Welcome to the Tillett family website
Is your name Tillett? Then find a large map of the UK, and a pencil. Draw a straight line from King's Lynn in Norfolk south-eastwards to West Mersea in Essex.
There's about an 85% chance that your ancestors came from the little corner of England above the line you've drawn (this is based on my own trawling through the early years of the indexes of births, marriages and deaths at the Family Records Centre in North London, and on where every Tillett/Tillott in the UK 1881 census says he or she was born).
Some Tilletts started off in France. They were Huguenots (Protestants) who fled from France when the laws tolerating their religion were repealed in 1685. Some of them settled in East Anglia, but the majority went to London.
One family doesn't fit into either of these patterns. This is the family of Thomas Tillett, born at Winterbourne, just north of Bristol in Gloucestershire, probably some time in the early 1550s. I have been researching this family for about eight years, as it's the one I belong to myself, and I now have upwards of 1950 people, past and present, on a database. A lot of my work has been based on the registers of the parish churches of villages north of Bristol, and as parish registers were only invented in 1538, Thomas is probably about as far back as we shall get.
If you think your ancestry might be in Gloucestershire, then I can probably fit you into our tree somewhere! The same applies if you have no idea where in the UK your family started out - it's possible that I might be able to find a link. However, I know very little about East Anglian or London Tilletts. If you know already that this is where your roots are (before, say, the mid-nineteenth century), it might be better for you to try the GenForum surname page.
The most famous, or infamous, member of our Bristol family is Ben Tillett (1860-1943), the Labour MP and Trades Union leader. He was my great-uncle. He was so well known as a public figure that any man called Tillett was almost automatically nicknamed Ben between the 1890s and 1930s; and lots of people liked to be able to say that he was a relation of some sort. Sadly, in almost all cases, I've been able to prove this is just wishful thinking...!
If you think there might be a link, it would be wonderful to hear from you - please e-mail me.