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About us

Welcome to the COAD/COADE/COODE worldwide DNA project!

The DNA project is run in conjunction with the Coad-Coode one-name study, which is registered with the Guild of One-Name Studies in London.

The history of the COADs and COODEs is laid out in considerable detail in our book Unravelling the Coad: The Coades and Coodes of Cornwall and Devon. 

There it is shown that the surname Coad in the West Country began with Richard CODE, mayor of Liskeard in Cornwall at the time of the Black Death after 1348. It is one of the 20 oldest surnames continually present in Cornwall since that time. 

Separately, around 1432 a senior soldier called Richard CODE took over the parish of Gidleigh in Devon which had sat unclaimed for several generations. It is suspected he came from elsewhere in England, possibly from the retinue of John of Gaunt. His descendants, who eventually took the name COODE, were able to amass considerable property through strategic marriages; and eventually moved their seat to Morval near Liskeard, where other Cornish Codes were coincidentally present. the male line died out in the 1650s and the manor passed to the Bullers. However younger sons who joined the clergy established lines in Tavistock and St Wenn.

The variant COAD(E)appeared in Devon for the first time in 1600 and the spelling spread rapidly to almost all West Country families, with the exception of one family of gentry that retained Code and Coode.

In the unstable period following the dissolution of the monasteries in the late 1500sm, the Cornish Coodes moved from the Liskeard area to Breage, and eventually to St Austell where they still reside. Other families also moved across to central Cornwall around the same time.

The results of ongoing research are published on the project's blog,

We also provide a place for non-West Country families, including the Codds of Ireland who have taken COAD, to register their tests. So far several different strains of Irish Coads have appeared (the CODDs also have a separate project),

The DNA project is open to every male with any variant of the surname. Y-DNA tests are currently available for 12, 25, 37 or 67 markers. We recommend that testers should order the 37-marker test, as this provides more information and allows different family branches to be identified. The cheaper 12-marker test can be taken as a preliminary measure, and will indicate if two participants have a potential match but an upgrade will be required to reduce the time frame of the common ancestor.

The Y-DNA test tells you about your direct paternal line, which would be your father, your father's father, your father's father's father, and so on back in time. If you are female, please find a Coad male in your family tree to participate.

Very few members of the project have taken the autosomal Family Finder test, so looking for close cousins in the project is unlikely to be successful.