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Our 2,765 members have registered
2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

The SIVERS one-name study grew from research into my family history carried out in the 1990s. My ancestors were Londoners, boatmen on the Grand Union Canal and River Thames watermen. Being aware that the name featured most strongly in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire records dating from the C16, I decided to extend the study to include SIVERS and SIVER references everywhere. It soon became apparent that the names were frequently written down phonetically and, as a result, I have also collected many records for SEVERS,SEVER.SEAVERS,SEAVER,SIVIER,SIVYER,SHIVERS,SCIVERS and LIVERS!

Variant names

The registered names for this study are SIVERS and SIVER. As detailed above, names which could be construed as variants were frequently the result of regional accents or mis-transcriptions. In all counties various records for the same person can appear under several spellings right up to the end of the C19.

Name origin

It is difficult to give an exact origin for SIVERS. The nearest one can get for SEVERS/SEAVERS is the Old English 'Sæfaru' meaning sea-passage. The SIVIER name (sieve-maker) derives from the Old English for a sieve, 'sife' .

Name frequency


Distribution of the name

From the earliest records onwards the SIVERS name was found mainly on the Eastern side of the country from Northamptonshire, Rutland , Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire up to Yorkshire and County Durham.

In the C18 there were watermen SIVERS along the banks of the Thames in Middlesex and London, and in the C19 a branch of the Sussex SIVIER family gradually changed its name to SIVERS. Over the centuries the number of SIVERS in England has diminished.

On the 1881 census there were 88 SIVERS and 11 SIVER entries in England, Scotland and Wales. The largest number were found in Middlesex (27) followed by Northamptonshire (19) and County Durham and Yorkshire (11 each).

In 1901 these numbers have fallen to 59 SIVERS and 4 SIVER entries. This cannot be taken as an accurate figure, as I found several known SIVERS/SIVER have been mistranscribed.


All Births, Marriages and Deaths from the 1837-2004 civil registration indexes have been collected. I also have a large collection of Parish Register data from the 1500s onwards.

Census entries are being collected from 1841,51 and 61. The SIVERS/SIVER entries from the 1871,81,91 and 1901 census are complete.

I have collected many wills and also have a large probate index, apprentice, directory and service records.

Overseas records are also being collected.