Alan March’s Family History

This site is a work-in-progress. There is a massive amount to cover. I have included both male and female lines, and some go back many generations. Keep coming back for more.
I have numbered the generations working backwards from Alan’s as (1)(1)

March Tree



WILLIAM COX. In the 20th century Charlie Cox was a famous lifeboatman in Cromer, but the Cox story takes us further back inland, to the village of Woodbastwick.

From his age when he married, we should expect William to have been born around 1712-13, and it is reasonable to assume that this was somewhere near Woodbastwick where he was then living.

No convincing baptism has been found. The nearest in time and place are the following:

 Baptism. Aylsham
1715 Oct 28  William Cox son of James and Mary Cox

His mother was Mary Brett.

This William appears to be an only child.

Aylsham is a market town on the River Bure 11 m NW of Woodbastwick

Baptism. Great Yarmouth.
1714 May 2  William son of Robert and Hannah Cox

Great Yarmouth is a fishing port 13 m east of Woodbastwick.


SUSANNA SMITH. We have the same problem with Susanna. We should expect a baptism around 1713-14 in the Woodbastwick area. None has been found.

The nearest are:

 Baptism. St Michael at Thorn, Norwich.
1715 Apr 19  Susan Smith daughter of Thomas and Susan Smith

Norwich is a cathedral city 6 m west of Woodbastwick. It is where William and Susanna’s wedding took place, but the date is a year late.

Baptism. Great Yarmouth
1714/15 Mar 2  Susannah Smith daughter of William and Amphillia Smith

Again, this is 13 m away, and the date is a little late.

Distance alone may not be a problem. Their son Samuel moved 15 miles from Woodbastwick to Roughton, near Cromer. But we have been unable to find the expected dates.

It may be that both William and Susanna were baptised in a parish whose registers do not go back that far, or have not been digitised.

 By the time of their marriage both William and Susannah were both living in Woodbastwick.

They did not marry in the village, however, but in the cathedral city of Norwich, 6 miles away.

It is likely that Susannah was working there, but had not been there long enough for it to become her parish of settlement. Or it may be because this was her birth parish, where her family were.

 Marriage. St Mary in the Marsh, Norwich.
1737 Sep 10  William Cox, 24, and Susan Smith, 23, both of Wood Bastick (Woodbastwick).

They returned to Woodbastwick to raise their family.

Woodbastwick is a village of thatched houses. Even the church is thatched.

The church has an unusual dedication to Saints Fabian and Sebastian.

Only a little over a half of the parish was available for cultivation. Much of it was taken up by the Woodbastwick Marshes, including several large broads, near the River Bure.

In the 1841 census almost all the adult males were agricultural labourers, and it is highly likely that this was true in the 18th century too.

The record of their children shows a series of tragedies.

Baptisms. SS Fabian and Sebastian, Woodbastwick.
1738 May 3  William and Mary
William was buried on May 24.
1739 Jun 25  Rachel. Buried 4 Oct 1739.
1740 Dec 7  Rachel and Anne
We have not found a burial for this pair of twins, but they must have died because we have the following baptisms sixteen months later.
1742 Apr 12  Rachel and Anne
1742/3 Mar 20  Susanna
1744 July 26  William.
1746 May 24  Elizabeth
1752 Dec 13  Samuel

The high number of infant deaths is usually associated with poverty. Here, a contributing factor may have been that three of them were twins. These are often born prematurely, and in those days there were no post-natal facilities to keep a vulnerable baby alive.

William Cox, whom we assume to be William junior, was buried on 27 Nov 1764. He would have been 19.

After Samuel, William and Susanna must have thought that their family was complete, but there was a late surprise for them.

1764 Nov 27  George and Hannah

On 19 Apr 1769 their unmarried daughter Rachel had a child Sarah baptised.


We have not found a burial for William senior.

Susanna’s burial entry does not say whether she was a wife or a widow.

Burial. SS Fabian and Sebastian, Woobastwick
1781 Mar 1  Susanna Cox

She would have been 66.





March Tree