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

Penvoze and Trezona: a study in contrasts

Two enquiries recently received offer the opportunity to show the contrasting history of Cornish surnames. Although one of these surnames flourished and the other did not, they are similar in that both originated in a Cornish placename. Penvoze, spelt Penfos before the early 1500s, existed in five separate locations from the Roseland peninsula as far … Continue reading Penvoze and Trezona: a study in contrasts

Cornish and English in 16th century Cornwall

The surname Cornish was well established by the 1500s. Its presence outside Cornwall would be unsurprising, However, what requires more explanation is the considerable number of people in Cornwall itself with this name. Their presence in the 1500s implies its original meaning was not ‘someone from Cornwall’ as in Cornwall this would not be a … Continue reading Cornish and English in 16th century Cornwall

The mystery of the missing Irish

Recent blogs on this site have uncovered migrants from across the Channel who were living in Cornwall in the early 1500s. But what about migrants from the opposite direction, from across the Celtic Sea? There were a handful of people called Welshman in the early records, Walter and John Wylsheman at East Looe and another … Continue reading The mystery of the missing Irish

Places and surnames: why do some produce lots and others few?

Apologies in advance for a rather rushed surnames blog this week. I’ve been nursing an ailing desktop computer and it’s finally given up the ghost and about to depart for the great computer scrapyard in the sky (actually to be reborn via recycling). This has forced me to use a small laptop before I can … Continue reading Places and surnames: why do some produce lots and others few?

Trevithick: an iconic surname with multiple origins

This week ought to have seen the annual Trevithick Day, when Camborne celebrates its most famous son. By the middle of the 1800s Trevithick was a surname found in the greatest numbers in the Central Mining District of Camborne-Redruth, particularly in Camborne. Richard Trevithick had himself been born at Tregajorran, actually in Illogan parish, but … Continue reading Trevithick: an iconic surname with multiple origins