1. miss sunhine
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    miss sunhine Member

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    Looking for Cornish names?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by miss sunhine, Feb 11, 2012.

    Hi,

    I'm looking for Cornish first and last names that are popular now. One of my characters roots is in Cornwall so I wanted her to have a Cornish last name at least.

    I looked at some Internet sites but they weren't very reliable. It said 'Morgan' was a cornish last name but when I checked it out it was of Welsh Origion so now I'm not sure.

    Information would be great.

    Thank You
     
  2. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Surnames (and place names) starting Tre- and Pen- are typically Cornish. Also Pol-, I think.
    My mother's mother was Cornish and she was a Kelly--people think it's a Irish name but it's not, the family and lands are mentioned in the Doomsday book, and it's actually old Cornish for 'grove of trees'. 'Morgan' is Cornish as well as Welsh. My father's mother was a Blight--some branches of the family used 'Bligh'--yes, Captain Bligh was Cornish and a distant forebear of mine, and we have loads of Blight and Bligh relatives in Australia still. From the 17th century on, most of my family have biblical first names, really weird ones like my great-grandmother 'Milcha'.
    A lot of Cornish names are similar to Breton or other Celtic words. There must be lots of sites for this, people are interested in their Cornish roots.
     
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  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Simple. google Cornish names

    Try it. You will get plenty of hits.

    When in doubt, google. You'll get better and faster answers for this type of question than by asking in a forum thread.
     
  4. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Except that Google doesn't help you know which names are more common, and the OP did ask about Morgan. There's also a difference between North and South Cornish names. The names were often quite localised, so if you were thinking of a particular place it would be good to look for names from that area. And bear in mind that old class thing again, for traditional first names in Cornish.
     
  5. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    France, Cornwall, Wales, Ireland, all those are connected by immigration, so you'll find some of the names in all these places anyway.
     
  6. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    Look up ancient British or Welsh names (Welsh being the language closely related to Cornish - the two are mutually intelligible). Breton has too many French influences, although is descended from the language of ancient Cornish emigrants

    Do not touch modern Cornish first names with a barge pole - its names are all reconstructed, as the language went extinct. No-one has a clue what they are supposed to sound like, or even if they were real, as opposed to the fabrications of 19th century romanticists.

    Also, do not use Irish or Scottish Gaelic. Completely different branch of Celtic languages.

    Some Celtic staples like Euan, Aeron, Cwynngame, Nectan, and Oengus might be worth considering. As for surnames, 'ap' would be used, followed by the name of a person's father. It is a patronymics, the traditional Celtic means of identification. 'Tre-'is to do with placenames and is a Norman addition.
     
  7. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Tre- means 'homestead' in ancient Cornish, and is a very, very common prefix to a surname, e.g. Tremaine, Trelawney (it just means 'so-and-so's farm). Cornish did not totally die out, certainly not in the 19th century. I know it wasn't spoken in the strict sense, but my great-grandmother died in 1968 at the age of 105 and she sprinkled her language with Cornish words. We have cine film of her speaking! Also, Cornish surnames very often come from a family's place of origin, whereas Welsh surnames are much more often patronymics. I know you speak--Gaellic, is it? But Cornish is fairly distinctive and much more like Breton than Welsh in many respects. The examples you give do not sound typically Cornish to me at all. I have never even heard of the last three.
     
  8. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    We learn something new every day. I had thought Cornish was a bit like Manx. It's a pleasure to be corrected :)

    The last three names are Anglicised Welsh, Pictish, and British, respectively. Not Cornish, but I'd assumed there were very close Cornish equivalents, seeing as how often Celtic languages overlap.
     
  9. Peregrino
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    Peregrino New Member

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    My surname is JAGO - a common Plymouth/Cornwall surname and a Cornish variant of the name James (same root as Diego, Tiago, Iago, Jacob etc). Noted other Cornish surnames would include RESCORLA (as in Rick, who perished in the Twin Towers attack), ANGOVE (as in Cornish Rebellion leader Michael Joseph "An Gof" - The Smith) and BOLITHO (hero of Alexander Kent novels), but of course there are many others which remain relatively common (at least in SW England - and all surnames of people I have known) e.g. ANDREWARTHA, PENBERTHY, KITTO, JACKA, TRUDGEON, BESWETHERICK, CURNO, TREGASKIS, TREBILCOCK, TRESCOTHICK to name just a few.

    By the by and with regard to the Cornish language - it was pretty much extinct by the C19th. As it was a spoken language only, any "Cornish" you may see written anywhere such as on road signs etc in Cornwall itself, is the result of the revival of the language by a Cornish scholar called Fred W.P. Jago in the mid to late C19th.

    Hope this helps
     
  10. miss sunhine
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    miss sunhine Member

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    Thanks everyone, I decided to base my book in Cornwall but had no idea how hard finding names would be. It's set in modern times but my MC has roots there, at least her Grandfather anyway so that's why i thought of using a cornish surname rather than an English one.

    Cheers
    x
     
  11. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi Peregrino (I remember a family of Jagos in Devonport, I don't know if they are your family)
    According to Wiki--however reliable that is!--Cornish was used until the late 19th century and the last true Cornish speaker died about 1914. Due to the revival it's an official language of the UK now. I'm not saying Cornish was spoken exactly when I was a child in the 1960s, but many more Cornish words were in the vernacular than nowadays and some old folk even in places like Cawsand near the Devon border used lots of strange words. I guess the same can be said of other dialects in the UK.
    I only know about Cornwall a bit because my mother is mad about researching family history and has dragged me to yearly meetings of the Cornwall Family History Society in Truro and she writes for their journal. Maybe the Society can help you, miss sunshine? I think they have a website.
     
  12. laurenhasaface
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    laurenhasaface New Member

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    I live in Cornwall and some second names of families who have lived here for a long time are Harvey, Webb, Pellowe, Blight, Morgan, Andrew, Dunstan, Pethick and Yendle. :)
     
  13. Devlin Blake
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    Devlin Blake Member

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    This is a fun site to use. It doesn't have Cornish names, but it has just about everything else. (including names for angels, demons, and more.)
    http://fantasynamegenerators.com/
     

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