The Family History of Woking is in progress work by the Woking Family Tree Project which started in 2013 and aimed to conduct a "One-Place Study" of St Johns, Woking but soon expanded to include the whole of Woking Parish. We are creating new transcriptions of the original documents available showing the Families who lived in the area constituting the Ancient Parish of Woking and tracing the family relationships. In 2016 it became apparent that, although Horsell was not connected to Woking in the study period and in fact was in a different Hundred and Registration District, the proximity of the village to the area around Woking Railway station was going to cause gaps in the family histories, so the Study area was increased.
The focus of the project will be on the period between 1813 and the 1911 Census although I do want to extend to the return of the BEF in 1921/2. This Woking Family Web site is a "Work in Progress" so any data extracted should be checked against original Sources, and some changes to the published information is inevitable as the Registers for the period between 1813 and 1837 do not always provide sufficient evidence.
The Transcribed Data is entered into my main Research Database and wherever possible Family Trees created, the Folks who lived in the Woking/Horsell area are then extracted and presented here.
Note - if you wish to trace these families before (or after) their residence in Woking, you will need to apply for access to my main Research Website.
From a fairly typical rural settlement which wanted to be a town in the 17th Century, but had limited growth due to the water courses surrounding the low ridge, Woking suddenly flourished with the increase in population due to the commercialisation of the New town which grew around the Railway mainline station which had been built on the waste land at Woking Heath in 1838.
Although the policies of the Necropolis Company inhibited much Urban expansion around the station until 1859, the Western side of the Parish (St Johns and Knaphill) grew rapidly as Families which had run the Brick making grounds moved into the Nursery Trade. Commercialisation of the station area expanded in the late 1870’s and land speculators created urban dwellings in the following 20 years although some of the houses were defined as Slums before they were built. Geography and politics meant that Woking did not have an enclosed sewage system until 1899 (the thirteenth attempt) when the Rive Ditch running along the parish boundary between Woking and Horsell eventually ceased to be used for that purpose.
Other employment opportunities in the Western part of the Parish were provided by the establishment of the Convict Prisons (later used as Inkerman Barracks) and the large Asylum known as Brookwood.
The other early businesses in Woking of Paper making and (separately) Printing gradually moved away as the demand for water power decreased and more emphasis was placed on the cleanliness of the water. The proximity of Send Marsh to the River Wey probably helped create a stable water flow with a fairly high organic content, great for fishing, but not what you wanted in your book!
PLEASE let me know of all errors, typos and stupid mistakes ASAP