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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) (Pitt-Rivers Saron Riven). Quarterly, 1st and 4th, sa. a fess chequy ar. and az. betw. three bezants, for Pitt; 2nd and 3rd, per pale gu. and az. on a chev. ar. betw. three martlets or, an eagle displ. sa., for Beckford. Crest—1st: A stork ppr., for Pitt; 2nd : A heron’s head erased or, holding in the bill a fish ar. Supporters—Dexter, a falcon, wings inverted and belled or; sinister, a unicorn or. Motto—Æquam servare mentem.
2) (Chafford, co. Kent, bart.). Az. two bars dancettée or, in chief three bezants, quartering, as an augmentation, az. on a fess engr. betw. three swans ar. a bar gu. charged with as many roses of the second. Crest—On a mount vert a bull pass. ar. collared, ringed, lined, and armed or. Motto—Secus rivos aquarum.
3) (co. Berks). Az. two bars or (another, bars dancettée).
4) or River, or De la River – (co. Berks). Gu. two bars wavy or.
5) (quartered by Mohun, of Tavistock, co. Devon, a branch of Mohun, of Dunster. Visit. Devon, 1620). Gu. a griffin segreant or. Crest—A griffin’s tail erased sa. Another Crest—A land tortoise ppr.
6) (co. Dorset). Ar. on a bend cotised aa. three lozenges erm.
7) (Sir John Rivers, Knt., Lord Mayor of London 1573. Visit. London, 1568). Az. on a fess engr. ar. surmounted of another gu. charged with three roses of the second, as many swans sans legs ppr. Crest—Out of a bunch of reeds vert a demi swan, wings expanded ar. ducally gorged or.
8) Az. a fess engr. ar. thereon a fess gu. charged with three roses betw. as many swans of the second naiant in water ppr.
9) Ar. a fess and canton gu.
10) Az. on a fess engr.ar. betw. three swans ppr. as many roses gu.
11) Or, a lion ramp. az.
12) Ar. on a bend gu. three lions ramp. or.
13) Ar. six lions ramp. sa. three, two, and one.
14) Fusily az. and or (another, or and gu.).
15) Lozengy or and gu.
16) Gu. six mascles or, three, two, and one.
17) Ar. a fret of eight sa. an inescutcheon gu.

Origin, Meaning, Family History and Rivers Coat of Arms and Family Crest

Rivers Surname Name Meaning, Origin, History, & Etymology
This is an English last name of Norman-French origin, a habitational surname denoting a person from any of several places in the norther of France named Rivières, from the Old French word rivière, and even further back from the Latin riparia, meaning riverbank or river. One such place is La Riviere in Calvados, Normandy.

One source asserts the De la Rivière, a baronial family from Normandy, where they were Lords of St. Germain de Crioult, near Bayeux, France. It is said they came into England as companions of William the Conqueror during the Norman Invasion of 1086 AD.

A well-known historical figure in the family was Sir John de Rivers of Ongar, Essex, England, who was present at the Battle of Falkirk, Scotland in 1298 AD, and was knighted at the siege of Calais, France in 1299 AD. His coat of arms is blazoned in heraldry as follows:  Masculy, Or and Gules, three, two, one.

Rivers Family Motto
I have identified two mottos associated with the Rivers family:
1) Æquam servare mentem (To preserve an equal mind)*
2) Secus rivos aquarum (By rivers of water)**

*These words are lines from Horace, lib. Ii. Od. 3, in which he recommends equanimity under all circumstances
**Ecclus. xxxix. 17.

Surname Spelling variants
Spelling or names with similar etymologies include Riveres, Ryvers, River, Ryver, de la Riviere, and Rhivers.

Early Bearers of the Rivers Surname
Goscelin de Riveria held lands in Wiltshire in 1083 AD. Gozelinus de Lariuera was recorded in the Geld Rolls of Warwickshire in 1084 AD. Walter de la Riveiere was listed in the Rolls of Rievaux Abbey, Yorkshire, England in 1150.  John de Ryvaris was documented in Essex in 1286 AD. Margaret de Rivers was documented in Essex, England sometime between 1216 and 2017 AD. The Hundred Rolls of 1273 AD, a census of Wales and England, known in Latin as Rotuli Hundredorum lists three bearers of this surname: Richard de Rivers (Devon), Simon de Rivers (Suffolk), and Robert de Riveres (Worcestershire). William de Ripariis of Essex, England had a son named John of Berks, whose son John was Baron of Angre, Essex and was summoned by writ as a baron 1299 AD. The Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae records the following bearers between 1180 and 1195 AD in Normandy, France: Sero, Richard, Baldin, and William de Riveriis. In 1304, John de Rivers was granted a market in Buckinghamshire at Worminghall parish.

Popularity & Geographic Distribution
The last name Rivers ranks 879th popularity in the United Status as of the 2000 Census. The name ranks particularly high in the following four states: South Carolina (147th), Vermont (213th), Alabama (445th), and Georgia (561st).

The surname Rivers frequency/commonness ranks as follows in the British Isles: England (1,918th), Scotland (6,702nd), Wales (1,805th), Ireland (10,956th) and Northern Ireland (4,518th).  In England, it ranks highest in counties Wiltshire and Oxfordshire.

The name is also present throughout the remainder English speaking world:  Canada (2,328th), New Zealand (1,576th), Australia (2,619th), and South Africa (21,252nd).

Rivers Family Tree & Rivers Genealogy

Baron Rivers
John Rivers, 1st Baton Rivers, also known as John de Ripariis, was summoned to Parliament in 1299 AD. He died c. 1311 AD. They title passed to his son, John Rivers, 2nd Baron Rivers, who died in 1340, whereupon the title became extinct. John II’s sole heir was his only daughter Katherine. She married twice: William Lekshull (had a son with him named John) and John Hall.

Baronet Rivers
According to George Edward Cocakayn’e 1900 book, Complete Baronetage: “The Rivers, later Rivers-Gay, later Rivers Baronetcy, of Chafford in the County of Kent, was a title in the Baronetage of England. It was created on 19 July 1621 for John Rivers. He was a grandson of Sir John Rivers, Lord Mayor of London between 1573 and 1574. The sixth Baronet assumed the additional surname of Gay in circa 1760. This surname was also used by the seventh Baronet but not by any subsequent Baronets. The title became extinct on the death of the eleventh Baronet in 1870”. Wikipedia provided the following list of the eleven Rivers baronets:
Sir John Rivers, 1st Baronet (c. 1579–c. 1651)
Sir Thomas Rivers, 2nd Baronet (died 1657)
Sir John Rivers, 3rd Baronet (died c. 1679)
Sir George Rivers, 4th Baronet (1665–1734)
Sir John Rivers, 5th Baronet (c. 1718–1743)
Sir Peter Rivers-Gay, 6th Baronet (c. 1721–1790)
Sir Thomas Rivers-Gay, 7th Baronet (c. 1770–1805)
Sir James Rivers, 8th Baronet (1772–1805)
Sir Henry Rivers, 9th Baronet (c. 1779–1851)
Sir James Francis Rivers, 10th Baronet (1822–1869)
Sir Henry Chandos Rivers, 11th Baronet (1834–1870)

From Kent to Bermuda and South Carolina
Sir John Knight of Chafford Rivers, Earl of Kent Rivers, was born on Penhurst, Kent, England in 1510 AD. In 1540, he married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir George Barne II, and had issue with her as follows: Edward, Henry, Elizabeth, Richard, William, Dorothy DeLaRivers, George, John, and Alice. Wikitree.com states the following about him: “He was a grocer and member of the Worshipful Company of Grocers, Sheriff of London in 1566, and Lord Mayor of London in 1573. He was knighted in 1574 and served as President of St. Thomas’ Hospital between 1580 and 1584. He also served as Alderman for the London wards of Farringdon between 1565-1568, Broad Street between 1568-1574, and Walbrook between 1574-1584”. His son, Sir George “Knight” Rivers was born in Chafford Place, Kent, England in 1554. He married a woman named Blanche and had a son with her named John. This son, Sir John Rivers, was born in the same town in 1579 AD. He married Dorothy Potter and had issue with her as follows: Pottery, James, Sir John, George, Nisell, and Thomas. His son, Sir John Rivers, was born in Chafford Place, Kent, England in 1604. In 1636, he married Ann Newman of Bermuda, and had a son with her named Robert. Sir John eventually came to colonial America and died in the Carolinas. His son, Captain Robert Rivers I was born in St. Anne’s Church, Bermuda in 1647.  In 1676, he married a woman named Rebecca Anne and had two sons with her as follows: Robert and George Sr. His two sons are discussed as follows:
1) Robert Rivers was born in Bermuda in 1677. He married Kezia Mallory and had a daughter named Mallory Rivers.
2) George Rivers Sr. was born in Bermuda in 1678. He died in James Island, British America c. 1749 AD. He had two sons: Thomas and George. Joseph was born in James Island, Charleston, South Carolina in 1752. He married Anne and had issue with her as follows: Francis, John, Sarah Samway, Thomas, Martha, Mary Allison, and Joseph.
A) Thomas was born in 1706. He married Mary Holman and had a son with her named Joseph.
B) George Rivers was born prior to 1730 on James Island. He married Mary Strohacker and had issue with her as follows: John, George Michael, David, Mary, Jacob, and Mary Polly. His son David Rivers was born in Pondtown, South Carolina in 1764. He married Philadelphia Mixson and had issue as follows: George, Jacob, Rebecca, John Michael, Mary Rebecca, Amy, Reuben Jordan, David Gray, Jane, Danny, Abraham Isaac Jacob, and Nancy.

Marriages of Riverss
1) Joane Rivers married Thomas Jackson in Cottenham, Cambridge, England in 1582 AD
2) William Rivers married Elizabeth Cobham in Saint Katherine by the Tower, London, England in 1613
3) Richard Rivers, age 24, married Susan Turtle in Stepney, Middlesex, England in 1655
4) Robert Rivers married Jone Hunt in Cottenham, Cambridge, England in 1599
5) John Rivers married Margaret Franklin in Broad Hinton, Wiltshire, England in 1616
6) Charles Rivers married Mary Hughes in Clones, Monaghan, Ireland in 1821
7) John Rivers married Sarah Daley in Terrioleague, Cork, Ireland in 1866
8) William Rivers married Elizabeth Pool in North Carolina in 1788
9) William Rivers married Charlotte Smith in Red River, Texas in 1871
10) Charles Rivers married Fannie Junge in Nacogoches, Texas in 1885
11) John Rivers married Mary Goldie in High Church, Paisley, Renfrew, Scotland in 1856
12) George Rivers married George Ann Elam in Gadsden, Florida in 1873

Early American and New World Settlers
Some of the earliest settlers in colonial America bearing this name include:
1) Joan Rivers came to Virginia in 1653
2) Christopher Rivers, along with wife Izabell and relatives Mary and Edward, came to Maryland in 1661
3) Christopher Rivers came to Virginia in 1663
4) Ann Rivers came to Virginia in 1663
5) William Rivers came to Virginia in 1663
6) Mary Rivers came to Virginia in 1663
7) William Rivers came to Virginia in 1663
8) Rich Rivers came to Virginia in 1664
9) Rowland Rivers came to Virginia in 1664
10) John Rivers came to Virginia in 1667
11) Mathew Rivers came to Virginia in 1667
12) George Rivers came to Virginia in 1668
13) John Rivers came to Virginia in 1669
14) John Rivers came to South Carolina between 1670-1700
15) Moses Rivers came to South Carolina between 1670-1700
16) Thomas Rivers came to South Carolina between 1670-1700
17) Roger Rivers came to Maryland in 1680
18) Elizabeth Rivers came to South Carolina in 1681
19) William Rivers came to South Carolina in 1681

Several thousand members of the Rivers family came to the United States through Ellis Island, during the nineteenth century, including:
1) Mary Rivers came from Ireland aboard the Algeria in 1871
2) Mary Ann Rivers came aboard the Wellington in 1838
3) Ygnacio came from Mexico City aboard the Morro Castle in 1911
4) Florence Rivers came from Liverpool, England aboard the Celtic in 1906
5) Florence D. Rivers came from London, England aboard the Minnehana in 1905
6) Victor George Rivers came from Newcastle on Tyne aboard the Oceanic in 1906
7) Jose Rivers came from Havana, Cuba aboard the Morro Castle in 1913
8) Isabella Rivers came from Belfast, Ireland aboard the Furnessia in 1907
9) Jacob Rivers came from England aboard the Egypt in 1886
10) Maud D. Rivers came from England aboard the Servia in 1886
11) Franc Rivers came from Kosowo, Russia aboard the Hamburg in 1914
12) William John Rivers came from Birmingham, England aboard the Campania in 1913

Some of the earliest settlers in Canada bearing this name include:
1) Mr. Rivers came to Quebec in 1814
2) Mr. Rivers came in 1834

Some of the earliest settlers in Australia bearing this name include:
1) William Rivers
1) Thomas Rivers, age 21, came to Victoria in 1852
2) James Rivers, age 16, came to Victoria in 1852
3) William Rivers, age 35, came to Victoria in 1853
4) James Rivers came to Syndey, New South Wales aboard the Policeman in 1862
5) John Rivers came to Syndey, New South Wales aboard the Lord Raglan in 1859
6) Charles Rivers came to Syndey, New South Wales aboard the Oak Hill in 1860

Some of the earliest settlers in New Zealand bearing this name include:
1) William and Ellen Rivers came to the city of Wellington aboard the Alma in 1857
2) James Rivers, age 18, a farm laborer by trade, came from Wiltshire, England to the city of Auckland aboard the Alumbagh in 1875
3) George Rivers came to Lyttelton, New Zealandaboard the Perthshire in 1895

Grantees of Arms
1) Rivers, of Chafford, Kent, England, 1583, arms: azure, two bars dancettee or, in chief three bezants
2) Elizabeth Rivers, Countess, arms and supporters 9 November 1680
3) Sir John Ryvers, Knight, Alderman, confirmed and crest granted 2 May 1581 by Cooke
4) Baron Rivers, 20 May 177, George, Pitt, supporters, with the consent of his brother
5) ? George (Pitt) 2nd, Baron, 1792
6) Reverend Sir Henry Rives, 9th Baron
7) Rivers, Dean-Pitt, of county Gloucester and Hampshire, 1818
8) Rivers, 3rd Batron, assumed the surname of Pitt-Rivers, 26 November 1828, of county Dorset, late Beckford (of county Dorset), of co. Gloucester and Hampshire, 1828

Notables
There are hundreds of notable people with the Rivers surname. This page will mention a handful. Famous people with this last name include:
1) Francine Sandra Rivers (1947) was an American author of fiction with Christmas, romance, and born-again Christian themes, best known for her novels Redeeming Love and The Last Sin Eater
2) Sir John Rivers (1584) was a businessman who became Lord Mayor of London and served from 1573-1574, having previously been Sheriff of London from 1565 to 1566
3) William Halse Rivers Rivers (1864-1922) was an English neurologist, anthropologist, psychiatrist, and ethnologist who is known for treating World War I officers who were afflected with shell shock, born in Chatham, Kent
4) Philip Michael Rivers (1981), nicknamed Marmalard, is an American professional football player from Decatur Alabama who played quarterback in the NFL between 2004-2018 for the San Diego and Los Angeles Chargers, having made the Pro Bowl 7 times
5) Thomas Rivers (1819-1863) was a member of the US House of Representatives from Tennessee from 1855-1857, having also served as a ranking brigadier general in the state militia
6) Ralph Julian Rivers (1903-1976) was born in Seattle, Washington, who became a gold miner and then lawyer, eventually serving as Attorney General of Alaska from 1945-1949, Mayor of Fairbanks from 1952-1954, and held several other political positions
7) Lynn Nancy Rivers (1956) served as a member of the US House of Representatives for Michigan from 1995-2003, born in Au Gres, Michigan.
8) Samuel Rovers Rivers is the bassist and back up vocalist for Limp Bizkit, an American band he was one of the founding members of, born in Jacksonville, Florida
9) David Lee Rivers (1965) was a professional basketball player who plated in the NBA from 1888-1992 for the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers, born in Jersey City New Jersey
10) Joan Rivers (1933-2014), whose real named was Joan Alexandra Molinsky, was an American writer, comedian, actress, and television host from Brooklyn, New York whose career spanned from the 1950s to the 2010sas, best known for her roles on The Joan Rivers Show and Fashion Police

Rivers America Civil War Veterans
There were several soldiers with the last name Rivers who served in the American Civil War, including the following:
1) Edmond Rivers of the 113th Regiment Illinois Infantry (Union)
2) Franklin Rivers of the 50th Regiment Missouri Infantry (Union)
3) Henry Rivers of the 4th Independent Battery Wisconsin Light Artillery (Union)
4) Jonathan Rivers of the 1st Regiment Maryland Cavalry (Union)
5) Eli S. Rivers of the 89th Regiment Indiana Infantry (Union)
6) James M. Rivers of the 1st Regiment Kentucky Cavalry (Union)
7) Louis Rivers of the 34th Regiment Massachusetts Infantry (Union)
8) Lewis J. Rivers of the 6th Regiment Florida Infantry (Confederacy)
9) Euphratis Rivers of the 7th Regiment Alabama Cavalry (Confederacy)
10) William Rivers of the 94th Regiment Virginia Militia (Confederacy)
11) Daniel Rivers of the 7th Regiment South Carolina Cavalry (Confederacy)
12) James W. Rivers of the 10th Regiment Georgia Infantry (Confederacy)
13) James H. Rivers of the 19th Regiment Arkansas Infantry (Confederacy)
14) James Rivers of the 5th Regiment Louisiana Infantry (Confederacy)

Rivers America Revolution Veterans
There were several soldiers with the last name Rivers who served in the Revolutionary War, including the following:
1) Private Philip Rivers of New York
2) Private Benjamin Rivers of North Carolina
3) Private Caleb Rivers of New York
4) Corporal Connecticut Ebenzi Rivers
5) Private John Rivers of Georgia
6) Private Timothy Rivers of Connecticut
7) Private John Rivers of North Carolina
8) Private James Rivers of Connecticut

Rivers Coat of Arms Meaning

See glossary for symbol meaning.

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