Godalming Joint Burial Committee

 Nightingale Cemetery | View from the Chapel
Nightingale Cemetery | View from the Chapel
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Ancestry in Godalming

Discover your Godhelmian roots in the heart of Godalming

Whether living in Godalming or further afield, many people are interested in discovering their family history. Godalming has many local resources to assist in discovering your Godhelmian ancestry.


Godalming was a thriving town at the time of the domesday book in 1046 and was home to many industries. Manufacturing of woollen and knitted goods, tanning, leatherwork and paper industries all thrived in the town.  Many of these industries grew up in Godalming because of its location by the river Wey, which was used as a natural power source.  Its position between London and Portsmouth made it an important staging post prior to the arrival of the railway in 1849.

Until the arrival of the railway, Godalming was one of the largest towns in the Surrey Hills area. Throughout its history, Godalming not only attracted new people to the town, but Godhelmians also migrated to other industrial areas within the United Kingdom and to new opportunities throughout the Commonwealth countries.

Do you have a Godhelmian surname?

Many people's surnames are associated with jobs within these industries, likewise many surnames are associated with a geographical area. Godalming was no exception and many names are identified as having Godhelmian roots.  Is your name one of those? Listed here is a selection of common Godhelmian names.

What if your surname is not Godhelmian?

Obviously there are many people who may have links to Godalming who do not have a recognised Godhelmian surname. Geneaology can help you discover whether you have Godhelmian roots.  Since the reign of King Henry VIII Parishes have kept records of the marriages, deaths and christenings of their Parishioners, these records were later expanded to include records of births.

In Surrey we  benefit from the extensive resources of the Surrey History Centre, who hold the original parish records for Godalming and those of other Surrey parishes. Other organisations that can help you trace your family history include the local studies library at Godalming Museum, West Surrey Family History Society, Exploring Surrey's Past and the library services of Surrey County Council, all of whom hold comprehensive records to assist you in researching your family history.

Visit Godalming's Past in the Present