Canvey Island

Canvey Island, the Beach c1955, Essex.  (Neg. C237012)  © Copyright The Francis Frith Collection 2005.
Canvey Island, the Beach c1955
Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection.

Welcome to the home page for the History of Canvey Island and its inhabitants.

Below you find links to a range of sources transcribed by History House. Further below under 'more local history sources' you will find to links to other places on the web where you can continue your research.

For other locations in Essex see our alphabetical list of Essex towns and villages.

White's Directory of Essex 1848

CANVEY ISLAND, is divided among eight parishes, and has 277 inhabitants, and about 3600 acres of rich grazing >>more.

Directories of Essex 1848, 1863 and 1874

Directories of Essex 1848, 1863 and 1874 - list of inhabitants.

Canvey Island Poor

Under the Poor Law of 1834, Canvey Island was shared by parishes in the Benfleet area, Billericay Union. Added later as a parish in its own right in the Rochford Union. See our article on researching your workhouse and pauper ancestors.

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My Canvey Island Ancestors

Are your ancestors from Canvey Island? Why not tell us their story: My Canvey Island Ancestors.

More local history sources

Discover how to explore newspaper archives. With millions of pages now online, there is always the possibility of finding articles featuring your ancestors.

Ebay is now a great source for old images of Essex towns and villages. If you're looking for pictures to add to your family tree album, then try one of the auctions, or there are several 'Buy It Now' shops offering postcards which have been touched up and improved - so if you're unsure about bidding, try these. Link already formatted for Essex. Browse through or type the name of the location in the Ebay search box. >>

Also on Ebay are legal documents on vellum. This link is formatted for Essex. (Sometimes I think these should be in an archive.) >>

Books featuring Canvey Island from Abebooks. Just click the logo. The search terms are already formatted for Canvey Island.

Search for Canvey Island census returns at

1841 England Census | 1851 England Census | 1861 England Census
1871 England Census | 1881 England Census | 1891 England Census
1901 England Census | 1911 England Census

The Village, Canvey Island © Copyright Footstepsphotos 2006.
The Village, Canvey Island
Reproduced courtesy of Footsteps' Shop on Ebay.
Quality reproductions of old photographs.

The Essex Record Office 'ERO' is an excellent starting point for research. The ERO has an online catalogue by the name of Essex Archives Online which includes parish registers. Access to both via the ERO's homepage.

Also try FreeReg: a database of parish registers transcribed by volunteers. The Essex coverage is increasing each day.

Website with old post cards, photographs, newpaper clippings, on the history of Canvey Island.

Two websites with some brief information on the history of Canvey Island Canvey Island in words and pictures | Island Net.

Web site with some history of Canvey Island, census returns and photographs.

Canvey Community Archive with some history of the Island.

Canvey Island suffered badly during the flood of January 1953. Essex Police website article as to how it affected Canvey Island.

Ordnance Survey Maps for the 19th century

The best quality images by far are from the excellent National Library of Scotland's website. They provide the Ordnance Survey's six-inch series for England and Wales between 1842-1952. Either as individual sheets, or a zoomable overlay layer (1888-1913) on modern Google and OS maps, or as a zoomable layer (1888-1913) side-by-side with modern Google and OS maps.

Or try the 1881 Ordnance Survey Map from the British History Online web site (Essex: Ordnance Survey 1:10,560: Epoch 1.0).

Heritage Gateway. Database of national and local records of England's historic sites and buildings. Includes records and photographs of all listed buildings, and historical and archaeological information on locations throughout England.

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