Welcome to OysterTown.net, reaching out to you from Whitstable, Kent, England, wherever you are. Oystertown.net is a site dedicated to providing family history, genealogical and historical information about Whitstable and its people throughout the years.

We continue this with current news of Whitstable, Chestfield, Seasalter, Swalecliffe and Tankerton today. After all, today’s news will be tomorrows history.

What’s so special about Whitstable?

In Family History terms Whitstable and Seasalter have a unique difference when compared to most small English towns during the 1800’s, the time period where much of this research is carried out.

The people of the town, primarily based around the mariners, shipbuilders, oyster dredgers and divers in this period did not, as in other small towns, drift to the growing conurbations of the industrial revolution.

Instead the Oyster dredgers formed their own co-operative with rules that not only strengthened the power of the Royal Native Oysters over any competitors, but locked these families into the town for the century as they accepted no outsiders as Freemen, only their sons.

In the meantime their neighbours, the mariners, were sailing around the world, together sometimes with the divers, spreading their knowledge around the world and bringing back home cargoes and experiences that enabled this insular town to become wordly wise and forward thinking.

You have to know these things to understand the character of the Whitstable Native. The Native is not only an oyster but the embodiment of these people whose descendants are now spread across the globe. If you are one of these descendants, or even just a visitor to the town, then this character will become apparent to you, for it either within you yourself or evident when exploring the town that resisted change.

As you read through the Oystertown site you will learn how these people took the marshlands away from the sea to build their homes and then battled against the sea as it fought back by flooding them or taking their sailors from their families, never to return. You can find out about the links between the families in the Oystertown Family File which is being built by contributions from all over the world. Diving was invented in Whitstable and those first divers were the men who discovered the wreck of the Mary Rose. The world’s first passenger steam railway was opened from Whitstable to Canterbury in 1830. These and many other Whitstable firsts are described on these pages.

As Oystertown.net grows it collects information, some of it thought previously to have been lost, but now coming back to it’s home across the oceans. This is all displayed for anyone to share and is our attempt to honour our ancestors that built Whitstable by saving it all for posterity.

Site Navigation.

The menu bar at the top of each page will take you to the main area of your interest with further pages linked thereon. In addition below you will find a text page link option. To explore fully use the site map located under the menu Links tab or use the search box to find the name or subject of your choice.

This page is deliberately devoid of large images to enable you to get into the site as quickly as possible. This is also true of many of the data pages, built in alphabetical tables so you can find what you are looking for efficiently. If it’s pictures that you want to see you will find most of these within the Galleries section or in the recent years local events pages.