The Surnames of Cornwall

The book, The Surnames of Cornwall, a gazetteer of family names in Cornwall, grew out of my Surnames of Cornwall Project. That aimed to inject a bit more rigour into the study of surnames by looking at the historical evidence for their geographical distribution and at early spellings. This often enables us to pin down their origin and sometimes helps confirm suggested meanings. The Surnames of Cornwall

  • gives the purported meanings for 760 of the surnames which were the most common or the most unique to Cornwall in past times.
  • includes spelling variants of the names.
  • describes the areas in which the names originated and where they were found in the 1800s.
  • notes some well-known bearers of some of the names.
  • includes an introduction setting out the context for the study of surnames.

The book is supported by maps (see example below), which are online at this site. These provide snapshots of the distribution of names in the 1861 Census.

The paperback book is on sale at Amazon for £9.99. It’s available on all the Amazon sites apart from Australia. However, there is also an ebook, priced at £4.99, and you can order that from amazon.au

16 thoughts on “The Surnames of Cornwall

  1. Hi! My mother’s family roots have led me to Cornwall – names I am particularly interested in following are Juliff, Bosanko, Wearne, Penaluna – most of which seem to be in and around the Wendron area. Would any of your publications shed any light on any of these particular names? Thank you.

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    1. Hi Stephanie. All four of those names are in my book on Cornish surnames. You can find maps of their distribution in 1861 on this site and I’ll add them to the queue for another map at an earlier point in time.

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  2. Hi There are lots of other Cornish surnames that are not included on the list shown. I am a Curnow by birth and have Bolitho, Baragwanath, Grenfell Jelbert (Gilbert) etc in my line none of them are the Pol Pen Tre etc but I also have Trewhella

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  3. Hi there, super exciting and looking into grabbing a copy of the book for my Dad who was born in Cornwall. Our family name is Lampshire and i’m interested if that features in the book?
    Thanks!

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      1. It’s a Cornish name sure enough – present around the Camel estuary from the 16th century. It seems to have moved to the Truro district in the mid-1600s and then ramified there, before declining in numbers in the 1800s. As for its meaning, the surname dictionaries tell us it’s ‘uncertain’. It looks unlikely to be a locative name – the early spelling is always Shole but there’s no obvious placename that could have given rise to that.

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  4. Are you able please to tell me if the name Berryman or Berriman are Cornish names and if they could have been miners from Redruth as they migrated to Australia and worked out of Broken Hill as miners and named an area nearby Redruth.

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  5. My mothers maiden name was Lewarne. We can go back quite a few generations in the published family tree but have never been too sure where it originated. There is a similar name I believe mentioned pre- Doomsday in the Clowance area. Any thoughts?
    Really enjoy reading your blogs. Thank you.

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    1. Pre-domesday 95% plus of people would have had only one name. Surnames only began to be attached after the 11th century. I’ve not come across Lewarne as a first name so the source for that would be interesting. In my book I sat on the fence and said the origin of the name is ‘uncertain’. It didn’t seem to appear until the 17th century and was restricted to mid-Cornwall, As the name Lewarren also appeared around the same time I speculated whether there was a connection of Lewarne with the more common surnames Warne and/or Warren.

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