Clues to London Cavers family in West Ham parish registers

Prompted by findmypast adding Westminster parish register transcripts to their records I just had a fresh look for Cavers references. And, to my surprise, as well as ones in Westminster I found some in West Ham in Essex, where Ann Cavers and her husband John Rivett seem to have had children. Having those West Ham registers searchable online prompted me to look into the Rivett family more. But I also think it’s given me clues to her Cavers parents.

Firstly there’s a burial at West Ham, sourced from the National Burial Index, for Ann Rivett. She was buried at All Saints church on 17 Apr 1840, aged 51, which would suggest a birthdate circa 1788. Her likely husband John Rivett was buried at the same church on 14 Mar 1837 aged 45, indicating a birth circa 1791. It looks as though their sons Charles and William were buried there too, because there are burials of those names at the same church: Charles in 1834 aged 12, and William in 1835 aged 21. The findmypast parish register transcripts for West Ham include a number of children for John and Ann Rivett:

  • William Rivett, c. 27 Jun 1813 at All Saints, West Ham, ?buried 1 Mar 1835 aged 21 at All Saints, West Ham
  • James Rivett, c. 8 Jan 1815 at All Saints, West Ham, ?executor to his uncle William Cavers gunsmith in 1841?
  • Jane Rivett, c. 2 May 1819 at All Saints, West Ham
  • Charles Rivett, c. 25 Nov 1821 at All Saints, West Ham, ?buried 2 Aug 1834 aged 12 at All Saints, West Ham
  • Henry Rivett, c. 1 Jun 1825 at All Saints, West Ham
  • John Rivett, c. 1 Jun 1825 at All Saints, West Ham

This Rivett family grouping is pretty consistent with the family I found in the 1841 census, living in Church Street, West Ham: James, a carpenter, aged 25, George, aged 20, Jane aged 20, John aged 15, and Henry aged 15. Note that ages in the 1841 English census are rounded down to the nearest 5 years. Presumably George was another son of the family. And James Rivett christened in 1815 fits with a builder and undertaker of the name in the 1851 West Ham census, which ties in with the information in his likely uncle’s will. There’s a Rivett undertakers business still operating in West Ham, which has apparently been running from the early 1800s, always in the same family. I must contact them sometime, to see if they know about their early family history.

Significantly for my one-name study the West Ham burial registers also include a number of Cavers references. Firstly there’s William Cavers buried on 25 Apr 1841 at All Saints, West Ham. His age is recorded as 55, which fits with a birth circa 1785. Could he be William the gunsmith who married Sarah Nussey? Since William the gunsmith drew up his own will on 24 Mar 1841 but died before the census on 6 Jun 1841 I think it’s very likely to be the same man. His age also fits well to be a sibling of Mrs Ann Rivett.

There’s an even older William Cavers buried at All Saints, West Ham: William Cavers buried 27 Jun 1819 aged 62, giving a birthdate circa 1757. And likewise Jane Cavers was buried there on 3 Jan 1810, and Sarah Cavers on 10 Jul 1799 – ages for both not recorded. Could these be the parents of William Cavers and Mrs Ann Rivett, possibly William Cavers and Jane Howell who married in 1783, and another member of their family? The name Jane was passed down to daughters of both William the gunsmith and Mrs Ann Rivett. And the name Sarah was used in William’s family too.

I really need someone to check for gravestones for the Cavers and Rivett families at All Saints, in the hope that this clarifies relationships. That’s assuming there is a readable inscription there. But it’s very encouraging. Having likely birth dates for the older members of the family raises the possibility of tracing things back in time. And it makes it more likely that William the gunsmith and Mrs Ann Rivett were children of William Cavers and Jane Howell. I could also buy the death certificates for William and Ann, but that is very costly. Burial indexes through a pre-paid subscription are a nice alternative.

An 1841 will and a case of disinheritance

I’ve just been studying the will of William Cavers gunsmith in London. It’s hard to read, at least compared to Scottish wills I’m more used to. Even Scottish wills from the 16th century are easier to read than this English document!


Snippet of will of William Cavers

As a result I’ve given up trying to decipher the whole thing. Instead I’ve been glancing through it, looking for clues.

William left his household effects, after his wife Sarah died, to his four daughters, unnamed, but presumably Caroline, Jane, Sarah Maria, and Ann. His tools and implements were left to his son William, along with the management of the family business, with the advice that William was “to be diligent to rise early” and to look after the business “as much as lies in his power”. By contrast the eldest son Charles was disinherited, who due to his

immoral and dissipated habits alienated himself from his family thereby forfeiting that claim he would have had naturally had he been a dutifull son. I reluctantly exclude him Charles Cavers from the benefits he would otherwise participate in at the same time should he choose to assist in the business I recommend that he be well remunerated

How sad, given that the last blog post recounted a happier time for the family, an outing to the fair in 1828 to see the animals, albeit one where father William, with his young son Charles and probably little William too, was pickpocketed.

I’ve just spotted another useful clue in the will though. As well as young William and son-in-law Charles Darling, the will also appointed as executor “my nephew Mr James Rivett of Stratford and West Ham in the County of Essex Builder”. That name Rivett has popped up before, with a marriage in 1812 in London between John Rivett and Ann Cavers. So this will suggests that Ann was William’s sister. A valuable clue. I need to look into the Rivett family more next.