Young Canadian Army officer wearing a kilt in a formal seated portrait. Lieutenant A. H. (Pete) Stevens, Essex Scottish Regiment in Toronto, back from the UK at the end of 1944 for medical treatment. Photo was taken in early 1945.
My father, Lieutenant A. H. (Pete) Stevens, Essex Scottish Regiment, 1944

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.

James STEPHEN (1770-1841) and Elizabeth NEISH (1772-1841) had six children :

  1. James STEPHEN (1797 – after 1841)
  2. Margaret STEPHEN (1799 –    )
  3. Isabel STEPHEN (1804 – 1874)
  4. David STEPHEN (1808 –    )
  5. Alexander STEVEN (1810 –    ) (note the spelling change from “ph” to “v”)
  6. William STEVEN  (1815-1890) <<<
Colin Stevens at the STEVEN family grave in the New Cemetery in Brechin, Scotland.
Colin Stevens at the STEVEN family grave in the New Cemetery in Brechin, Scotland.

William STEVEN and Margaret ARNOTT (1814-1901) had four children:

  1. Isabella Kinnear STEVEN (1841 – 1912)
  2. Mary Arnott STEVEN (1844 –     )
  3. William STEVEN (1846 – 1902) (baptized as William STEPHEN and also known as Will.) <<<
  4. 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.


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 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. 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.

Captain W. A. STEVENS with his mother, Minnie (nee MacGREGOR about 1915
Captain W. A. STEVENS with his mother, Minnie (nee MacGREGOR) about 1915

The younger William STEVEN(S) married Mary Maud MACGREGOR in Niagara, Ontario in 1874. They had three children:

  1. Margaret Arnott STEVENS (1877 – 1899)
  2. Edith Anna MacGregor STEVENS (1879 – 1941)
  3. 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). He added MacGregor to his name. Hume and MacGregor were both ancestral family names. He mainly called himself “Pete”.