENTICES%2F124115%2F2
  • Baptism register – John Jervis Jr – 1653 – Diocese of Chester parish registers of Baptisms c1538-1910 Image – https://www.findmypast.com/

2 thoughts on “88 – John Jervis (8G)

  1. bryzelius July 8, 2020 / 12:30 pm

    Regarding the estate inventory for John Jarvice ‘buried at Namptwich on the 29 of October 1680’ – I reckon it is not ‘buried’ but ‘prized’ – a shortened form of appraised, This word often is noted in inventories for the process of walking around the property, room by room, noting goods and valuing them. I reckon this happened within weeks if not days of the person’s death so does not affect your conclusions.

    I like GPS, thanks for that!


  2. Mark Jarvis July 8, 2020 / 4:40 pm

    Celia, of course you’re correct. And that one word can change lots of assumptions. If Elizabeth weren’t pregnant on Nov 1, 1680, I’d think that her husband was the John Jervis that was deceased in October 1678. Hmmmm.


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