Last Name:
First Name:
The Purvis Family Genealogy Pages John Purvis

The Purvis Family

Revised March 2002

The names Purvis and Purves (and similar) are possibly derived from the Old French word Porveor (Latin: Providere) meaning to furnish supplies. In mediaeval times the Porveor was an officer in royal and noble households and in hospitals, convents and monasteries. The equivalent French surname is Pourveer.

Early references to the family include William Purveys and Sir Archibald of Douglas making a joint grant to the monks of Melrose Abbey, Melrose, Roxburghshire, Scotland (1214-49). In 1296 William Porveys of Peebleshire and William Pourays of Berwickshire, Scotland rendered homage to the English crown and had their estates restored. Gilbert Purveys was living (1400) in London, England. William Purevore was on an inquest in 1408. Andrew Purves was Rector of Kymel, ? England, in 1435. The will of John Parvayss, who died in 1445, is on file in Kent, England.

George Pervice and James Purvis were property taxpayers in North Carolina, U.S.A. (1757-69). Three men of the spelling Purvis served as officers in the American Revolutionary Army. The 1790 US census lists one or more Pervess, Pervis, Purvice and Purvis in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Pennsylvania. (From columns by John C. Downing in Richmond, Virginia newspaper (November 1989)). In 1684, John Purvis, who was a ship's captain and merchant based in London, England, and who traded regularly with the American colonies, arranged the printing of A Complete Collection of all the Laws of Virginia in Force... Copied from the Assembly Records, which he distributed in Virginia. This became a standard reference work, despite being repudiated by Governor Culpeper in April 1684 as being published without license. (See The Chesapeake in the Seventeenth Century, an essay in Cultures of Print by David D. Hall (University of Massachusetts Press 1996)). William Purvis of Fordell, Dumfermline, Fife, Scotland, stood as witness in 1569 and 1580 in court cases concerning that estate.

This Purvis family is believed to have been in occupation of the farm of New Etal, Parish of Ford, Northumberland, England, for several generations previous to the 18th century. There was evidently an extended Purvis family connected with New Etal and the Ford estate in the latter 18th century, then owned by the Delaval family. The Northumberland Militia List of 1762 names Thomas Purvis (1.3.), Alex Purvis (1.1.1. or 1.3.1.), Joseph Purvis (1.3.2.) son of Thomas, all as husbandmen of New Etal. Also named is William Purvis as Petty Constable, Steads of Etal. In October 1763 Joseph (1.3.2.), son of Thomas, viewed Gatherick Farm with a view to renting it with his father (Delaval papers). In 1783 Thomas Purvis of New Etal unsuccessfully bid 180 p.a. for lease of Crookham Westfield Farm (Delaval papers). In 1791 Mr Purvis of New Etal was considering a subscription of 500 towards the Ford and Lowick turnpike (Delaval papers). References in the Delaval papers to the various Purvis family members are favourable as good tenants, active and industrious people. However, I am not clear how they all related to each other and there may well have been more descendants than I am currently aware of (1999).

Other local references: Ford Forge sold sundries to Mr Purvess of New Etal (28th December 1770), William Purvis of Jedburgh bought 750 pantiles from Ford (September 1771), Alex Purvess bought 10 bolls of oats from Ford Moss (10th April 1773), John Purvess bought 2 tups (rams) from Flodden Farm (13th November 1772). Tombstones in Ford Churchyard concern the deaths of Alexander Purvis of New Etal 9th December 1796 aged 60 years (1.1.1.) and Thomas Purvis, son of Alex of New Etal ?25th February 1797 aged 14 ( (Information supplied by Stafford Maples Linsley of the Centre for Continuing Education, Newcastle University, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (OA.133).


Code byThe Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding ©, Darrin Lythgoe 2001-2005 and Helios Internet Systems