The names PIPE and PIPES

I would like to encourage anyone who has doubts about the connections between Benjamin Pipe and Susan Last and our John Pipes Sr. (ca 1710 - 1804) to please read this entire document.

i re-structered this document in February 2013 so that it is much easier to read. It is now arranged in chronological order with newest entries on this subject at the bottom.

Is John Pipes Sr. (Ca 1710 - 1804) related in any way to the Pipe Family in America?
It was my pleasure to hear from a Pipes cousin in England this year. His name is David Pipes and he has a great interest in the Pipes family history. I thought everyone should know of the discussion we had related to some very dubious research being placed on the internet by people who may or may not have good intentions. All of you should know about this.
My first Email from David:  07/15/2008
Dear Bob,
I am currently researching my family history here in England and recently came across your most interesting website.
Whilst I appreciate the main purpose of your site I would be grateful if you would find time to answer a query unrelated to your main goals. I note that the earliest known Pipes in America was John Pipes Snr born about 1710 and that there are connections back to England. I would be interested to know whether you or any of your contributors have been able to establish with reasonable accuracy the parentage of John Pipes Snr in England.
On the Family Search website (IGI) Catherine Preston has submitted a Pedigree Chart which shows John's parents as Benjamin Pipe of Suffolk, England and Susan Last. The two forms of surname are separate and are noted as such in the early Church Parish Registers in England so it seems doubtful that John would add an "s" to his surname. The family line back as Pipe seems doubtful.
Congratulations on your extensive and informative website.
Best wishes,
David Pipes


My Response to David:  07/15/2008
Dear David,
It is very nice to hear from you and a great surprise. I always get excited when hearing from anyone named Pipes in Britain. To answer your question, No, I have never been able to connect John Pipes Sr. to England or to any set of parents here in the US. either. He just magically appears here in Massachusetts in 1735 to marry Susannah Hathaway and that marriage is the current defining point in the Pipes narrative in the US. He must have been born about 1710 but 'where' is the key question.
I have made several attempts to convince someone in England to do some research on the subject but no luck so far. Family and daily life prevent that from happening, but I keep hoping. I have had several people ask me about hiring a professional researcher in England to do the work, but outside of the cost, I am not sure I trust someone to do the work. Research in England is difficult unless you know what you are doing and there seems to be a lot of "researchers" out there who want the money and then produce results that may not be accurate.
The Pipes name seems to be centered in two or three areas of England going back into the 17th and 18th centuries. And that seems to be a sticking point with me, I am not sure where to start any research without knowing what parishes to look in.
I have heard over the years from Alan Pipes, two Christopher Pipes, Fred Pipes, and Sheila Extance, all from England and all interested to some extent in the Pipes family history. You can see some of their entries in the Pipes Genforum on the web. Also, a lady named Regina Grider Pipes who lives here but is a descendant of a Pipes who immigrated here in the late 1800s. Sheila and Regina are still active, but I have very old email addresses for the others.
The name Catherine Preston sounds familiar to me but I do not have record of her in my files. I will check out her entry on the IGI site. I agree with you that while there are several variations of the Pipes name spelling in England over the years, a descent from Pipe to Pipes is unlikely. I have a large file on my site which you must have seen that details the name Pipe in England. I will look and see if Ben and Susan Pipe are in there.
I have no idea how she could make that connection but I will check it out. Sometimes people make connections and put them on the web and have little or no proof to back it up, only a desire to have it so.
I do look forward to hearing from you again and thanks for the information.  



David's Response: 07/15/2008
Dear Bob,
Thank you for responding so quickly to my enquiry and for the further information.
Without knowing when John Snr or his ancestors first arrived in America (from passenger lists) then it is a formidable task to try and trace his ancestors in England. As you say there are several established Pipes families in England centred around Derby in Derbyshire, Burton on Trent in Staffordshire and also in the Suffolk area. I think that you would be wasting your money if you employed a professional genealogist in England to do some research - they charge by the hour and would have to trawl through numerous parish records at least in those three counties. For my own research I am looking into the early records for Derby and Staffordshire and if I found anything of interest I will of course let you know.
I have recently been in contact with Alan (Fred) Pipes who is in fact a distant cousin of mine. We share the same Gt Gt Grandfather, Samuel Pipes 1822-1879.
I am very skeptical of some of the pedigrees listed in IGI - I came across one for my wife's ancestors which did not look right - the contributor had managed to miss out one generation which put the whole line in doubt.
Keep up your excellent work on your website.


My Incredulous Response: 07/16/2008
Dear David,
I did some checking on the family search web site (LDS Church) on the Benjamin Pipe - Susan Last connection. It appears to me that Benjamin and Susan had a son named John about 1713 but his name was PIPE and he married a woman named French. It is in several family histories there.
Then someone decided that John Pipe is really John Pipes and just added him to their ancestry! My jaw just dropped. I cannot believe that someone would do that. The records are sitting there right beside each other and its so obvious!
And now several others have decided to pick it up and use it as well and now its published all over. Not sure who did it first, but it doesn't really matter now.
Very Discouraging.


David's Response: 07/17/2008
Dear Bob,
Thanks for checking out this discrepancy which confirms my suspicions on the accuracy of the various family pedigrees submitted by contributors.
I also looked at the Ancestry website - there are numerous family trees which include John Snr and his wife Susanna Hathaway and show John's parents variously as Benjamin Pipe (and Benjamin Pipes) and mother Susan Last. The error seems to have been adopted by various family researchers. It is discouraging and annoying.
I looked at the Pipes GenForum and noticed that David Pipes in response to a query about John Pipes Snr stated that William Pipes emigrated to America in 1674 and could be a relation to John Snr. I have asked David to let me have the source of his information but I have not yet received a response.
I have found out that the Public Record Office here in Kew, England does have some documents relating to passenger lists for emigrants from England to America round about the 1670's and earlier. As I am now semi-retired I propose to do some research at Kew in the near future to see whether there are any records of Pipes families emigrating to America. I will let you know the outcome. It will be interesting to see whether the ancestors of John Snr in England can be identified.


My Response to David: 07/17/2008
Hi David,
I am semi retired as well and find that I still don't have time to do all the things I want to get done!
Your comment about William Pipes reminded me that there was a man named William Pipes who immigrated to Nova Scotia, Canada in 1774 (1674 may have been a typo). William had with him sons William and Jonathan Pipes. On my web site is a genealogy file of William and his descendants in Canada. It was put together by a Scott Miller who gave me permission to add it to my site. Here is a quote from that file:


"In 1774 William Pipes, age 49, immigrated from England to Fort Cumberland, Nova Scotia, Canada with his sons William, age 22 and Jonathan, age 20. They crossed in the Ship Albion, leaving England form the port of Hull on March 7th, 1774. The stated reason for their leaving was the advancement of their Rents"
I had often wondered if this William Pipes was related to the US Pipes' but have never found any connection here. Some of his Canadian descendants eventually migrated south into northeastern US states. I get emails from them from time to time and about 4 months ago told a lady from the west coast she was from the Canadian family and she was amazed.
On my web site is also a chronological file that I put together.    It notes the earliest mention of a Pipes in America is a David Pipes who came here in 1665. He made a record in early Maryland records when he signed over the rights to land to the captain of the ship who transported him. (I understand that immigrants would be offered land to come here and then would sign it away, or parts of it, to pay for their transport here.) This David then disappears and there is no further record of him in the USA.
There are a couple of other records of fleeting mentions of Pipes here and then nothing until 1735 when John Senior marries Susannah Hathaway. From reading the Hathaway family history books, there is the implication that her father, Abraham, may have been involved in seafaring in some way (he was known as Captain). But then he moves inland to Morristown, New Jersey for the rest of his life in 1736. I have tried to connect John Pipes to the Hathaways thru the seafaring connection, thinking John Sr. may have been on a ship owned by Abraham or at least worked for him and then married his daughter. The Hathaways were well off here and well established in Massachusetts. Its hard to imagine they would let some unknown guy marry their daughter. All that implies that John Pipes Sr may have come here from somewhere else, as opposed to having been born and raised here. The above fanciful thoughts are fueled by this article found in 1746 in Philadelphia:


"William Plumstead offers reward for jailing of four men who ran away from the ship "Westmoreland". One of the men was John Pipe. I assume this occurred in Philadelphia, Pa. John Jr. would have been 7yrs. old, so this was probably John Sr. [The name is given as "John Pipe"]

From a book entitled "Abstracts of items from Ben Franklin's 'Pennsylvania Gazette' year 1746" pg. 546

But as we know, the name "Pipe" was not unknown at the time, so this may or may not be our John Pipes Sr.
Keep all this in mind as you dig thru England and let me know if you happen across anything exciting!


David's Response: 07/17/2008
Dear Bob,
Thank you for your further comments and the detailed information you have provided.
This is certainly an intriguing and interesting conundrum (to be hopefully solved ?)
I will let you know how I progress with my researches at Kew.


Alan ( Fred) Pipes, of England added this note on the subject on 09/29/08

NOTE: Visit his web site at

Hi Bob

I've just been reading your correspondence with David. My understanding of the origin of the name is that an 's' on the end of a name can mean 'son of', like a shorthand for, say, Robinson, son of Robin. Pipes could well have derived from Pipe in the distant past!

BTW thanks to Jane Greenaway, I've added another generation to my tree:


14 May Samuel Pipes (waterman/coal dealer) marries Sarah Cook, Gainsborough, Lincs. Witnesses Samuel Cook and Wm Sutter(?) [JG] ...taking me to Lincolnshire! I haven't found a birth date for him yet!

I spent some days in Derby last year looking up the haunts of Samuel Pipes (b 1822) and generally getting the feel of the place! Seems most Pipes still live around Derbyshire and points east! I also found a Hull connection...


Alan (Fred) Pipes FRSA

if I'm away, try:


NUJ member since 1975


More Proof of the Pipe family in England.

March 14, 2010. Please take a look at these screen captures taken from the LDS church site

They show the data on Benjamin Pipe, Susan Last and their son John Pipe, born in England, married in England to Mary French and having a son also named John, All  in England. You can go there and see them for yourself. 

 Shot1     Shot2    Shot3     Shot4

You can also see a family tree on here that shows all of the children of John Pipe and Mary French


March 14, 2010 I received the following email from a Hiram Pipes descendant:

From: Kathy Stewart

Sent: Sunday, March 14, 2010 9:38 AM


 Subject: Is there any merit to this family tree?

I'm from the Hiram Pipes branch and I stumbled upon this site while researching the Susannah Pipes/Samuel Carter line. They actually give an ancestor for John Pipes Sr as a Benjamin Pipe with ancestors into the 1500's in Suffolk, England. I can't find the sources for that yet, but I'm looking. Here is the site, thought you would be interested!!!

This is my response:

Hi Kathy,

Well its not true as far as the research I have made shows.

Someone put this on the internet a couple of years ago and now other people see it and just assume its true because it there.

When I email people and ask them ( in a polite way) to show me their proof, they never respond. I found the person who I think first made this connection and she also will not respond.

First let me say that in Genealogy anything is possible and new things are always being found but this is almost shameful. There was a Benjamin PIPE who married a Susan Last and had children. One of those children was named John PIPE and he was born about the same time as our John PIPES.

But here is the amazing part. There is complete documentation that his son John PIPE married a woman whose last name was French. They had children and are well documented. But someone decided it would be nice to have this line as the answer to our PIPES heritage and just added it anyway.

There is an expert on the PIPE family, and his name is Michael Pipe, he lives in Australia and is a descendant of the PIPE family in England. There is a great deal of PIPE information available for the PIPE family in England and elsewhere. He has promised to get some documentation together to prove that this John PIPE family is not our John PIPES family. but if you search it out it is not difficult to find John Pipe and the woman named French. just look on That is the LDS church web site.

I will be the first one to admit that there is a distinct possibility that the PIPE and PIPES families may be connected in England back in the 1500s or 1600s. As I like to point out, all of our early Pipes ancestors were illiterate and signed their name with an X mark, then someone else wrote it down for them. How would they be able to look at the signature made by someone else and say that either PIPE or PIPES was the correct spelling? it was all a matter of how they pronounced the name. But we also have to note that all of the early records indicate the people we know as PIPES are well documented as PIPES.

If you look in the early records in England the name is spelled La Pipe, Pypes, Pype, Pipes, Pipe and even some other phonetic spellings like peipes etc. I have a couple of articles on my web page showing the early spellings.

It is very frustrating for me because I don't want to accept something that is not true just for convenience.



In July of 2010 I received the following message from Michael Pipe of Australia. Michael has documented the Pipe family across the world and I believe he agrees that the conflating of John Pipe (son of Benjamin Pipe and Susan Last) and John Pipes Sr. (who lived in the USA) is a serious mistake.

Hello Bob,

I was browsing your website today, and read the comments regarding connection between Benjamin Pipe & John Pipes.
So then I cruised a few websites and was totally amazed to find that my poor G6 Grandfather Benjamin has been hijacked and spread across the internet like a Fungus!  Literally hundreds of appearances in family trees on Ancestry alone.  I was particularly annoyed with one "tree" on Ancestry where they had actually attached the extracts from LDS of Ben Pipe & Susan Last to attempt to justify their claims.  Amazingly, they had taken the list of their children and conveniently changed their birthplaces to suit a move to America before John's birth.  (That tree on ancestry is public and is called  "The Bauer Family 070").

I hadn't realized the extent of your problem with this false information, but it demonstrates the number of people who "throw" their tree together
using any information that looks as if it could fit, without checking any details.

You can rest assured that I will be on the lookout for any scrap of information related to your John Pipes in an attempt to solve the problem!

I don't know if this will be of any interest in persuading any would-be Ben-John connectors, but it does demonstrate the impossibility of their
presence in America. 

WORLINGWORTH, SUFFOLK   Baptisms extracted from Worlingworth Parish Records

Benjamin Pipe & Susan Last were married in Tannington, Suffolk 8 Oct 1705

 (ref Tannington Parish Register). The following are all children of Benjamin Pipe & Susan Last, and as you will see, it would have been impossible for this couple to have been in America at this time.  Additionally, from the Worlingworth PR's is a burial for Benjamin Pipe - 5th August 1736, burial at St Mary's, Worlingworth, Suffolk.

Baptism Date



14 Apr 1706

Jeremy Pipe

son of Benjamin

25 Jun 1707

Elizabeth Pipe

dau of Benjamin & Elizabeth (transcription error: wife should be Susan, no Ben & Eliz in this area at this time)

09 Oct 1709

Ann Pipe

dau of Benjamin & Susan

11 May 1711

Mary Pipe

dau of Benjamin & Susan

11 May 1711

Susanna Pipe

dau of Benjamin & Susan

07 Sept 1713

John Pipe

son of Benjamin & Susannah (Susan)

27 Apr 1718

James Pipe

son of Benjamin

We find their son John Pipe (above) married in nearby Kettleburgh, Suffolk on 10th Jan 1735/36 to Mary French, (ref Kettleburgh PR's), a line that
has been heavily researched by several reliable descendants.

As you state, there is little point in emailing the offenders, as there is a good chance that they will not respond, but it would be interesting
to know who was the first to "steal"  G6 Grandfather Ben!!

I shall keep a lookout for John Pipes possibilities.


Michael C M Pipe