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It was in the early 1980's that I first took an interest in my ancestors and after contacting close family relatives I discovered numerous details of my Grandfather's eight siblings. Then in an old tin box containing souvenirs were two Victorian Funeral Invitation Cards that turned out to be for my Great Grandfather James (1853 - 1893) and Great, Great Grandfather William (1825 - 1907).

East Witton Church of St John the Evangelist

The remembrance cards pinpointed places and dates that led me to search the Archives for North Yorkshire and East Witton in particular, where my ancestors lived and worked as tenant farmers, on the Jervaulx Estates in Lower Wensleydale. In the nearby village of Ellingstring several generations had lived at Moorcote, Tranmire and Angram Cote Farms between 1800 and 1960.

This meant that many of the Births, Banns, Deaths and Marriages for early Vayro ancestors were found in the East Witton Parish Registers for the Church of St. John the Evangelist and St Martin from 1780 onwards. A search of other local village Parish Records proved that even earlier generations were living in Middleham, Healey, Coverham to the West, as well as Masham, and Clifton to the East.

Angram Cote Farmhouse in Ellingstring, near East Witton, Wensleydale

A casual comment made by my paternal Grandfather Thomas suggested that we originally came over with the Spanish Armada, whereas I think that Italy is a more likely alternative. However the evidence proves that my own ancestors came from Uredale or Yoredale and Coverdale and that the VAYRO and VARO ancestors have intermingled with families such as POUNDER, BERRY, LYE, WALKER, HARDCASTLE and HORNER from 1650 onwards.

In over 40 years I have never found anyone rich or famous, but if large headstones are an indicator of wealth in 19 th Century Britain then some of those who lie in East Witton, and Masham Churchyards may well have been more than simple farm hinds.

Headstone for William Vayro (of Jervaulx) in East Witton and a Victorian Funeral Card  

The Author                   John Rennison Vayro

John Rennison was born in Willington, a mining village in County Durham, where both his father and grandfather worked at Brancepeth Colliery.

The website is a collection of material that has been assembled after 40 years of research into his family ancestry. When he first started the research he was not aware that Genealogy was one of the fastest growing hobbies or pastimes, and initially relied on close friends and relatives for dates, details and information.

Over the years he has made contact with numerous individuals who have shared the same interests, both in the origins of the Vayro / Varo surname and who have tried to put together the evidence leading backwards in time, through the generations. These really are too numerous to mention, but in particular, Marjorie Powner, Barbara Massam, Stanley Varo and Steve Walker in the U K, Ian Ross Vayro in Australia, Sophie Vayro in Canada, and Marion Moverley, Peter Underwood  and several other members of the Dales Family History Society E-mail Forum. The latter can be found on
which is one of the branches of the Cleveland Family History Society on

With apologies to any friend relative of colleague whose name does not appear, but all have given their help and assistance freely and as well as many having been proved to be long-lost relatives they have also become close friends through a common interest in finding out more about past generations of the Vayro Ancestry. He would ask that browsers respect the confidential nature of some of the details on the website.

For more information browsers could go to

Alternatively contact at

Just a small note of thanks to the distant relatives in Australia, Canada, United States of America, Belper, Bingley (and the rest of the UK) that have helped me with 35 years of research into the Vayro and Varo Family Ancestries.  In March 2015 the Guild of One Name Studies presented me with the Guild Award of Excellence in the Website Category for this Personal Interpretation of the Vayro Family Ancestry.  The Award is in recognition for the standard of preparation and  presentation of the material, and is a bit of prestige really.  Thanks to the Guild for the Award, but also to all those who made a contribution to collecting the content for the pages.

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