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Gorvett Genealogy


Welcome.  I have been trying to gather information on Gorvetts from around the world.  This site is compiled from data contributed by many researchers. This is an attempt to make all of it accessible to any one searching for Gorvett family information. There is an old family story that the Gorvett name was originally Huguenot French from the  Bretagne area.  They came across the channel selling onions and settled permanently in England.  Who knows!  There are records for Bretagne that contain marriages and baptisms.   The name was sometimes interchanged with Gorvin in some of the Frithelstock and Monkleigh records. At a point in the late 1700s early or 1800s the name became either Gorvett or Gorvin. They then spread out during the mid 1800s.  There are now branches in South Africa, England, Wales, the United States and Canada.  Don't let the spelling of the name distract you. It can be Gorvet, Gorvett, Gorvette, Gorveatt or Gorveatte.

It seems the great exodus from Devon started for our branch out of Buckland Filleigh around 1840.  Most likely, the agricultural laborers were dismissed, left unemployed and went to seek their livings elsewhere.  Most owned no land and left no surviving wills. My direct ancestor James Gorveatt, Sr. arrived on Prince Edward Island in 1840 along with his in-laws, the Horriell family. He started life on the island in Charlottetown as a cobbler, and later turned to farming. Descendants still run a farm in the Nine Mile Creek area.

Recently I came across the following entry in the 1833 Devon Quarter Sessions and Assize Records, Epiphany term.  (as transcribed for Genuki by Brian Brassett)

James Gorvett [age 30]
Committed by John. D.I. Fortescue, esq, and William B. Coham, clerk, charged with having been found in a certain wood and inclosed plantation, in the parish of Buckland Filleigh, between the hours of ten at night and four in the morning, on the 5th of December instant, having a gun, for the purpose and with the intent to take and kill pheasants, and did kill two cock pheasants, and one hen pheasant, the property of John Inglett Fortescue, esq. Warrant dated 8th December, 1832.


This is James Gorvett, born 1803 Buckland Filleigh, immigrant to Prince Edward Island circa 1840. The poaching of fowl from the local manor was a tremendously serious offense.  It usually was a sentence of 3 or more months in the county jail, (Bridewell in this case) and a large fine. There is no record of his incarceration in Bridewell prison, so he likely paid the fines.  Most of James' sisters remained in Devon.  His brother Joseph went to Glamorgan between 1841 and 1851.  Samuel married in Petersmarland but by 1851 was widower living with his brother in Wales.

Other branches of the Gorvetts left for Ontario taking up farming and carpentry. The Bible Christian movement  was quite strong and based in Devon.  Many of these early Ontario immigrants are Devonians and buried in Bible Christian graveyards. One of these families is that of Lewis Gorvett and Margaret Smale.  This is Margaret's story printed in an Ontario newspaper from 1918, when she was about 80 years old.

As a part of my hunting, I have acquired some fiche of parish records for Great Torrington, Petersmarland , Kennerleigh, and Petrockstowe, Devon England.  Most date from 1670s thru early 1800s.  If you would like a name checked in the baptism, burial and/or marriage records, email me!  I have indexed them and will be more than glad to do a search.

Birth, Marriage & Death Information  Census Information Family Trees  Table of Contents  Parish Register Info


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Please contact Betsy Rubel  with any queries or contributions.