Loving/Loveing/Louvering Family History

Thomas Loving/Loveinge was born in 1610, in London, England, to Sir Nathaniel Louvering and Elizabeth Anne Louvering (born Stanton).
Nathaniel was born in 1578 in Westminster, London, England. Elizabeth Stanton was born in 1582, in Westminster, London, England. They married on 15 September 1604 in Westminster, London, Middlesex, England. (1) Nathaniel and Ann Lovering had two sons:
Thomas, born 1610, and John, born 1625.
Thomas married Elizabeth Ann (Beverly) Kingston, widow of Sir Thomas Kingston, in 1639 in Jamestown, James City County, Virginia. Elizabeth was born in 1614, in England. THOMAS passed away at age 55, in 1665, at Jamestown, James City County, Virginia.

Thomas Loving was Surveyor General of Virginia, High Sherriff of James City County, and Burgess for Martin’s Hundred Parish in 1644.

From Virginia Land Records


by Carl and May Read
The year was 1635 when Thomas Loving (Loveing) came from England to Virginia in a party of sixty emigrants sponsored by George Mynifee, Esquire. Mynifee was wealthy and gifted with keen business acumen. He paid to bring these sixty souls to America, not out of a sense of benevolence, but in order to collect the headrights, 50 acres for each man or woman he brought to Virginia colony. This one boatload guaranteed him a patent for 3,000 acres of prime Virginia real estate.

Thomas Loving, an apt pupil, lost no time in emulating his benefactor. The scant records about him tend to prove that he was not a wealthy man, for he had someone else pay his passage to America. Within weeks of his arrival, however, he married the widow of a former Burgess, Thomas Kingston, and it is likely that he used her wealth to bring other British subjects to Virginia. Record of his land patents and those of George Mynifee are seen in Nugent’s fine series, CAVALIERS AND PIONEERS. Thomas did not operate on the scale of George Mynifee, but he garnered several choice grants of good farm and timberland. It is clear that he commanded the respect and trust of the leading settlers in James City County, for he was soon elected to the House of Burgesses for his county and he was also appointed by the College of William and Mary to serve as Surveyor General for Virginia. At a later date he was elected High Sheriff for his county. To hold these positions, he had to have been educated and intelligent. Some may have regarded him as an opportunist, but nothing has come to light to disgrace his character. Every man of means who came to America in those early years was open to opportunity.

Little else is known about Thomas Loving, except that he was an importer and a merchant. One child was named in his will as sole heir — Anne Loving. Thomas died in 1655, just twenty years after his arrival, and his wife seems to have died before him. The hiatus of 50 years between the death of Thomas and the birth of John Loving in 1705 has been filled by all manner of conjecture and legend. Genealogists dislike these ruptures in the family line and they have tried to fill this gap with “probable” descendants of Thomas who could connect him and John. No proof stands up, however, for these fanciful histories. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that Thomas had sons who followed him to America, but no one has found evidence of this. Our disclaimer is not likely to put a stop to these legends, however, for legends have a charm that truth can seldom touch.

A persistent legend about the Loving surname keeps cropping up in our mail time after time: the Loving family came from the ancient university town of Louvaine, near Brussels. Not so, according to our research. The truth that fans the flames of legend is this — some men named De Louvaine accompanied William the Conqueror into England in 1066. They were cousins of his and he rewarded them with generous gifts of land and wealth for their courage and loyalty. They prospered for generations, but eventually the family of De Louvaine was enticed into making a pact with the Percy family, which lacked male heirs and was about to expire. The deal was concluded on these terms: the men would drop the surname De Louvaine in wedding the eligible Percy females and they would become rightful heirs to all the Percy lands and wealth, but they would retain their original coat of arms. Some of these men went on to become Lords of Northumberland. This may be verified in Burke’s PEERAGE and in histories of the Percy family.

The truth about the Loving surname, as near as can be determined, is that it stems from an Anglo-Saxon name, Leof, once popular for men. It meant “beloved” and when it was adopted as a surname in the tenth or eleventh century it was spelled Leofing, meaning “son of Leof” in the same way that later patronymics like Johnson is “son of John” or O’Donnell signifies a son of Donnell.

Onomatology, the study of surname origins, is not an exact science, therefore no single answer is possible in describing the origin of any surname. All language evolves and changes from one community to another over the generations. A name is, after all, only a word. Names and words are shaped by the spoken language, for speech came long before the written and printed word. The American variants of the name Loving — Lovern, Lovorn and Lovvorn, are attempts to represent in writing the way the name was pronounced in Scotch-Irish communities two hundred years ago. Anyone who has spent a few days in Ireland will recognize that if he has a keen ear.

No coat of arms exists for the Loving surname, Americans are prone to assume that every family has a coat of arms in its heritage, but this is not so. Arms
were granted to knights and were displayed on their shields as a means of identification in the days when almost all the populace were illiterate,
including the nobility. The family that had always been farmers had no need of a coat of arms any more than a family in the trade of boot-making or basket-weaving. Arms later became a symbol of royal favor to persons of “quality” who had performed some outstanding service to the kingdom, but there has never been a time when every family had a right to a coat of arms. The research into the Loving lineage in hope of finding a coat of arms was not our doing, however, but the work of a professional heraldist and genealogist named R. P. Graham-Vivian, of London. He had been hired by the Rev. Dewey Campbell Loving of Chatham, Virginia, to look into the matter. Graham-Vivian’s reply in August 1961 said that he had examined the registers of the College of Arms and found no trace of arms for the Loving surname. He added that the tracing of a family line for more than a few generations was extremely difficult because — “in early times it was rare to find a man or woman who could read or write.” The problem of illiteracy is one few American genealogists understand clearly even today, for it was a universal problem in the first two hundred years of American history and it exists even in the twentieth century to some degree.

Lesser legends in the Loving family are these: (1) that the Lovings were Huguenots; (2) the Lovings were Scotch-Irish; (3) the Lovings came from Wales.
In more than two years of searching records of England, France and Colonial America, no evidence has been found to substantiate any of these legends. Many Huguenot records are published in book form and these have been searched with care, but no Loving families were found except an occasional instance when a Loving male may have married a Huguenot girl. Legends are built on slender clues like this and the Scotch-Irish legend seems to have grown out of similar circumstances. The Loving pioneers often settled in predominantly Scotch-Irish communities. As for Welsh origins, the legend may have developed because a few branches of the family added an “s” to the name, in Welsh fashion – Lovings, Lovins, Lovens. Welsh records show no such names in Wales, so these are purely American aberrations.

One clear fact emerges from all our study: the Loving family has its scalawags like any other family, but it also has a vast number of decent, hard-working, honest, loving and caring, patriotic men and women from every profession and trade. No matter how you choose to spell your name, you can be proud to be a part of THE LOVING FAMILY IN AMERICA. – Carl & May Read

Thomas Loveing/Loving is Jamestowne Society Qualified Ancestor #A5003.

(1) England Marriages, 1538-1973. https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V52W-CXH?from=lynx1UIV8&treeref=L41Y-62M