A Brief Introduction
Graham Owen has lived in Cornwall since 1974 and is married with three children. Researching family history since 1979, he established Cornish Surnames as a genealogy business in December 2003.

Early Days
While researching the Cornish side of his family at the Cornish Studies Library in Redruth, and the County Record Office and Museum at Truro, he frequently encountered visitors trying to trace their forebears.

Many were holidaying in Cornwall specifically to take in a visit to the record office and libraries.

Stumbling Block
It quickly became apparent that most genealogists sooner or later come across the same stumbling block; locating the parish in which their ancestors lived.

You may trace a line back in the same parish to where an ancestor was married, but there is no record of a baptism there
- where do you search next?

Now where?
Most commonly the male would have moved to his wife's parish to marry and live; and quite usually from a neighbouring parish.

However, after several weeks of research, Graham located a baptism record of a missing family member in a parish some twenty miles from the parish in which he married and was finally buried.

This can be most frustrating when you only have limited time to search local records, and Graham saw many visitors go away disappointed after running out of searching time.

Help on its way
Having collected information over a number of years, Graham attempted to produce a link for people outside the county to establish their Cornish roots, and help them locate the areas in which their forebears lived.

The prime objective was to produce it at an affordable price so it would be available to all who wanted to trace their Cornish connection; but he also wanted to give it an aesthetic angle, so produced it as a chart rather than in book form.

Which records?
Graham's main concern was for absolute accuracy; anything less would defeat the object of the exercise.

As Cornish surnames became established throughout the county by the 15th Century, the earliest accurate county-wide records nearest to this time needed to be consulted.

The earliest parish records and muster rolls at the time of Henry VIII provided extensive records of the families at this time and where they lived.

By evaluating and cross-referencing the information contained within, Graham recorded the most prolific names in Cornwall at this time, and plotted the names on his map accordingly.

Aims of the company
The data was painstakingly transformed into artwork and the charts and accompanying booklet printed in November 2003.
The company of Cornish Surnames was born.

The product was seen as a genealogical guide to researchers of Cornish families outside of the county, and a market was prepared to advertise in the United Kingdom and abroad where Cornish communities abound several generations after emigration.

The product was reviewed by The North Cornwall and Mid Cornwall Advertisers in December 2003.
These reviews provoked such an overwhelming response that fifty packages had been posted off by New Years Eve!

A review in the Western Morning News (Plymouth and Cornwall daily newspaper) and in the Cornish Guardian (Mid Cornwall, weekly), along with advertisements in the North and Mid Cornwall Advertisers produced more and more responses.

The unexpected overwhelming success of the product in the local market has had an adverse effect on the development of the overseas market - but we are not complaining!
It just took a little longer to set up. The packages can now be purchased globally through Paypal.

We are saving time and effort for locals who have the records on their doorstep, and we are delighted that the product is
so well received.

The way forward
We are hoping that our website will attract many buyers to our product.
To this end we hope to develop it and make it more interesting with many links to all things Cornish.

Please email Graham with any comments you may have or anything you feel you would like us to include on the site.

Home Page