Cornwall in focus

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Research your Cornish Family History

When setting out to research your family history, there is a clear route you should follow:-

  • Start with what you know about the present. Put down all facts you know about yourself, your spouse and your children - Who knows, somebody may be searching for you in a hundred years or so.

  • Speak to your parents. Ask them about their life, their childhood, their brothers and sisters, including locations, occupations and immediate relations - even if overseas.

  • Speak to your parents about their parents, on both sides. What your grandparents did and where they lived. Remember to get maiden names of the female line. Don't add or subtract anything unless its fact. Keep an open mind on 'family gossip' - it may be based on a truth, as yet uncovered.

    Martha Chappell

  • If possible, talk to your grandparents, or failing that talk to your oldest close living relation. They should be able to take you back to the turn of the last century (1900), and may give you the names of their parents - Your great-grandparents.

    In summary - you have just researched one hundred years of you family's history without too much trouble. As you will see Family History is not difficult as long as you d the necessary groundwork.

  • Once you have all the details you can get of your great-grandparents, it is necessary to start researching them from official documentation. The best place to start is the 1901 Census for the appropriate area. Check the relevant parish and if not found widen your search to neighbouring parishes until you track them down. Once found, your great grandparents should appear as children or young adults as part of a family group with their parents - your great-great-granparents.

  • Repeat this process back through the decades by examining the 1891, 1881, 1871, 1861, 1851 and finally the 1841 censuses in turn, following the male line. If data is available, the maiden name(s) of the female side can be noted and followed up to confirm the family units.

  • Family units present in the 1840's, imply that the head of the family would be born roughly between 1800 and 1820. It is now necessary to look at different types of documents ...>

Cornwall Online Census Project

For more information click on any of the hyperlinks below:

UK Census Online

1871 Census Online

Ellis Island Records

The Troon
Exiles Website

Public Record Office


Cornish Forefathers Society

Cornish Studies
Library, Redruth

Cornwall Online
Census Project

Cornwall Family History Society

Cornwall Online Parish Clerks

St. Keverne
Family History

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