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About us

Cornwall has been a relatively isolated part of the British isles. Up to 1550 it spoke its own language, and had its own form of government and currency until the 1700s. Compared with other parts of Britain there has been relatively little intermingling, except perhaps for Devon and with Brittany. Around 800 AD, a large group of Irish missionaries arrived, but apart from the odd Anglo-Norman lord, there has been limited in-migration until the present century. After 1850 however, when the great mines began to play out, there was a major exodus to other parts of the world where mines were to be found (Australasia, North and South America and South Africa)

We believe that the unique features of Cornwall will be reflected in the Y-DNA distribution, which we expect to be different to that of Britain in general.

We accept only men with a paternal family tree (and usually a surname) with Cornish origins pre-1900, and who have tested their Y-DNA. A good paper tree on the male line leading to Cornwall is expected. If you are abroad, when joining please provide your most recent Cornish ancestor - the one who emigrated - and how you are related, so it can be checked   

A partial list of Cornish surnames is at and there is a good list in the  project profile.


(Nov2015) After several requests we have decided to trial an autosomal category forthose who have Cornish forbears down any recent line and have taken the FamilyFinder test. This may assist those seeking general Cornish ancestry. It willcontinue under the following conditions:

  • The Cornish ancestry of the autosomal group willNOT be checked. Nevertheless applicants will need to specify a Cornishancestor.

  • Advice will not be given.

  • The subgroup will not be considered in anystatistics.

  • If it is too much work, we will try to hive itoff with another administrator.