Within this site you'll find the results of research into the family of Thomas and Ann Tilbury (nee Durden). The THOMAS TILBURY (1777-1857) section follows the descendancy of Tilburys from Thomas and Ann Durden down seven generations. The Family Tree is updated as new information comes to hand. The GALLERY holds photos of some of Thomas and Ann's descendants. A list of the Certificates obtained is located in the Reference Material section. The NEWS section contains a record of changes/additions made to the site. Suggestions, comments and enquiries are welcome. If you're searching for information, an entry in the GUESTBOOK may be seen by others who can help.

The site content was initially created in book format many years ago and along the way footnote references were lost. I hope to be able to reinstate them at some stage.

The Name

Spellings of the name Tilbury (especially before 1770) vary enormously. For example, the International Genealogical Index (IGI) for the town of London shows the first spelling of TILBURY in 1630. This was preceded by TYLBERY (1550), TILBERIE (1619) and TILBURIE (1629). In the 1600s the spelling was predominantly TILBERY with variants TILBERRIE, TILLBERY and TILBERRY. In the 1700s TILBARY was introduced, along with TILBARRY, TILBURRY and TILBUREY. In the 1800s the spelling was predominantly TILBURY, with one TILBERRY in 1811, one TILBORY in 1828 and two TILBARYs in 1864 and 1865.

It is worth noting that these spellings can vary in the same generation of the same family! The reason for this is best explained by P.H. Reaney:

“The man who says his name was always spelled as it is today is talking rank nonsense. The modern form of very many of our surnames is due to the spelling of some sixteenth- or seventeenth-century parson or clerk, or even to one of later date. It is not a matter of illiteracy in our sense of the word. These parsons who kept the parish registers were men of some education. Their ability to read cannot be questioned, but they had no guide to the spelling of names. It was the printing-press which gradually established a recognised system of spelling.”

TILBURY is an old English (Anglo-Saxon) locality surname derived from ‘Tila’s Burg’ (Fort), Essex. Early records of the surname Tilbury or a variant date to the 13th century, where there is an entry of the name Richard de Tillebyr of county Essex recorded within the Hundred Rolls in 1273. The Hundred Rolls system of local legal jurisdiction was introduced by King Edmund I (939-946AD) and, until the 19th century, was a unit of English Government detailing citizens of a given area. James Thompson Tilbury once told his daughter Esther (Ettie) that the Tilbury name was originally de Tilberrie and that a Charles de Tilberrie sailed the Seven Seas in bygone times, perhaps as a pirate, or even a hero with Drake...

Local surnames from English place-names are not numerous in early London sources. In the early thirteenth century, local surnames gradually became more numerous and by the end of the century were common and still increasing. Most of them, in the 12th and 13th centuries, came from the counties round London, but in the 14th century there is a marked increase of such surnames from farther afield, particularly from the East Midlands. It is noteworthy that the south-western counties produced very few.

The Place

Tilbury is a former urban district (in 1931 the population was 16,825) in South Essex, England, on the north bank of the Thames and 22 miles east of London, opposite Gravesend. Industries include shoe manufacturing. The extensive docks are included in the Port of London and are the terminus of several passenger shipping lines. Some Tilbury descendants are of the belief that a Tilbury ancestor designed and built Tilbury Docks, which they named after him.

Tilbury Fort, begun under Henry VIII, was later rebuilt and strengthened. In 1588 Queen Elizabeth held a celebrated review here when the Spanish Armada threatened England. The present docks, begun in 1886, were heavily bombed in World War II. In 1936 the Tilbury urban district was included in Thurrock.