Stevenson


Select Stevenson/Stephenson Surname Genealogy

Here are some Stevenson/Stephenson stories and accounts over the years:

Stevensons and Stephensons in 1891


Numbers (000's)
Stevenson
Stephenson
Total
England
  
  
  
Northumberland 
   0.3       
   1.5
   1.8       
Durham
   0.4
   3.7
   4.1
Yorkshire
   1.4
   5.9
   7.3
Lancashire
   1.7
   2.4
   4.1
Nottinghamshire
   1.2
   0.1
   1.3
Derbyshire
   1.1
   0.1
   1.2
Staffordshire
   0.9
   0.1
   1.0
Elsewhere
   5.7
   4.0
   9.7
Total
  12.7
  17.8
  30.5




Scotland
   6.7
   0.4
   7.1


Stevensons and Stephensons Today

Stevensons outnumber Stephensons by roughly 60/40 today.  The table below shows the approximate numbers:

Numbers (000's)
Stevenson
Stephenson
Total
UK
   45       
   31
   76       
Elsewhere
   40
   25
   65
Total
   85
   56
  141


The Stephensons of Balladoole on the Isle of Man

The Stevensons of Balladoole in the parish of Arbory were among the oldest landed families on the Isle of Man.  Their name was first mentioned in 1302 when Gilbert Makstephan Reginald MacStephan was recorded in a court case regarding a land dispute.  One line traces from John Stevynson said to be living in Balladoole in 1336.  In 1417 Reginald Stevenson was recorded as a member of the House of Keys and Thomas Steveson and John Stevenson were listed as Corners in the Manorial roll of 1511. 

These Stevensons were supporters of the Stanleys in the 1600ís and opponents of the Christians.  Richard Stevenson was Deputy Governor of the Isle of Man in the late 1600ís. 

Later Stevensons interchanged in name with the Woods family.  For instance, William Baring Woods was returned to the first elected House of Keys in 1867 as W.B. Woods, but by the time of the next election in 1874 he had become W.B. Stevenson.  Sons of his were William Augustus Stevenson, also a member of the Keys, and Surgeon General Henry Wickham Stevenson who returned to the Isle of Man bearing the decoration of Companion of the Star of India.



John Stephenson, Newcastle Merchant, and His Family


John Stephenson and his wife Elizabeth raised three sons who all did well: 
  • his eldest son Henry was called to the Bar.  But he then married his cousin Alice, daughter and co-heir of Sir William Stephenson, inherited much of his fatherís wealth, and had no need to practice his profession.  His means enabled him to live in some style, with a London house in Park Lane and a country seat in Berkshire and to eventually see his only daughter Elizabeth, one of the noted beauties of her day, marry John Saville, the second Earl of Mexborough. 
  • his second son Matthew remained in Newcastle and was sheriff of Newcastle in 1759.  Later in life he purchased the Walworth castle and estate in Durham. 
  • whilst the youngest son John went out to India where he amassed a large fortune. 

Stevensons from Neilston Parish in Renfrewshire

The Lighthouse Stevensons came from Neilston parish in Renfrewshire.  So did a number of other Stevensons. 

One line
began with Robert Stevenson who married Christian Reid in Paisley in 1744 (his descendants later emigrated to America).   A Stevenson of this line married into a nearby Stevenson family of the same period - the family of James Stevenson, burgess of Paisley in 1753.  Then there was another Stevenson line descended from James Stevenson who married Margaret Sproule in Neilston parish in 1771; and Alexander Stevenson of Glasgow was born in this area around 1770.


The Lighthouse Stevensons

A romantic historical story full of adventure and invention, The Lighthouse Stevensons is a unique account of how a single family virtually defined the Scottish coast by designing and building lighthouses in the 18th and 19th centuries. 

For centuries the seas around Scotland were notorious for shipwrecks.  Mariners' only aids were skill, luck, and a single coal-fire light on the east coast which was usually extinguished by rain.  In 1786 the Northern Lighthouse Trust was established, with Robert Stevenson appointed as chief engineer a few years later - the beginning of a partnership spanning almost two centuries and four generations of the same family, which became known as the "Lighthouse Stevensons." 


The family tradition was started with Edinburgh man Thomas Smith, who installed his first light on Kinnaird Castle, near Fraserburgh, in 1787.  He passed the baton on to his son-in-law (and stepson) Robert Stevenson, who founded a dynasty of lighthouse engineers including sons, Allan, David and Thomas (father of RLS), and in turn Davidís sons David Alan and Charles and finally Charlesís son, David Alan. 


The Stevensons fought foul weather, jagged coastlines, and certain opposition to build these lighthouses in some of the most remote and inhospitable locations on the Scottish coast and reefs.  They not only designed the lighthouses towers to resist the gales of the North Sea but supervised the actual construction under often desperate conditions and perfected a design of precisely chiseled interlocking granite blocks that would withstand the enormous waves that batter these stone pillars. 

The same Stevensons also developed the lamps and lenses of the lights themselves, which "sent a gleam across the wave" and saved the lives of thousands of sailors whose ships would otherwise have foundered on the headlands and hidden reefs of  Scotland.



Ben Stevenson - from Orkney to British Columbia

Ben Stevenson was born in Orkney in 1870.  He began training for a carrier in law but when he was seventeen years old he decided that he would join his brothers, John and Stuart, and his sister Margaret who had immigrated to Canada and were farming at Elgin in British Columbia. 

He reached New Westminster in June 1887.  But Elgin was many miles from New Westminster.  As there was no means of transportation, the only way to get there was by walking and that is what Ben Stevenson did.  When he arrived at Elgin he was welcomed by his brothers and sister and stayed with them, working on their farm. 

In 1899 he was able to purchase a 240 acre farm, known as the Eldorado Farm, at Mud Bay and started farming on his own.  Ben married there, prospered, and became a leading member of his community. 

ďBen Stevenson was a very progressive and public spirited citizen.  Anything that was for the good of Surrey always got Stevenson support.  It was through his efforts that the first water was piped to Mud Bay.  He donated the land for the first school at Ocean Park.  He had the first mail contract, carrying the mail by horse and wagon from New Westminster to the Elgin Hotel at Elgin.  Mr. Stevenson, together with Daniel Johnson, Dave McKee and John Oliver (later to become Premier of British Columbia) started the first Mutual Fire Insurance Company of B.C. to give the farmers of Surrey protection.Ē 

B
en Stevenson passed away in 1966 at the age of 96.  His wife Amelia died in 1979, aged 95.



Return to Top of Page
Return to Stevenson Main Page