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Great Yarmouth, Norfolk Genealogy

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Guide to Great Yarmouth, Norfolk ancestry, family history, and genealogy: parish registers, transcripts, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.

Great Yarmouth, Norfolk
St Nicholas Church Great Yarmouth.jpg
Great Yarmouth St Nicholas
Type Ancient Parish
Civil Jurisdictions
Hundred Great Yarmouth Borough
County Norfolk
Poor Law Union Yarmouth
Registration District Yarmouth
Records begin
Parish registers: 1558
Bishop's Transcripts: 1696
Ecclesiastical Jurisdictions
Rural Deanery Flegg
Diocese Norwich
Province Canterbury
Legal Jurisdictions
Probate Court Court of the Archdeaconry of Norwich
Location of Archive
Norfolk Record Office

Parish History[edit | edit source]

YARMOUTH, GREAT (St. Nicholas) a sea-port, borough, market-town, and parish, and a union of itself, having separate jurisdiction, locally in the E. division of the hundred of Flegg, E. vision of Norfolk, 19 miles (E. by S.) from Norwich, and 123 (K. E.) from London. [1]
Great Yarmouth St Nicholas is an ancient parish in the Diocese of Norwich.

St Nicholas' Church and Priory was founded by Herbert de Losinga (Bishop of Norwich) in 1101 as a penance for an act of simony. It is the largest parish church England and arguably the oldest building in Great Yarmouth. The church now houses a free heritage exhibition showing its role in the history of Yarmouth.

During the Medieval period the church was at its most magnificent with stained glass, tapestries, painted and gilded walls, frescos,19 guild chapels, various relics of the saints and ornate furnishings. At this time Great Yarmouth was the fourth richest town in England. The interior was destroyed at the Reformation and the Priory dissolved.

In 1649 the church was divided into three parts as the Puritans, who were now in the ascendancy, demanded use of the building as their church. The arches were bricked up (two feet thickness) on the north side of the nave, the eastern side of the transepts and the eastern side of the tower. The three portions of the church were used by the Anglican Church (south aisle), the Puritans led by Rev. Bridge (the chancel, which they fitted up as a church house) and the Presbyterians (the north aisle). A new door to the chancel destroyed the altar tomb of Thomas Crowmer (Bailiff of Yarmouth 1470-97). The mutilation of this tomb was contrary to the Act of Parliament of 1644, which allowed the demolition of monuments of idolatry and superstition, but not monuments to dead people, unless they were deemed to be saints. The windows in the east end were filled up with bricks. The north aisle was used by the local militia as a drill hall when the weather was wet. All the three denominations held their services simultaneously. The alterations to the church were paid out of a rate levied on the townspeople. At the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660 the Puritans were ejected from the church. The bricked up arches put up by the Independents and the Presbyterians were not taken down until the restoration of 1859-64 when the church became undivided for the first time in about 200 years.

The church gradually declined, the fabric deteriorated and the chancel collapsed. It was the Victorians who mounted several large and expensive restoration schemes and by 1905 the church had been completely renovated.

In 1942 the church was completely gutted during a German air raid leaving only the Norman tower and the walls standing.

With the aid of a War Damage Commission grant and fund raising by local people and businesses the church was rebuilt (architect - Stephen Dykes Bower).

The Church was reconsecrated in 1961 by the Bishop of Norwich. Additional information and pictures are available at Norfolk Churches.

Resources[edit | edit source]

Civil Registration[edit | edit source]

Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. There are several Internet sites with name lists or indexes. A popular site is Free BMD.

Church records[edit | edit source]

Great Yarmouth parish registers of christenings, marriages and burials are available online for the following years:

FS BTs = England, Norfolk Bishop's Transcripts, 1685-1941 (FamilySearch) - free
FS PRs = England, Norfolk, Parish Registers (County Record Office), 1510-1997 (FamilySearch) - free
FS ATs = England, Norfolk Archdeacon's Transcripts, 1600-1812 (FamilySearch) - free
FS = FamilySearch - free
FREG = FreeREG - free
ANC Transcripts = Norfolk, England, Transcripts of Church of England Baptism, Marriage and Burial Registers, 1600-1935 (Ancestry) - ($)
ANC 1 = Norfolk, England, Church of England Baptism, Marriages, and Burials, 1535-1812 (Ancestry) - ($)
ANC 2 = Norfolk, England, Church of England Records (Ancestry) - ($)
FMP = Norfolk Baptisms, Marriages, Burials (FindMyPast) - ($)
FMP BTs = Norfolk Bishop's Transcripts Baptisms, Marriages, Burials (FindMyPast) - ($)
TGEN = Norfolk Parish Records (TheGenealogist) - ($)[2]
JOIN = The Joiner Marriage Index - ($)
BOYD = England, Boyd's Marriage Indexes, 1538-1850 (FindMyPast) - free
IGI = International Genealogical Index (FamilySearch) - free[3]
FS Catalog PRs = FamilySearch Catalog Parish registers - free
FS Catalog BTs = FamilySearch Catalog Bishop's transcripts - free
Great Yarmouth Online Parish Records
Indexes Images Indexes Images Indexes Images
FS BTs 1685-1941
FS PRs 1510-1997
FS 1538-1975
FREG 1538-1900s
ANC Transcripts 1600-1935
ANC 1 1535-1812
ANC 2 1813-1915
FMP 1538-1917
FMP BTs 1579-1913
TGEN 1538-1900s





FS Catalog PRs

FS Catalog BTs

To find the names of the neighboring parishes, use England Jurisdictions 1851 Map. In this site, search for the name of the parish, click on the location "pin", click Options and click List contiguous parishes.

Records are also available at the [ Norfolk Record Office

Cemetery Records[edit | edit source]

  • Mounumental Inscriptions for St. Nicholas churchyard is held by the Great Yarmouth Library and this includes many headstones that have since been cleared away. There is one microfilm of this cemetery done in 1845 by Dawson Turner available through the Family History Library, it is film # 1441046 Item # 4.
  • The Market Gates Cemetery was used mainly by NonConformaists. The copy of the burial register covering 1828-1864 is on microfilm at the Norfolk Record Office.
  • Cemeteries were established after 1856 and the burial registers for those cemeteries in Great Yarmouth, Gorleston and Caister-On-Sea are on fiche at the Norfolk Record Office down to 1987 with the original registers located in the Great Yarmouth Town Hall.

Census records
[edit | edit source]

Census records from 1841 to 1911 are available online. For access, see England Census Records and Indexes Online. Census records from 1841 to 1891 are also available on film through a Family History Center or at the Family History Library.

Genealogy From Periodicals
[edit | edit source]

Jarvis, Robin. John Jarvis IV. History of the family of John Jarvis and Martha Lewis with the following surnames, Mack, Ellis, Wiffen, Russley, Porter: with branches moving to Ely, Wigton, Bury St. Edmunds, Gt. Yarmouth, London, Barking, Essex, and Ewell Surrey. Article dated 1700-1877, and is found in The Norfolk Ancestor, vol.9,part 4, pages 235-237. Family History Library Ref. 942.61 B2j new series v,9. pt. 4 (Dec. 2012)

Piggott, Sophie. The Townshend Family: Part 1, The Great Yarmouth Branch (including Robert the Forger). Family history of Robert Townshend and Sarah Cocks (Cox) with the following surnames, Bulley, Elgate, Jay, Waller, Harbord, Loveridge, Crisp, with dates starting 1768-1851. Article in The Norfolk Ancestor, vol.2, pt 1. page 22-26, Family History Library Ref. 942.61 B2j new series v.2, pt1,

Piggott, Sophie. The Townshend Family: Part 2, Carvers and Gilders of Norwich. Family history of Samuel Townshend Townsend) and Elizabeth nee Loveridge, with the following surnames, Watts, Dosher, Holmes, Engall, Gilbert, Minns, Burton, Fisher, dates 1822-1955. Article in The Norfolk Ancestor, vol.2 pt.2, June 1999, pages 94-97, Family History Library 942.61 B2j new series v2, pt.2

Siede, Betty. Starting a New Life and a Sad Ending. History of Elijah Eastick, son of John Eastick and Ann Marie Graves: Elijah and Frances nee Sewells, emigrate to Victoria, Australia in 1852. Other surnames are: Coulson, Reynolds, Leyshon, Dister, Jacobsen, and Bryce. Article dates 1825-1888 and is in The Norfolk Ancestor, vol. 2, pt. 5. new series, page 290-292, Family History Library Ref. 942.61 B2j v2. pt5.

Contributed by Fysh, J.P.G. A.V.G.A. A Brief History of the Julius Family. Article starts with possible connection to Rev Archibald James Julius, of St. Kitts, then to John Julius of North Yarmouth, and Norwich. Article has following surnames, Edwards, Gilder, Mayor and Kerr with family tree dated from 1697-1985. Article found in The Norfolk Ancestor, old series, vol. 4, pt4, pages 52-55, Family History Library Ref. 942.61 B2j old series, vol. 4, pt 4.

Dr. Gott, Ian. At Sea - A Story of Two Hemsby Families. Gotts and Bessey 1850-1900. Family tree shows Stephen Bessey b 1785 marrying Elizabeth Daniel 1807 and descendants, and William Gotts marrying Charlotte Stimpson 12 October 1814 and their descendants spreading out to Caister, Upton, Manchester, Ormesby, Holton - Suffolk. Yarmouth, Rollesby Union. Surnames mentioned George, Stephen, Stimpson, Hunt, Smith and Long. Article is dated 1781-1961, and is found in The Norfolk Ancestor, old series, vol.5.pt3, pages 52-54. Family History Library Ref. 942.61 B2j old series vol.5, pt.3.

Woodger, Janet. and Feather, Mark. Kipper John Woodger (1813-1876) History of family of Nathan Woodger, and Mary nee Lambell, married 1812, their son John born 1813 who moved to Newcastle, to start a successful Kipper business, with descendants moving around Monkwearmouth, London Lowestoft, Newbiggin by the Sea, and Gt Yarmouth. Article dated 1812-1929, and is found in the Journal of the Northumberland & Durham Family History Society. vol26,no4,pages 121-124, Family History Library Ref. 942.8 B2jo Winter 2001

Poor Law Unions[edit | edit source]

Yarmouth Workhouse

Norfolk Poor Law Unions

Probate records[edit | edit source]

Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by the court with jurisdiction over this parish. Norfolk Probate Jurisdictions Parishes G through H

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Maps are a visual look at the locations in England. Gazetteers contain brief summaries about a place.

England Jurisdictions 1851

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of England (1848), pp. 707-716. Date accessed: 19 March 2013.
  2. Searching Parish Records online (Norfolk) - The Following Parishes are Available at TheGenealogist,, accessed 23 April 2019.