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Re: Pre 1750
Posted by: Pat Havis Hollowell Date: July 09, 2001 at 22:01:26
In Reply to: Pre 1750 by Neil Havis of 143

Neil - I lived in Richmond (and worked in Feltham) for a couple of years, back before I became interested in genealogy. However, like most of our family--and, trust me, all Havises are related--I have never been able to nail down a country of origination--my dad always said it was from Wales, but I have never heard any Welch word that simple. One day I called the College of Arms and asked the elderly gentleman who answered the phone if he could tell me where the name originated, and with no hesitation whatever he stated that it was English and was in fact orginally Avis, meaning "of the birds." Actually, that hypothesis was not all that far-fetched when I thought it over. I learned while I was living there that unless one spoke "proper" English, most Englishmen drop the "h" when a word begins with that letter, and for some strange reason, begin the pronounciation of a word beginning with a vowel by adding an "h." No, my fellow Americans, that was not something just made up for the movie 'My Fair Lady.' When I started my genealogy research some years later, one of the first books I perused was ships' passenger lists from early colonial times, and I found a James Avis transported to the colonies somewhere around the 1730s. I will have to find my notes where I recorded the book title and particulars before I can state definitely. Neil, correct me if I'm wrong, but if an deported Englishman who didn't happen to be educated at Harrow, Oxford, etc., was asked his name when he disembarked, what are the chances that he would have responded "James Havis" instead of "James Avis," and since the guys making the lists spelled phoenetically, it would have been recorded that way? Assuming James Avis could read and write, and he caught the error; if you had been convicted of a crime in the mother country, but had a chance to carve out a new life with an unblemished record, would you correct it? If your dad has something concrete on John Havis, we are waiting with baited breath. We're not really anxious to be descended from a felon--however, some were guilty of the truly awful crime of being in debt. Let us hear from you. I understand that if we know the date the person sailed, the prison from which he came, the name of the ship, etc., the trial records are still available. I think, if memory serves--and granted it's been a long time, that James Avis was in Old Bailey. I'll look it up if you think it's worth the effort. You're in such a wonderful place to help. Cousin Pat


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