Visiting the Victorians: nineteenth-century Cornish life-cycles

In the 1800s why did some of our ancestors decide to leave for overseas and others go to places in the British Isles? Why did some stay put? How much was movement determined by factors such as occupation, gender, place of birth or upbringing? (For an overall summary of Cornish migration see the article below.) … Continue reading Visiting the Victorians: nineteenth-century Cornish life-cycles

Transregional Cornish surnames: another example

Following up on the blog earlier this week about Cornish surnames from afar, the case of Kendall warrants a moment’s consideration. This surname is assumed to be derived from Kendal in the Lake District, in the furthermost northern reaches of England. By the nineteenth century it was most commonly found in Cumbria - no surprise … Continue reading Transregional Cornish surnames: another example

Cornish surnames and long-distance migration

As we have seen before, surnames that originate in placenames can give us useful clues about the migration of people in the past. Contrary to popular myth, even in the medieval period there was considerable movement within the British Isles. In Cornwall, there are several surnames that are based on places to the east of … Continue reading Cornish surnames and long-distance migration

Spelling variants and Cornish surnames: Cliffs and Curnows

Let’s catch up on a couple of surname queries, both of which involve spelling variants. The first is the name Cliff. There is general agreement that this is a topographical name, one taken from a feature in the landscape. The classic surname dictionary by P.H.Reaney confidently proclaims that Cliff and Clift are both variants of … Continue reading Spelling variants and Cornish surnames: Cliffs and Curnows

The history of two Cornish surnames, one common and one rare

There were two enquiries this week about surnames from the opposite ends of the spectrum. One is in my surnames book; the other isn’t. One is very common; the other very rare. The two surnames are Roberts and Matta. I've mentioned both before in these blogs but let's re-visit them. Robert was a personal name … Continue reading The history of two Cornish surnames, one common and one rare

Corruption in a Cornish borough

The following is an extract from Chapter 11 (The Borough) of The Real World of Poldark: Cornwall 1783-1820. The Reverend Richard Gurney, Vicar of Cuby, was at the centre of Tregony’s borough politics throughout the Poldark years. In 1792 he had been implicated in encouraging ‘mob uproar’. Three effigies representing gentlemen of Tregony who opposed … Continue reading Corruption in a Cornish borough