My name is Andy Diss and I have created this site to make available the result of my father's research of the 'Diss Family Name' from 1273 to 1899. Other family researchers descended from a 20 th century Diss marriage should have no difficulty in tracing that marriage back to a marriage in the nineteenth century.

For 26 years Geoffrey Diss researched the 'Diss Family Name'. Because of his deteriorating health he passed on all the information he had gathered over those years to the next generation - to me.

I have started putting some information on to the site and will add to it when I can. I have reformatted Geoffrey's records to make them available more generally.

I have prepared information up to the 1900s for the two family trees from the 1700s. It is very easy to make mistakes in the preparation of this information either of ommision or error in transposing. Both will have to be checked very carefully to make sure there are minimum errors remaining before inclusion. The same applies to the list I have of reference numbers of all Diss Marriage Certificates and a number of Birth and Death Certificate up to 1899.

I understand that 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 Birth/ Marriage /Death Registers have not been listed since 1900 except for lists covering short periods kindly sent to him by helpful correspondents.

I am a busy geophyicist with a wife and a young family . I am confident that over the years I will be able to carry on where my father left off but please be patient.

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.


'The Halstead Disses'

from the marriage

between William Diss and Judith Rayner on 29th October 1755

at St Andrew's Church Halstead.


Where did William Diss come from: Geoff's thoughts in 1989?


The text of a contriubution to the Halstead and District Local Histiory Society

Halstead in our Blood

The edited text of Frederick Diss's Diary

Diary 1881


'The West Wickham Disses'

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??