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About the study
For 26 years Geoffrey Diss researched the 'Diss Family Name'. In 1999 he passed his research on to Andy Diss to create a web site to make available the result of his research of the 'Diss Family Name' from 1273 to 1899.
The English family has 2 main branches The Halstead family and the West Wickham family. All Disses in the UK and many around the world have their roots in one or other of these family lines. It is believed that we are East Anglian with our roots back to Diss in Norfolk in the 14th and 15th centuries. The general opinion is that the 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.
Geoffrey prepared information up to the 1900s for the two family trees from the 1700s. These family trees are not currently available online though they were available for access by registered family for several years.
The size of the database has grown significantly since 2000 when there were about a 1000 individuals in the database. Since then I have worked to bring the trees up to date and fit as many individuals in a tree.
The English family is reasonably complete with a few un connected individuals to be place. English family have been found all over the world but mainly Australia, Canada and the USA. The family from Alsace-Lorraine also travelled in large numbers to the USA – many of these lines have been added to the family tree but more work is required to link back to the french/german family.
The family site has more information on how Geoffrey started his research see http://www.dissfamily.org.uk/General/AboutThisSite.html
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.
Most common surnames
ALBERT, BAXTER, BROSCH, BROWN, COXON, CROUCHER, DICE, DISS, DISSE, DIXON, DUNN, FRANKLAND, GENT, HALL, ISACKE, JOHNSON, KING, LEWIS, MABBS, RAYNER, SMITH, SPURGEON, TALBOT, TRIMBY
Distribution of the name