|James was the son of Eugene Reginald Livesay and Miriam Ruth (Brown) Livesay and the grandson of James Ambrose Livesay and Mary Jane “Mollie”
His father was an educator in Coeburn, VA. The family moved to Jackson, MS, in 1926, where Jim attended public schools.
Jim graduated from Millsap’s College with a BA in 1941 He enlisted in the Navy, following Midshipman School, at Columbia University,
he received his Navy commission, and served as an Officer in California during WWII.
~ History of the Livesay Historical Society ~
While in the Navy James encountered other Livesay's and developed an interest in his family history.
James acquired a lengthy list of Livesay names and addresses and sent them postcards.
Following responses a meeting was held in Roanoke, (Cloverdale) VA, where the Livesay Family Association began,
later the name was changed to the Livesay Historical Society.
James had been a guiding light and inspiration to the friendship, research, and organization of our Society. He had led the extended family in research,
recording presentation, and publication of our family history. His example of discovery and his encouragement of others have given the strength, depth
and breadth of the LHS
Below are the closing thoughts from a presentation by James J. Livesay Aug. 1980, delivered at the Annual LHS meeting.
“…a strongly-held conviction, I have about the idea of family.”
Deep within us all, in spite of our sophistication and our pose of self-sufficiency in our technological and materialistic society, is the longing to go
home—the belief that life does not’t have to be lonely and dehumanizing. Deep within us, is the feeling that God has given us the family for our own
wholeness. If the Livesay Historical Society can point the way—at all levels of family—to both the immediate and the extended families as a place
where we can be accepted for what we now are and be given the encouragement to become better than we are now—where we can be forgiven after our
failures—where we can begin again—where we can find courage after our world falls apart—where love never ends, then our raison d’etre (our reason
for being) will indeed be affirmed.…if we can achieve this, then with the grace of the loving God, the family he brought forth in this new land, .. Can be
an example to others.. To the nation, and the family of man of the conditions that make for peace. If we can in part, make this kind of contribution to
society, then we will, in the spirit of Him who was the servant of all, indeed be a chosen people.” pub. Livesay Bulletin Vol. XXIII No. 2, Feb, 1981.
The Livesay Historical Society has come a long way since its formation in June 1957 at the Travel town Motel near Roanoke, Virginia. Twenty-two
adults and eight children were present. They had come together at the invitation of James and Mary Lee Livesay, of Jackson, Mississippi. In 1957
family research was not the popular hobby that it is today, so not everyone understood the reasons people from so many distant states would gather to
meet others whom they knew slightly or not at all. The only thing they shared was an interest in the Livesay family. The quote from Jim Livesay's
paper published in 1980:
" The Beginning of the Livesay Historical Society"
|~ Historian ~
|James Jefferson Livesay
|~ Livesay Historical Society ~
|~ Founder of Livesay Family Association 1957 ~
|B. March 31, 1920, Coeburn, Wise Co, VA
D. November 9, 2001, Ridgeland, MS, Age 81
|First Meeting, was in Cloverdale, VA, 1957
Every moment was filled with the feeling that we were part of something exciting, something deeply significant,
and something that reached back into the deep past and would extend into the unknown future… "Something historical,"
There were many talented, dedicated people among those first members who gladly gave their time and talents to work for the growth of this new
organization, the Livesay Family Association. They elected officers and agreed that they would meet again the following year. Their main goal was to
collect and share information about the early history of the Livesay family. To make this possible it was also necessary to reach out and draw more
and more people into the excitement of researching the family.
For the first few years the annual meeting alternated between Tennessee and Virginia because there was a larger concentration of the Livesay name in
those states but people attended from many distant states, including California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina,
Texas, Virginia, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.
Gradually the meeting was expanded to include three days and was held in other states. Locations in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia
were chosen because they were connected in some way to the various branches of the family. The meeting is usually held in July and is attended by an
average of 130 people. It is welcomed as a time for fellowship, the serious exchange of Livesay data and the renewal of our support for the goals of the
Society. It is also an opportunity for new members to compare notes, meet other Livesay descendants and find their particular Livesay family line.
The members of the Society spread the news about their research by mailing out a newsletter and the officers and members wrote many personal letters
to new contacts. As the membership grew, it was necessary to increase the newsletter's contents and it became a quarterly publication. Dues increases
were necessary to support this important part of the Society. The mailing list grew from 50 to 150, then to 600 households receiving, the Livesay
Bulletin had finally leveled off to our current number of 660 members. The number of pages in the bulletin has also increased. It now contains pictures,
genealogical records, research reports on various family lines. And information about the current activities of the Society. The Livesay Bulletin is sent
to 43 states in the United States as well as other countries including Canada, England', Wales, New Zealand, Australia, Spain and Africa. It is also
sent to 17 libraries free of charge for their genealogical collections.
As more and more research material was sent to the LHS Historian, it became apparent that although there were many different spellings of the family
name in the USA, all connected to the family in the Lancashire area of England. The Society is interested in researching all these families with the
various spellings. Livesay, Livesey, Livasy, Livacy, Lifsey, Livezey and Levascy are just a few spellings that have been documented.
|In 1970 the first book of Livesay research was published.
Livesays in the United States:
The Joseph Line 150
By Ann Livesay Harrison and Arkie Livesay Longmire.
Since that time the Society has published seven books including a variety of research information such as census records,lineage charts and histories of
various branches of the family.
Many people have contributed family records, genealogical charts and research papers to the Livesay Historical Society; files which are were
contained in 14 file drawers and numerous boxes and books. These files are now at the Allen County Library, so they can be used to help members with
In 1995, following a 2 year search, officers and members accepted the offer of the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana to house copies
of the LHS research records and files. They would bind the loose papers into books and make them available to researchers. The Library has the second
largest genealogical collection in the United States and it was felt they understood the underlying goals and aims of the Society. It was an honor that
they accepted and appreciated the value of the LHS collection to future researchers. The Society met in Fort Wayne in 1994 and 1998 so members could
visit the Library.
Allen County Public Library 900 Library Plaza, Fort Wayne, IN 46802 http://www.genealogycenter.org/Home.aspx
The process of organizing and copying these records has taken over 4 years and was made possible by a generous donation by Lacy and Rita Livesay,
of Lakeland, Florida, to cover the cost of the project. Lacy was one of the founding members of the Society. All files and records have been copied and
forwarded to the library but the work continues. As new charts and research records are received from members, they are copied before they are placed
into the LHS files. The copies are sent to Allen County Public Library. In this way both the LHS files and the collection at the Library are kept
The Livesay research files now cover 17 documented immigrant lines and others whose immigrant ancestor has not been established. The files also
contain a great deal of material on the Livesay/sey family in England and some of the connecting families such as Marsden, Heskins, Whalley and
Cunliffe. We urge new members to share their family charts and history with us.
It is through the generosity of LHS members that the Society has been able to collect so much research data and to expand the areas of LHS research.
One area where this is evident is the research of the family in England. Members who went to England on their own, established friendships and
through their letters and phone calls kept the avenues of knowledge open and working. They then shared this new information and the names of their
new contacts with the Society. This finally led to four successful
Livesay Heritage Tours to England and the Lancashire area in 1989, 1992, 1998 and 2000 where the roots of the Livesay family have been recorded for
generations. In 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008 Johanna and Annette Livesay had gone to England and met with Pat and Bob Humphreys, at the
Dunkenhalgh Manor/Hotel in Accrington. They had lunch and dinner (or tea) with a small group of our Liveseys cousins either in the Portrait room,
lounge or dining hall. On Sunday they had a Family Reunion at the Dunkenhalgh Manor / Hotel were over 100 of our England Livesey cousins had
joined us. They visited Livesay sites and gained a new and more profound knowledge of the family history. During these tours several English LHS
members welcomed the group into their homes, for tea and biscuits.
One of the first projects undertaken by the Society was the establishment of the Livesay Scrapbooks as a method of recording the progress of the
Society and its members. It started with one scrapbook in which the scrapbook editor placed pictures and news items sent to him during the year
between meetings. This collection has now grown to include 22 scrapbooks. These books are brought to every meeting to be viewed by the people
attending and they contain a visual history of the early LHS meetings and the people who have worked so diligently for the advancement of the
As the Society grew in numbers and the scope of their research increased, many changes were necessary. The officers, board members and members
worked to keep the Society growing in the right direction, never losing sight of the original goals of the organizing members.
The Livesay Family Association became the Livesay Historical Society and was incorporated in the state of Tennessee. Several new officers were added
to the executive board to help with the additional work of the Society. Committees were appointed to take on special projects. LHS members always
responded to requests for help in every area and so many worked behind the scenes without taking any personal credit.
The family crest of Sir Michael Livesey of Kent, England has been used informally as a logo on meeting programs and other printed material but we
have not claimed any direct connection to this branch of the Livesay family. It is probable that this family connects with other documented family
lines in England many generations back in time. Recently a newly designed pin has been introduced to the Society, which contains the LHS name and
the date of our first meeting.
Computers have added a new dimension to the preservation of the LHS files and this project has been ongoing for a number of years. The latest use of
this new technology is through the scanning of the pictures from the files. These were then shown on a large screen at the 1999 meeting and are also
available for viewing on the Livesay Web Page. This is another ongoing project and will grow as new members send in pictures of their Livesay
ancestors. The Livesay Web Page was established as a means of contacting more people and making them aware of the work of the society. On the web
page we list information about both past and present LHS meetings and list current LHS projects.
The growth in members and in the scope of the Livesay research, could not have been accomplished without the devotion,
generosity and active participation of so many Livesay descendants, their spouses and friends.