English Diss Family Around the World
My name is Andy Diss and I created the original site in 2000 to make available the results of my father's research of the 'Diss Family Name' from 1273 to 1899. The hope was that other family researchers interested in the English family around the world and descended from a 20 th century Diss marriage should have no difficulty in tracing that marriage back to a marriage in the nineteenth century. This is generally the case but there are still some families find this difficult.
For 26 years Geoffrey Diss researched the 'Diss Family Name' long before the records became available online. Because of his deteriorating health he passed on all the information he had gathered over those years to the next generation - to me.
I had prepared information up to the 1900s for the two family trees from the 1700s. These trees were available for many years online until the company hosting them stopped doing so. Since then I have had the family trees running on my laptop and these have been added to significantly. If anyone has a question feel free to ask.
It is very easy to make mistakes in the preparation of this information either of ommision or error in transposing as many of the online records are wrong. I have continued to re-check very carefully all the records to identify duplicates and. minimumize errors.
There is still a large amount of information on our Diss families still to be garnered. A number of old Halstead Parish Records have been deposited at Essex Record Office since Geoffrey was last able to visit, around 1985. The availability of online records has allowed hopefully all the English family around the world be linked back to the two families that almost certainly are one before 1700.
How it all began
The following passage giving a background as to how and when my father's interest began is extracted from an article written in in the early 1980s by Geoffrey for the 'Halstead and District Local History Society' newsletter. This he has updated in parts.
"Perhaps I had better begin at the beginning. My name is Geoffrey Diss. I was born in Barrow-in-Furness where I have lived for most of my life, as did my father before me. I knew my Grandfather, Frederick, had moved to Barrow from Peterborough in 1882 as a young man of 24. I had also been told by my father that Frederick had been brought up by the manager of a forge in a small Essex town called Halstead. I had surmised that our name had some connection with the town of Diss in Norfolk. Enquiries to my father elicited nothing further from him about our family and I assumed that he knew no more. How wrong I was.
On my father's death, in 1975, I found on top of a wardrobe a photograph with the legend on the back "My Grandmother, born in Halstead Essex in 1822". There were also my Grandfather's diaries for 1878, 1881 and 1882. There was also a letter from a Canadian called Cecil Diss to my father, (also called Cecil Diss) asking if they could be related.
Reading the diaries, nearly 100 years after they had been written, was enough to release the frustrated historian in me and start me down the path which led to my becoming a member of the Halstead and District Local History Society. Halstead I believe is in my blood.
Where did that path lead me and what did I find on the way? Early visits to the Genealogical Society in London, followed by the County Record Offices in Chelmsford, Cambridge and Bury St Edmunds, provided me with much information. Later I got copies of all Diss Marriage Certificates and a number of Birth and Death Certificate up to 1899 from the Registrar's Office in London. Unfortunately a family commitment has meant that for the last 15 years or so it has been difficult for me to to leave Barrow in search of further references to the Diss name. During this time I have been helped by several correspondents and I also used the time to transpose all my records from paper on to a computer."
A Brief Summary by Geoffrey Diss
I found that Diss, a Saxon word which means Dyke or Ditch, was one of the few surnames to have been in uninterrupted use since the 13th century.
There are references in the Norwich Court Leet and throughout East Anglia to the surname in the 14th and 15th centuries i.e. John de Disse. Various Diss cleric's have left interesting wills in this period The earliest reference I have found is one William de Disse of County Essex in 1273. Walter Disse, a Carmelite Friar and Abbot of Norwich, Keeper of the King's Boats and Confessor to John of Gaunt and his Queen, was perhaps the most notorious.
I do not believe that we have any connection with the French families named Diss. Nor do I believe that we are of Huguenot descent.
I do believe that we are East Anglian with our roots back to Diss in Norfolk in the 14th and 15th centuries. My guess is that the general path our ancestors followed was Diss - Norwich - Bury St Edmunds - Ely - Balsham - and that a Diss from the Cambridgeshire /Essex/ Suffolk border moved down the A604 to Halstead in the early 1600s.
I do believe that we Disses with an English background are all descended from two 18th century marriages. (nothing found to contradict this sofar 2019)
from the marriage
between William Diss and Judith Rayner on 29th October 1755
at St Andrew's Church Halstead.
The text of a contribution to the Halstead and District Local History Society
from the marriage
between Robert Diss and Ann Winnings
at West Wickham on 25 May 1774
It is possible that we have a common forebear.
Unless, of Course, somebody knows better??