My STEVENS (also known as: STEPHEN, STEPHENSON & STEVEN) family can be traced back to Brechin, Angus, Scotland. This ancient city is near the East Coast of Scotland. Brechin is pronounced like brek-in.
James STEPHEN (1770-1841) and Elizabeth NEISH (1772-1841) had six children. Three different last names were used indicating that spelling was not very important in those days i.e., STEVEN, STEPHEN, STEPHENSON. STEVENSON was also used.
- James STEPHEN (1797 – after 1841)
- Margaret STEPHEN (1799 – )
- Isabel STEPHEN (1804 – 1874)
- David STEPHEN (1808 – )
- Alexander STEVEN (1810 – ) (note the spelling change from “ph” to “v”)
- William (Will) STEVEN who was christened/baptized as William STEPHENSON ! (1815-1890) <<<
William STEVEN and Margaret ARNOTT (1814-1901) had four children:
- Isabella Kinnear STEVEN (1841 – 1912)
- Mary Arnott STEVEN (1844 – )
- William STEVEN (1846 – 1902) (baptized as William STEPHEN and also known as Will.) <<<
- John Arnott STEVEN (Born between 1840-1850) (died as an infant)
William STEVEN came to Brooklyn, New York, USA in 1864 to work for his uncle David Shiress ARNOTT. Young William’s father, William STEVEN (1815-1890) was a “slater”, who installed slate rooves in Brechin. One can imagine that when they said “lifetime warranty” that the slate roof would indeed last that long! Young William’s uncle David Shiress ARNOTT had a business making tombstones. William was a young man of 18-years when he came over.
NAME CHANGE STEVEN TO STEVENS
At some point, William STEVEN added an S” onto the end of his name, making it STEVENS. We do not know why he did this. The change seems to have occurred about 1874 when he was married as a STEVENS, but became a U.S. Citizen in 1879 5-years later as a STEVEN, the name he immigrated with. We do know that the name change was NOT done at Ellis Island. Popular legend states that many immigrants had their “foreign” sounding names changed by immigration officials upon arrival in America, but we now know that there is no truth to this story. Immigration officials had the passenger lists and already had the spelling of the names.
The younger William STEVEN(S) married Mary Maud MACGREGOR in Niagara, Ontario in 1874. They had three children:
- Margaret Arnott STEVENS (1877 – 1899)
- Edith Anna MacGregor STEVENS (1879 – 1941)
- William Arnott STEVENS (1888 – 1961) <<<
William Arnott STEVENS And his wife Bertha (“Betty”) May GARDNER had one child, my father, Dr. Arnott Hume STEVENS (1919-1985).
Arnott Hume STEVENS’s name consisted of three family surnames. He did not like the name Arnott. When he was a young schoolboy, a friend would stop by the house and call out his name loudly, to get him to come outside. “ARRRRR-NUT! ARRRRR-NUT!” Dad told him “Call me Pete” Even his parents and future wife ended up calling him Pete. This name was never officially one of his names. An author writing about a pioneering Arctic mercy mission where he was flown into a remote Eskimo (Inuit) village in the wintertime to stop an epidemic circa 1959 could not find a Dr. Pete Stevens anywhere as he was always listed as Dr. A.H.Stevens. He added Macgregor, with a small “g” to his name unofficially, so he was also known as Arnott Hume Macgregor (“Pete”) Stevens.