My Alvis Family Research

History of my Alvis Family Research, 1966-

My sister and I began searching for an ancestry in 1966 when we were in college. We wrote the oldest living members of our Alvis family and received replies going back this far:

  1. Edward Arthur Alvis, 1926-2003, our father, born and died in Oklahoma, although he lived in many other States
  2. George Orville Alvis, 1901-1983, our grandfather, born and died in Oklahoma
  3. Edward Amandus Alvis, 1861-1934, born in Illinois, also lived in Kansas and Oklahoma and died in Missouri

This much was within the personal knowledge of my dad who was living at the time.

  1. William Henry (or Harrison) Alvis, 1832-1874, born in Missouri and died in Illinois. A cousin of my dad’s gave us this name, plus William’s marriage data and place of death. In 1967, we visited and photographed his grave.

In the 1980s, I was living in Mexico City and following a major illness began to write letters again. A third cousin copied all the data she could find in the Dallas Public Library and sent it to me in a small box. My parents also went to genealogy libraires and copied censuses and other records.

About this time a distant cousin in North Carolina began a newsletter she called The Alvis Exchange. There were about five issues bringing together what was easily accessed in libraries at the time.

A year or two later we acquired out first Macintosh computer and I began working full time in desktop publishing. I decided to put this new skill to work in my long-time hobby and started up a re-boot of The Alvis Exchange.

The name, I thought, fit exactly what I was endeavoring to accomplish: find a place for Alvis researchers to exchange what data we had. As subscriptions grew, several collaborators sent massive amounts of data, including eventually all available Alvis pensions and censuses. I started databases for all Alvis marriages and all Alvis males.

It is exciting to look back over those issues and see how rapidly our Alvis information came together. Several Alvis researchers and cousins got together in 1989 for a big reunion in West Plains, Missouri.

By the mid-1990s when we had moved back to the USA, the Internet came along and provided even more ways to research. I am proud to say that Internet sources have confirmed the hypotheses I had put together and the speculative articles I wrote.

My dad died in 2003 and the energy went out of Alvis research for me. But then again I had published as much as it seemed possible to find. Newer data that becomes available online is largely related to younger generations.

Early Generations of Alvises in America

I have joined several genealogical societies and believe them to be excellent tools for verifying the accuracy of my conclusions.

IN 2013, the DAR approved my lineage from Ashley Alvis of Goochland Co VA and Sumner Co TN. And last year the Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America approved my application based on George Alves/Alvis who was in Virginia before 1682 and Ashley Alvis, who was a Patriot in the American Revolution. I am going into all of this to show my credentials as a genealogist and lineage research specialist.

This may be more than you want on the early generations of our family, and I promise I will get around to Zachariah Alvis before long.

My application to DFPA included this summary of our earliest American ancestors. Note Zachariah, 1761-after 1833, on the last page.

Generation 1

George Alvis    married 3) Mary

say 1645-ca 1734


George Alves[1] was not born in America, since a headright[2] was claimed for him in 1700, along with his second wife, Alice, who had come to Virginia many years prior to that date. He was married, first, to an unknown wife, the mother of his daughter, Susan or Susannah[3]; second, between 1678 and 1682,[4] to Alice, the widow of Maj. William Harris;[5] and third, to Mary –, the mother of his son David.[6] George Alves was “lately deceased” on 4 Mar 1734/5.[7]

First Known Appearances in Virginia Records

George Alvis was mentioned twice in the Henrico County Court which met 1 February 1682. First, he was the plaintiff in a suit against Henry Watkins for the balance of an account apparently due to George’s wife; Watkins was ordered to pay. And also, George Alvis complained against Mr. Richard Lygon for failing in his duty to the orphan William Harris, which was postponed until the next court.[8]

The first known reference to George Alves in Virginia is found in John Frederick Dorman, Adventurers of Purse and Person Virginia 1607-1624/5. The article refers to Alice’s previous husband, Maj. William Harris and includes the statement, “George m. bef. 1682, Alice (–) Harris, wid. of Maj. William.”[9]

A transcript of the record in surviving documents follows: Henrico County Record Book No. 2, 1678-1693:

At a Court held a Varina for the County of Henrico April 2, 1683; In the suite of George Alvis as marrying Alice the relict of Majr. Will Harris dec’d (concerning William Harris an orphan of the said dec’d) against Mr. Richard Lygon, the said Alvis declaring that he doth not use his endeavor for educating and maintaining the said Orphan according to the Indenture, which Indenture being exhibited, and the orphan present, and the Court thereupon conceiving the allegacons aforesaid not true, it is ordered that the orphan serve his time, and that Mr. Lygon perform his part of the said Indenture.

Another reference from 1682 appears in The Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia, 1659/60-1693, in the section which begins, “Att A Generall Assembly Began att James Citty the 10th day of November 1682 These ffollowing Orders of publique charge and leuy were made…” On page 180 in the listings of amounts paid in pounds of tobacco for New Kent County: “To Jno Epperson 1:100  Geo: Alues 1:200.”[10]

There are two distinct, extant, and published reports of George Alves in Virginia in 1682.

Connection to the Harris Family

Various articles have been published about this Harris family, including references to George Alves:

Malcolm Hart Harris writes in “Three William Harrises in Hanover County,” in The Virginia Genealogist:[11]

William Harris, the patentee of this land on Cub Creek on 24 March 1725, had been closely associated with George Alves who had married the widow of Major William Harris of Henrico County. In the Vestry Book of St. Paul’s Parish, William Harris and George Alves were closely associated in the processioning of land in the parish. Later, they owned land adjacent to Groundsquirrel on the South Anna River.

“Evidence of the Descent of William Harris,” by William R. Taylor in The Virginia Genealogist,[12] states on pages 262-263:

The association of George Alves with William Harris, son of Major William Harris, is long standing and more than casual. Alice, the widow of Maj. Harris, married George Alves soon after her husband died. George Alves is found as principal or acting as witness in five Henrico County deeds involving the known sons of Maj. Harris, William and Edward.

This close relationship of George Alves with his stepsons continued in New Kent County where on 4 June 1714 William Harris had a patent ‘over against George Alves on South Anna River.’ This alliance continued as proved by the processioning records of St. Paul’s Parish. In 1708/9, 1711, 1716, 1731, 1735, 1739 and 1743 the lands of William Harris and George Alves were in the same precinct. In 1708/9 the two men were the overseers. Since it is known that George Alves died about 1734, the 1739 and 1743 appearance of his name must indicate that there was still land held in his name or that he had a son named George. From the records the former is more likely. The processioning records for the period 1719 to 1739 are not complete but it seems very likely that the same situation would be found if they were….

One of the surviving Hanover deeds reinforces the evidence that William Harris and George Alves had land close together and also indicates the approximate date of the death of the latter. William Harris is a witness to this deed which refers to the ‘boundary of George Alves, lately deceased.’

Thus George Alves and William Harris were in close association from the time Alves married William’s mother until the former died about 1734.

Page 267 of this Virginia Genealogist article shows that William Harris and George Alves were also associated with the Cawthon family. Note that George’s probable grandson David was married on Aug 20 1768 to Mary Cauthon.[13] This Virginia Genealogist article shows that Mary’s parents were John Cawthon, as the name was more often spelled, and Agnes Harris, the granddaughter of William Harris, George Alves’s stepson.

Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia, 1607-1624/5, revised and edited by Virginia M. Meyer and John Frederick Dorman, published by Order of First Families of Virginia, 1987, on pages 354-361 gives a current view of the entire Harris family back to Jamestown, ca. 1611.

Maj. William Harris was born in Virginia ca 1629, died before Oct 7 1678, was married twice, his first wife unknown and his second wife Alice –. The first wife had one son Thomas, who died soon after his father. Alice’s known children were William, probably born in the early 1670s, died in Hanover Co VA between 1743 and 1749, and Edward, living in 1719.

Headrights and Land Holdings

In early Virginia, land was granted to individuals responsible for transporting immigrants. This was often done years after the actual sea voyage. Cavaliers and Pioneers lists the following:

Virginia Book of Land Grants and Patents, Patent Book No. 9, p. 37.

GEORGE ALVES, 1014 acs. New Kent Co. in St. Peters Par: on both sides of Totpotomous Cr. 24 Apr 1700, P. 268. Adj. Roger Thompson, Carles Turner & Thomas Wilkinson, &c. Trans of 21 pers: John Jaquis, Thomas Webb, John Carter, Robert Horsfeild, Nicholas Gentry, John Clarke, George Alves, Alice Alves, Thomas Bankes, Thomas Rice, Benj Fenton, Gabriel Bickerin, John Johnson, Thomas Bradley, James Bowling.[14]

George Alves acquired considerable land holdings with dates from 1692 to 1731, also detailed in Nugent.[15]

There are many published references to patents issued to George Alves, including the following from English Duplicates of Lost Virginia Records, on pages 67, 74, and 101:

A List of Patents Signed in November 1700: New Kent County, Alvos, Geo, 767 acres.

List of Patents Signed in April 1703: New Kent Co, Geo. Aalves, 1668 acres. 4843 acres, New Kent Co, George Alves, 12-16-1714.[16]

            The William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. XXI, No. 1 (Jul 1912), contains several references to George Alvis in a transcript entitled, “Records of Hanover County,” pages 47 ff, “copied by me in the winter of 1910-1911—S. O. Southall.”[17]  Page 54 for 1734 states, “Est: of David Alvis in hands of David Crenshaw, his late Guardian.”[18]

Page 58 has a notice that land was sold 5 Mar 1734 by Laurence Ferguson to Jno. Ross, “adj: George Alvis decd.”

A deed cited in page 63 between the three daughters of Susan Ellitt on 15 Jul 1735 is the only known evidence that George had a first marriage and a daughter Susan.[19]

And a reference on page 146 is to the widow of George’s son, David Alvis, from 4 Oct 1787.


Numerous references to George Alves from the Vestry Book of St. Paul’s Parish, Hanover County, Virginia, were extracted along with the editor’s conclusions in No. 5, page 3, of The Alvis Exchange.[20] These references date from 1705/6 when the parish records begin to after his death in 1734.

The published edition of the Register of St. Peter’s Parish, New Kent County, VA, has the following undated item, possibly from 1703:

George Alves aploying him Selfe to this ve∫try for help to Cleere the roades in his precinct is ordered John Tyler Richard maidlen nicholas Gentrey Thomas Tin∫ley John Burley and all the Tithables from thence up the north side of Totopotomoys Creeke.[21]

And page 425 has this notation for 1687: “Thom: Cook servant to Geo: Alvise deceased ye : 4th : of Desem:”

By 1700 George Alves was living in New Kent County with his wife Alice when he sold Henrico County holdings:

George Alvis of New Kent Co planter, for £18, to Timothy Allen of Henrico Co planter, tract on south side of James River called ‘The Ware,’ bounded by Hon. Wm Byrd, Mr. Robert Hancocke, Edward Skerm and Ashen Swamp, which I bought of Edward Harris and Mary his wife, 27 Sept. 1698. 1 Apr 1700.

Wit: Stephen Cocke, Matthew Raysons  Signed: George Alvis  Recorded 1 May 1700. Benjamin Hatcher, attorney for Alice Alvis, wife of George, relinquished her dower right.[22]

Several references to George Alves in The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography are as follows:

Council held at the Capitol July 1730 granted petition, “To George Alvis One Thousand five hundred acres in Hanover County on Maudlins folly Run.”[23]

New Kent County Rent Rolls 1704. A rent roll of the lands held by her Majestie in the parish of St. Peters and St. Paul’s–anno 1704… Allvis, George  325 acres.[24]

Some King William County, Va., Records… 1702/3 Anthony Winston to Thos. Bradley  Deed  wit. John Duffield, Geo. Alvis  21 to 23.[25]

1702  Frances Littlepage, wife of Richard relinquishes right of dower in above property. Wm. Aylett, atty., wit. Geo. Alvis, David Clarkson, Geo. Clough.[26]

“13 June 1728 of the said Ambrose Joshua Smith for 5000 acres of land in Goochland formerly Henrico joining on the line which divided that County and the County of Hanover on the head of deep and Fork Creeks and branches of the James River formerly surveyed for John Syme, Isaac Winston, William Morris, George Alvis and John Mathies.”[27]

Reference is made to other property adjoining George Alvis’s land.[28]

The Quit Rents of Virginia, 1704 has this on page 8: “ALVIS, George, New Kent County, 325 acres.”

Round Trip to “Great Britain”

The St. Paul’s Parish Vestry Book previously cited shows that George Alves was in Great Britain in 1711. And fortunately, his return to America is also documented.

      An 1877 article in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register reads:

Arrivals in Boston, Mass., June 1712… ye 6th

Jethro Furbur ye sloop Tyall from Fyall [in the Azores]…

George Alvis and 3 servants…[29]

Since George Alvis’s son David was born circa 1713 or 1714, it has been assumed he remarried soon after his arrival back in America. A wife did not accompany him on the return voyage.

Generation 2

David Alvis       married Elizabeth Stanley

1713-ca 1787


David Alvis was born about 4 Oct 1713 in Hanover Co VA, the son of George Alvis and his third wife, Mary. He died before 4 Oct 1787[30] in Goochland Co VA. Sometime, possibly ca 1738, he married Elizabeth Stanley, whom this writer assumes to have been his only wife.

David Alvis was a minor at the time of his father’s death. His “estate” refers to his property during his minority; therefore, he was born after 1711. He is an adult by 11 Feb 1735/6, when he was present at a vestry meeting of St Paul’s Parish; we may assume he was born no later than 11 Feb 1714/5, that is, at least 21 years old at that date.[31] Since his estate was settled 4 Oct 1734, that was probably the date of his 21st birthday.

The “Estate of David Alvis in the hands of David Crenshaw his late guardian” proves his relationship to George Alvis and gives clues to the identity of his mother.[32]

The William and Mary Quarterly, also refers to the end of this guardianship in 1734: “Est: of David Alvis in hands of David Crenshaw, his late Guardian.”[33]

It is not at this time known what happened to the estate of David Alvis, who as a child was wealthy. By a few years later, this was not the case. From 1742, David Alvis was frequently insolvent.[34]


Court Order Book 1, Amelia County, Virginia, 1735-1746, volume 1

  • Page 117 – 21 Jan 1742 – Suit, Bradley Cock vs David Olvis, Plaintiff awarded 
attachment, returnable – next court.
  • Page 118 – Case Cock vs Olvis – defendant failed to appear last 
court so attachment awarded against his estate; 
Sheriff returned – attached 1 horse and saddle.
  • Page 122 – William Battersby became special bail for defendant in case of 
Cock vs Olvis.
  • Page 133 – Bradley Cock given leave to amend his declaration against 
David Olvis.
  • Page 182 – Feb 1744 – Judgement-Cock vs Alves to plaintiff for 12 pounds 
and costs.
  • Page 194 – 18 May 1745-Debt action-Robert Jennings vs David Alves for 17.03.3 
due bond. To plaintiff for sum, but judgement to be discharged by 
payment of 8.10.1-12, with interest, costs and lawyer’s fee.
  • Page 213 – 20 Sep 1745-John Hodnett vs David Alves.
  • Page 219 – 15 Nov 1745 – John Hodnett vs David Alvis, dismissed.
  • Page 229 – Attachment Robert Wathen vs David Alves, ordered garneshee to be 
summond to declare how much of estate he has in his possession.
  • Page 250 – 20 Sep 1745 – Cock vs Olvis. David Olvis is not to be found in my 
bailiwick, Samuel Terry, Sheriff.

David Alvis was named in the Amelia County, Virginia, tax lists in 1744, 1745 and 1746, the last year with no tithables and the notation “constable.” In 1745, he was counted as one tithable, with no slaves; in each year, he was located in a different part of the county.[35] Conjectures have been made about his connections sto Quakers and others who freed their slaves.

         A lawsuit abstract in the Edward Pleasants Valentine Papers, dating from the March court 1746 in Amelia County, Virginia, found David Alvis’s estate to have “no effects.” Six men were plaintiffs suing David Alvis for £51 currency. “In September last an attachment was grandted the Pltfs. Against the estate of the Deft. But no effects being found the suit is dismissed. Mch. Court 1746. O.B. 174651, p. 38.[36]

Extant tax records in Goochland County, Virginia, begin in 1778; David Alvis owned fifty acres, as he did in each year through 1786. Other Alvis taxpayers were doubtless his sons. No mention of land is mentioned after that, but the number of tithables. In 1784 and 1785, there were two tithables named David Alvis, assumed to be father and son. The name continues after the death of David Sr, with several men being difficult to distinguish in the records. Again there were two Davids in 1789 through 1791.[37]

Several books have stated that an Elizabeth Stanley married Mr. — Alvis, or Olvis.[38] Since that time, continuing research has found out much about the Stanleys, many family connections, but not one additional reference to Elizabeth (Stanley) Alvis and her husband.

After 1735, David Alvis disappears from the vestry book. This fits with the statement that he married a member of an anti-slavery Quaker family, even though the exact marriage record has not been found. Quaker records from this time in Virginia have been compiled by William Wade Hinshaw in The Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy.[39]

Generation 3

Known Counties of Residence of David Alvis

*Hanover       1713-1734

*Amelia          1744-1746

*Louisa          1761-?

*Goochland   1778-1787

Children of David Alvis

Several sons stayed in Louisa County as late as 1798.

Several sons were in Goochland County by 1768.

Four sons were in Hanover County in 1782.

From surety data, it seems clear that Elijah, Zachariah, David, Shadrach and Ashley were brothers, sons of this elder David. Many Alvis families used all five of these given names; for example, the early TN family mentioned above had sons with four of the names. Other possible brothers were George, John, Stanley, Forester.[40]

Some of the following family groups are speculative, but I believe them to be fairly reliable. Most birth dates are entirely speculative, based on age at marriage, first child, or parents’ marriage date. The children of David Alvis, probably all by his wife, Elizabeth Stanley were:

  • John ALVIS Sr. John was born say in 1739 and died in VA in 1805-10. His widow may have been the Elizabeth Alvis in the 1810 census, Hanover Co VA. John Alvis was the first man of his generation of Alvises to be listed individually, in Louisa County in a 1771 lawsuit.

1761, witness in a Louisa Co VA lawsuit

1760s, married

1771, Louisa Co. Court Orders, 1770-1772; p. 477. 10 July 1771  John Alves, Plaintiff against Cosby Duke, Defendant…have settled the account in dispute between the parties…5 pounds 14 shillings due to the plaintiff John Alves…

1776, Rev War service[41]; 1781, paid substitute

1781-2, 1787, Hanover Co VA tax list

1784: VA Gen Soc Q XXXI, #1: John Alvis signed a petition, as resident of Hanover Co. Forester Alvis also signed.

1787 tax lists of Virginia (a substitute for the missing 1790 census): Alvis, John, Hanover Co, 0 additional males 16-21, 2 blacks over 16, 1 black below 16, 3 horses, 9 head of cattle

15 Sep 1788, surety for marriage of Lucy Alvis, to Reuben Cosby, Goochland Co

1788-91, Goochland Co tax lists, once with Matthew

1789, insolvent in Goochland Co [The Virginia Genealogist, 21 (1977), 287]

1793, 1795, 1805, Hanover Co tax lists (his moves back and forth from Hanover to Goochland were usually with George)

1805, last year clearly named in tax records as John Alvis Sr

1810 census, possibly his widow Elizabeth, Hanover Co, 1814-7, taxed in Hanover Co

John and an unidentified wife had the following possible children:

  1. Jesse (1757-1841)
  2. Nancy (1766-)
  3. Lucy (1768-). She married Reuben Cosby 15 Sep 1788 in Goochland Co VA, that is, three months before another Lucy married James Ryan.
  4. Matthew (1772->1795)
  5. Robert (1765-)
  6. John Jr (1775-1847)
  7. Mary Ann (ca1770-1840)
  8. Charles Dabney (1777-1861)
  9. David (~1780-1840)


  • George ALVIS. George was born say in 1741 and died in Goochland Co VA, before 1806.

1761, witness in a Louisa Co lawsuit

ca 1770s, married

1782, Hanover Co VA tax list, with 5 people

1788, 89, 90, 91, Goochland Co tax lists

1802, 03, 05, Hanover Co VA tax lists

3 Feb 1806, Polly, daughter of George Alvis, deceased, married Jesse Page, Goochland Co

27 Feb 1806, Elizabeth, daughter of George Alvis, deceased, married William Page, Goochland

He had the following known children:

  1. David (~1770->1840)
  2. Henry (1775-<1830)
  3. Mary (1782-)
  4. Elizabeth (1786-)
  5. Matthew (1795-)


  • Forester ALVIS. Forester was born say in 1743 and died in Chesterfield Co VA, before 1805; his wife was Ann –?–. Forester Alvis was the second man of his generation of Alvises to be listed individually, in Louisa County in 1775.

1772-3, 8 (overseer), Trinity Parish, Louisa Co

1776 St Martin’s Parish

1782 Hanover Co VA tax list, with 7 people in family. This list was published as “The First Census of the United States,” since VA’s 1790 census was destroyed. Forester Alvis is listed on p. 28 in Capt. Owen Dabney’s District and had 7 white members in his family. It is possible his parents were in the household.

1784: VA Gen Soc Q XXXI, #1: Forester Alvis signed a petition, as resident of Hanover Co. John Alvis also signed. XXXII, #1: Elijah, Forester and Stanley signed petition 20 Nov 1790 for dividing Hanover Co and building a new courthouse.

1787: This tax list was recently published as “The 1787 Census of Virginia.” Forester Alvis’s listing reads 0-0-0-0-0, that is, no other males over 16 and under 21, no blacks, no horses or cattle.

1793-7, Hanover Co VA tax lists

1796, resident of Louisa Co VA, filed suit for wages[42]

before 1805, died

3 Apr 1805, Barbara, daughter of Ann Alvis, married Edward Henry, Chesterfield Co

15 May 1810, daughter Marinda married John Vickers/Vicars, Chesterfield Co

Forester and Ann had the following children:

  1. Maury?
  2. James (1775-<1830)
  3. Woodford (1775-1830)
  4. (1-3 others) (<1782-)
  5. Joshua (1784-1854)
  6. Zephaniah (1780-1840)
  7. Barbara (1785-) Her 1805 MR says “daughter of Ann Alvis. Surety: Woodford Alvis”
  8. Marinda (1790-) Her 1810 marriage record says “daughter of Forrest [sic] Alvis, deceased”
  9. Edmund Jordan (1792-1821)
  10. Abimelech (ca1794-1814)


  • David ALVIS. David was born say in 1748 and died probably in Buckingham Co VA, before 1814. On 20 Aug 1768, he first married Mary CAUTHON, daughter of John CAWTHON & Agnes HARRIS,[43] in Goochland Co VA. On 27 Dec 1784 when David was 36, he married a second wife in Goochland Co VA; the marriage bond does not give her name, but she may have been Carolina.[44]

1768, 20 Aug, married (1) Mary Cauthon, The Douglas Register

1769, Douglas Register records birth of son Harris

12 Nov 1775, Douglas Register records christening of dt Aggie

1784, 27 Dec married (2) —, Goochland Co, William and Mary Quarterly

1782-4, 1785, 1786-8, Goochland Co tax lists

1787, death of David Alvis [Sr]

1789, insolvent  [called David Jr, The Virginia Genealogist, 21 (1977), 287]

1789-91, 94-5, still in Goochland Co (in these years there were 2 Davids over 16)

1795, mentioned in the settlement of the Estate of Robert Page, Goochland Co VA. The final settlement was dated Feb 20 1795, but contains charges and receipts for the estate as far back as Jan 3 1787. See receipt on April 20 1789 of 1 pound, 10 shillings, plus 3 shillings, 2 pence interest, from “David Alvis Jr.”

1796-1806, one David was in Goochland Co tax lists, Harris in 1799 tax list

19 Jun 1798, surety at marriage of dt Agnes [Aggie] to Turner Clark, Goochland Co

1800, poss this David in Buckingham Co tax list

1802, dt Polly married in Augusta Co VA “Meris” was surety

1807-1814, lands in Goochland Co, but not necessarily present or even the same David

1814, listed as deceased

David had the following proposed children, the first two being clearly idenitifed in The Douglas Register:

  1. Henry Harris (1769-<1854)
  2. Agnes (1775-)
  3. Elizabeth/Betsy (1777-)
  4. David (ca1790-1848)
  5. Zachariah C (1783-1868)
  6. Mary (1784-)
  7. Moses (1790-)


  • Ashley ALVIS. Ashley was born say in 1750 and died in Sumner Co TN, after 29 Aug 1808. On 17 Dec 1772, he first married Elizabeth KNOLLING/NOWLIN in Goochland Co VA. About 1789, he second married Martha [NOWLIN?]. Martha died in 1815 in Sumner Co TN.

1771, 16 Dec, married (1) Elizabeth Knolling, The Douglas Register

1885 KY hist book says he served in the Rev War (no record found)

1782, res Goochland Co VA, also 1784-93

1782, 27 Sep, declared his losses to the British in Goochland Co[45]

1789, 31 Oct, Ashley Alvis witnesssed the marriage of Stephen Nowlin[46] and Anny Witt

ca 1789, married (2) Martha Nowlin, Goochland Co VA

1789 in Goochland Co VA.

1794-1806, most years, Buckingham Co

24 Mar 1794, Milly Alvis witnesses a promissory note from James Nowlin and Thomas Chancellor. She is otherwise unknown, but Ashley’s two wives were both members of the Nowlin family. Prince Edward County[47]

1799, 7 Dec, VA Gen Soc Q XXXII, #2: Signed a petition in Buckingham Co

1808, 29 Aug, found a stray horse, Sumner Co TN[48]

1810, 3 Mar, Mrs. Martha Alvis found a stray[49]

before1811, died, Martha appears on tax list

1815, Martha died, leaving a will, , Sumner Co TN, signed 21 Mar 1816, proved Nov 1816

Ashley and his first wife had the following children:

  1. Edmund (1778-1864)
  2. John (1780-)
  3. Abraham (1781-1854)
  4. Charles (1780-)
  5. Shadrach (~1788->1860)

Ashley and his second wife had the following children:

  1. Ashley (1791-1883)
  2. Nancy (1793-)
  3. Elizabeth (<1795-)
  4. Mary (1796-)
  5. Elijah (1801-)


  • Shadrach ALVIS. Shadrach was born say in 1752 and died in Goochland Co VA, in 1806. On 23 Sep 1773, he first married Nancy ADDISON in Goochland Co VA. Nancy died after 21 Aug 1780 in Goochland Co VA. On 27 Dec 1784, he second married Judith HANCOCK, daughter of Major HANCOCK & Ann THOMAS, in Goochland Co VA. Born on 17 May 1768, Judith died in Goochland Co VA, on 16 May 1856. Judith’s census record from 1810 through 1850 is complete.

23 1773, married (1) Nancie Addison, The Douglas Register

20 Nov 1774, christening of daughter Elizabeth, The Douglas Register

21 Jul 1776, christening of daughter Nancy, The Douglas Register

20 Apr 1777, christening of son Meredith, The Douglas Register

27 Dec 1784, married (2) Judith Hancocke, The Douglas Register, David was surety

1782, 84, 87-9, 91-9, 1800-3, Goochland Co tax lists

25 Dec 1805, marriage of dt Polly to John Bush; Elijah’s son David surety, Goochland Co

1806, died, leaving will in Goochland Co

19 Dec 1806, daughter Sarah married William R Wright, John Bush surety, Goochland Co

9 Oct 1811, Judith consented to marriage of daughter Patsy to Josiah Amos. Shadrach was deceased, Goochland Co

Shadrach and his first wife had the following children, births recorded in , The Douglas Register:

  1. Elizabeth (1774-)
  2. Nancy (1775-)
  3. Meredith (1777-)

Shadrach and his second wife had the following children:

  1. Mary/Polly (1785-)
  2. Sarah (1786-)
  3. Martha/Patsie (1791-)
  4. (daughter)
  5. Major (1792-)
  6. Robert (1798-1878)
  7. Henry Franklin (1804-1861)
  8. Susannah (1800-)


  • Stanley ALVIS. Stanley was born say in 1754 and died in VA after 1806. About 1780, he probably married a woman named Rhoda. Rhody Alvis was in the 1810 census in Henrico County, where Stanley’s probable children lived.

1775 church list, Trinity Parish

1776, Revolutionary War, with John[50]

ca 1780, married, poss Rhody —

1782, Hanover Co tax list with 2 people

1790, 20 Nov Virginia Genealogical Society Quarterly XXXII, #1: Elijah, Forester and Stanley signed petition for dividing Hanover Co and building a new courthouse

1793, purchased property from Walter Chisholm in Hanover Co VA[51]

1793-96, 98, 99, 1801, 03, Hanover Co tax lists

1804-1806, Louisa Co tax lists

poss his widow Rhody, Henrico Co VA 1810:  21100/00101

Stanley and his wife probably had the following children:

  1. Walter (1780-<1831)
  2. Thomas Spencer (~1783-)
  3. Stephen (1797-)
  4. Sarah (1799-)
  5. Peter Meredith (ca1794-1849)


  • Elijah ALVIS. Elijah was born say in 1758 and died in Goochland Co VA, in Oct 1822. On 15 Oct 1784, he married Elizabeth CLARKE in Goochland Co VA. Born in 1767 in Virginia, Elizabeth died in Goochland Co VA, about 16 Feb 1846.

1778-1780, Rev War soldier

1784, Oct 15, m Elizabeth Clarke, Goochland Co, Shadrach was surety

Goochland Co VA tax lists: 1792-5, 1798-1807 (in 1804 and 06, David was listed w/Elijah; in 1805 and 09 there was an unnamed male 16-21), 1809-14, 1820-21

Virginia Genealogical Society Quarterly XXXII, #1: Elijah, Forester and Stanley signed petition 20 Nov 1790 for dividing Hanover Co and building a new courthouse.

1810 census Goochland Co VA: 121[torn]/11200

1818, pension filed from Louisa Co VA

1820 census Goochland Co VA: 000001/01121

1822, Sep 3, gave consent to marriage of dt Nancy

1822, Elizabeth in Goochland Co tax lists

1822, Oct, died in Goochland Co , per pension

1829, Elizabeth, consent at marriage of dt Elizabeth

1830 census Goochland Co VA, Elizabeth: 0/000000101

1840 census Goochland Co, Elizabeth, “widow of  Elijah”: 0/000001101/22/1201

1846, widow’s estate lists 9 children

1850, two unmarried daughters in census

They had the following children:

  1. David (~1785->1850)
  2. Mary (1786-)
  3. Stanley (1789-1850)
  4. Nancy (1790-1860)
  5. William E (1793-1863)
  6. Shadrach “Sr” (~1794-<1845)
  7. Jane (1797->1850)
  8. Ashley (1802-~1873)
  9. Elizabeth (1804->1846)


  • Zachariah ALVIS. Zachariah was born in 1761 and died in Goochland Co VA, after 1833. On 15 Dec 1789, he married Elizabeth WEBSTER, daughter of David WEBSTER & Judith CARTER, in Goochland Co VA.

1779, served at least one month in the Rev War

11 Dec 1788, surety for marriage of Lucy Alvis, to James Ryan, Goochland Co

26 Sep 1789, married Elizabeth Webster, Goochland MR

19 Oct 1795, surety at the marriage of James Ryan, whose first wife was Lucy Alvis

17 Sep 1803, Goochland Co Records, mortgage.[52]

1814-1822, Goochland Co Orders, several entries

1809-15 (w/son 16+ in 1814-5), 16-20, 22-23, 29-31, Goochland Co tax lists

1810 census Goochland Co VA: 12001/21010

1820 census Goochland Co VA: 210001/02101

1824, gave consent to marriage of daughter Sarah

1830 census Goochland Co: 001100001/000010001

1832, filed for pension from Goochland Co

after 1833, died

Zachariah and Elizabeth had the following likely children:

  1. Shadrach “Jr” (~1795-)
  2. (daughter)
  3. Woodson (1790-1822)
  4. William Woodson (1803-1856)
  5. Charles (~1800-<1842)
  6. Sarah (1800-)
  7. Elijah (~1817-)
  8. John W Sr (1817-1878)
  9. Mary (1817-)


[1] Most known descendants use the spelling Alvis. The spelling Alves disappears at an early date from Virginia records. Also found are Aalves, Alues, Olvis, and other variants.

[2] Nell Marion Nugent, Cavaliers and Pioneers: Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants, 1623-1800, Vol. 3, p. 37.

[3] Edward Pleasants Valentine Papers, published in 1927 and re-issued by the Genealogical Publishing Company in 1979, page 1639.

[4] John Frederick Dorman, Adventurers of Purse and Person Virginia 1607-1624/5:

Families G-P, fourth edition, Genealogical Publishing Com, 2004, page 267.

[5] There is no indication in any of these records that George and Alice Alves had children. Her Harris children were born in the early 1660s. If she was in her forties when she married George Alves prior to 1682, we can also assume that he was at least age 30 or older, giving him a purely hypothetical birthdate of 1640-50.

[6] Hanover Co VA Court Records 1733-35, pp. 35-36, pages 123-126 of the original record book.

[7] Dorman, loc. cit., citing Hanover County Record Book 1733-35, page 203.

[8] “Henrico county Record Book No. 2, 1678-1693,” Virginia Genealogical society Quarterly, Vol. 30, No. 1, page 28.

[9] Dorman, ibid, citing Henrico Orphans’ Court, 1 Feb 1682.

[10] Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia, 1659/60-1693, Virginia State Library, 1915.

[11] Vol. 22, pp. 3, 189.

[12] Vol. 22, pp. 261-269.

[13] Douglas, William,. The Douglas register: being a detailed record of births, marriages and deaths together with other interesting notes, as kept by the Rev. William Douglas, from 1750-1797: an index of Goochland Wills: notes on the French-Hugeunot [sic] refugees who lived in Manakin-Town. Richmond, VA: J.W. Fergusson & Sons, 1928, p. 9.

[14] Nell Marion Nugent, loc. cit.

[15] Patent Book No. 8, p. 377: “GEORGE ALVES, 653 acs., New Kent County., in St. Peter’s Par., 29 Apr. 1692, p. 234. Beg. at land, now or late, of William Bassett & James Astin; to Beaver Dam Sw; to land, now or late, of Charles Turner; & land, now or late, of Littlepage. Imp. of 14 pers.* [Asterisk not explained.]

Page 39 of the same book: “GEORGE ALVIS, 767 acs., New Kent Co in St. Peter’s Par; on N. side of Totopotomoys Cr; adj. Thomas Wilkinson; 7 Nov 1700, p. 284. Imp. of 16 pers…”

Patent Book No. 10, p. 162-163: “GEORGE ALVES, 4843 acs. (N.L.), New Kent Co in St. Paul’s Par; beg. at Col. James Taylor at head of Meadow Br; to Taylor’s Cr; to S. br. of Pamunky Riv., called the South River; 16 Dec. 1714, p. 212; Imp. of 97 pers…”

Patent Book No. 11, p. 247: “GEORGE ALVES, of Hanover Co, 400 acs. (N.L.), at a place called Bear Garden: on Richard Harris’ line; 5 Sept. 1723, p. 216. 40 Shill.” Just below this Nicholas Meriwether received land described as near the “land of George Alves; on Alvis’ Creek.” There are many references to George Alves’s land in these patents.

Patent Book No. 12, p. 277: “GEORGE ALVES, 385 acs. (N.L.), Hanover Co; on both sides of Elk ford Cr; adj. Nicholas & Richard Johnson’s corner; 22 Feb 1724, p. 144. 40 Shill.” P. 295: “GEORGE ALVES, 400 acs. (N.L.), Hanover Co; on both sides of Beech Creek; 24 Mar. 1725, p. 351. 40 Shill. SAME, 400 acs. (N.L.), same Co date, & page. On both sides Maidlin’s Folly Creek. 40 Shill. … GEORGE ALVES, 400 acs. (N.L.), Hanover Co; on both sides of Beech Creek; 24 Mar. 1725, p. 352. 40 Shill.”

Patent Book No. 14, p. 400: “GEORGE ALVES, 400 acs. (N.L.), Hanover Co; on both sides of Dirty Sw; 25 Aug 1731, p. 216. 40 Shill.”

[16] Louis des Cognets, Jr., compiler, English Duplicates of Lost Virginia Records, Princeton: 1958, reprinted 1981.

[17] See “Hanover County, Virginia Record Loss” at,_Virginia_Record_Loss.

[18] This guardianship was the origin of speculation that Mary, David Alvis’s mother may have been a Crenshaw.

[19] See below for transcript.

[20] Churchill Gibson Chamberlayne, The Vestry Book of St. Paul’s Parish, Hanover County, Virginia, 1706-1786, Baltimore: Reprinted for Clearfield by Genealogical Pub. Co., 1999, 1940.

[21] ‪National Society of the Colonial Dames of America, The Parish Register of Saint Peter’s, New Kent County, Va. from 1680 to 1787, Heritage Books, 1988, page 89.

[22] Henrico Co., VA Will & Deed Bk. 1688-1697, 110-111.

[23] Vol. 36 (1928), p. 144.

[24] Vol. 31 (1923), p. 215.

[25] Op. cit., p. 342.

[26] Op. cit., p. 343.

[27] Vol. 33 (1925), p. 24.

[28] Op. cit., p. 353.

[29] “PASSENGERS TO AMERICA: Various Communications and Sources” New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 31:3 (July 1877), pp. 310.

[30] Hanover County VA Deeds 1783-1792, p. 53: p. 251. Abstracted in William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. XXI, No. 1 (Jul 1912), p. 146. Rec’d of William Thomson of Hanover one mare, 1 cow & calf, 5 Barrels of corn & 5 bushels of wheat which I acknowledge as full compensation for my third part of the tract of land sold by my late husband David Alvis of Hanover Co to Moses Harris. Elizabeth (X) Alvis, Wit: John Norvell, Wm. Hendrick, John Norvell Junr. 4 Oct 1787 proved by oath of John Norvell.

[31] Churchill Gibson Chamberlayne, The Vestry Book of St. Paul’s Parish, Hanover County, Virginia, 1706-1786, Baltimore: Reprinted for Clearfield by Genealogical Pub. Co., 1999, 1940, 286.

[32] Hanover Co VA Court Records 1733-35, pp. 35-36, page 123-126 of the original record book. “Oct 4 1734 Settlement of the Estate of David Alvis Orphan of George Alves dec’d was recorded.”

[33] Vol. XXI, No. 1 (Jul 1912), p. 54. This guardianship was the origin of speculation that Mary, David Alvis’s mother may have been a Crenshaw.

[34] He was also a witness in Louisa County in  1761; Goochland Co tax list: 1785, and possibly other years, indistinguishable from his son and several grandsons named David. A website ( attributes this to me, but I cannot locate the original submission of this data to me.

[35] Amelia County, Virginia, Tax Lists 1736-1764: An Every-Name Index, Miami: T.L.C. Genealogy, 1993. In 1744, he was in the area from Namozine Creek to Cellar Creek, with one slave named Jack. In 1745, he was “above Saylor’s Creek.” In 1746, he was “from the upper part of the county” and had zero tithables, probably because he was listed as Constable.

[36] Edward Pleasants Valentine Papers, published in 1927 and re-issued by the Genealogical Publishing Company in 1979, page 493.

[37] The Alvis Exchange, 27 (1995) 5-8.

[38] Alvis L Anderson, Stanley & Allied Families (1996), states she married an Alvis and was dismissed for marrying against discipline. Email communication from Ruth Kuntz, 23 Jul 2013.

[39] Vol. VI: (Virginia), 1950, pp. 213, 224. In 1724, John Stanley, along with John Harris and James Stanley, were “imprisoned for refusing to pay tithes or priest wages.”

[40] See my blog, “The Importance of Naming Patterns in Determining Early Alvis Families,” George was clearly a family name, for David’s father, John and Stanley refer to David’s father-in-law.

[41] Louis A Burgess, Virginia Soldiers of 1776, Vol. III, p. 1255. Note that he was in Col. Charles Dabney’s Company.

[42] Louisa Co, VA Chancery Notes 1798-008; Forrester Alvis vs. Thomas Hardin:  Alvis worked as an overseer for Thomas Harding for one year and was promised a share of each crop – corn, wheat, tobacco. He was never paid. Witnesses for Alvis, all “of this county”, were Woodford Alvis, John Chisholm,  Henry L. Joyce, Harden Turner, James Cockrom, Samuel Higgason, Elizabeth Alvis, John Johnston, and James Henry. No relationships were given. Woodford through Samuel were deposed 20 Sept 1796. The rest gave their deposition Nov. 11, 1796.

[43] Agnes and her daughter Mary were descendants of Alice (–) (Harris) Alvis, second wife of Immigrant George Alvis.

[44] Marriage bond for David Alvis and —, 27 Dec 1784, in William and Mary Quarterly, VIII, 96. See Carolina Alvis in the 1820 census for Buckingham Co VA.

[45] “British Depredations in Goochland County,” The Virginia Genealogist, Vol 30, p 217.

[46] Brother of his first wife, Elizabeth. Goochland Co Marriage Register, 394. Magazine of Virginia Genealogy, Vol 25, No. 3 (1987).

[47] Prince Edward County, Virginia, Records at Large II, page 364, page 185 in published extracts. James Nowlin may have been Elizabeth (Knolling/Nowlin) Alvis’s uncle. “Milly” signed with a mark, which may indicate given name was not correct. Or Milly may have been one of the unidentified Alvis wives. A Milly Nowlin was married 29 Nov 1786 to Thomas Chancellor in Goochland County, Abraham Nowlin surety. See The Alvis Exchange, 25-2.

[48] The Impartial Review & Cumberland Repository, 1805-1808, 229.

[49] The Democratic Clarion & Tennessee Gazette, 1810-1811, 121.

[50] Louis A Burgess, loc. cit.

[51] “Little Garden,” Old Houses of Hanover Co VA, pp. 131-132.

[52] Deed Book 18, p 665.

Published in: on June 4, 2016 at 8:19 pm  Comments (7)  

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  1. Pat, I hope this finds you well. I have enjoyed reading your research and am overwhelmed by all you have done. My little “Alvis Exchange” from the 80s pales. I have been looking at the Free Black Alvis Families in York County Va. The earliest record I have found is for a William Alvis age 9 bound to Robert Crawley 21 May 1750 . His mother was Katherine Alvis born ca 1720. She MAY have been the mother of Emmanuel Alvis who served in the Revolutionary War. Do you have any thoughts on these Free Blacks ??

    • It’s Kathy, not Pat. I’ve never found more than those basic facts.

  2. Sorry about that Kathy, some days my mind doesn’t work like it once did. I guess they will always be a mystery. I packed up all my issues of the Exchange and sent them to the University of Virginia Library perhaps someone will find them useful.

  3. Kathy, need information on Margaret Alvis who married John Jordan in 1789 Montgomery Co. N.C. I am a Jordan in West Tenn. Edmond and Jonathan ,1812 and 1815 named sons Alvis in Benton Co. Tn. These are my ancestors , along with Evans and Randal Jordan moved from Montgomery Co. to Benton Co. Tn. I come from JG03 line Richard Jordan 1620. Any help with Alvis and Jordan Families would be great. God Bless , James Jordan

    • In the late 1700s, a Scottish family, including a son Walter Hogg, a brother Gavin, and an unknown number of sisters moved to North Carolina. The two sons changed their name to Alves for one of their ancestral families. The judge ruled or the brothers stated that no one should go through life named Hogg, so the men became Alves (with an e), while the daughters were free to change their own names through marriage.
      See and Google Walter Alves. There must have been a sister Margaret as well. There was a more numerous Alvis family in the Goochland Co VA area, but no one fits your Margaret. I don’t have any reference to Benton Co TN in my files, so she may have been the lone Alves/Alvis who lived there. And that’s why she doesn’t show up in any Alvis records.

  4. Hello again, I see some more names in your material. Gossett, Nancy Gossett married my gggrandfather William Jordan born 1844 Benton Co.Tn. Father Henry Gossett. Knowles , Christopher Edward Jordan married Rebecca Knowles , Sumter, Tn. Alvis, Margaret Alvis Jordan born 1770 , married 1789 to 1760 John Jordan , died 1850 in Troy Montgomery Co. N.C. Who is Forrest Alvis who had a Edmund Jordan listed with family that was born 1792 ? Thanks for your reply before. God Bless, James

  5. My cousins , Benton Co. Tn.. Alvis Jordan 1846 father Edmond Jordan, Alvis Gil Jordan 1857 father Jonathan Jordan 1814 Coy Alvis Jordan sister Estell Jordan born Ak. N.C. , Walter Alvis Jordan 1813 mother Margaret Alvis Jordan wife of John Montgomery Co. N.C.

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