Cornish Americans

Cornish Americans (Cornish: Amerikanek kernewek) are Americans who describe themselves as having Cornish ancestry, an ethnic group native to Cornwall, United Kingdom. Cornish ancestry is not recognized on the United States Census. There are estimated to be close to 2 million people of Cornish descent in the U.S which is four times the present population of Cornwall in the United Kingdom.[1]

Cornish Americans
Amerikanek kernewek
Total population
2 million
Regions with significant populations
 California,  Minnesota,  Michigan,  Pennsylvania and  Wisconsin
English (American English dialects) Cornish
Related ethnic groups
Cornish, English Americans, Welsh Americans, Manx Americans, Scottish Americans, Scotch-Irish Americans, Irish Americans

Cornish emigration to the United States

Tangier Island is an island in lower Chesapeake Bay in Virginia: some inhabitants have a Cornish accent that traces back to the Cornish settlers who arrived there in 1686.[2]

The coincidence of the decline of the mining industry in Cornwall in the 19th century and the discovery of large amounts of mineral deposits abroad meant that Cornish families headed overseas for work. Each decade between 1861 and 1901, a fifth of the entire Cornish male population migrated abroad – three times the average for England and Wales. In total, the county lost over a quarter of a million people between 1841 and 1901.[3]

Large numbers of Cornish people moved to the United States, and while some stayed in New York City and other East Coast ports after arriving, many moved inland to mining areas in California, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. One such area was Mineral Point, Wisconsin, in which the largest group of immigrants were Cornish miners attracted to the lead mining opportunities, and by 1845 roughly half of the town's population had Cornish ancestry.[4] Today the Cornish town of Redruth is twinned with Mineral Point.

Cornish culture in the United States

Grass Valley Cousin Jacks Pasties
A "Cousin Jack's" pasty shop in Grass Valley, California

Mineral Point, Wisconsin serves Cornish food, such as pasties and figgyhobbin,[5] and Cornish pasties are sold at ex-Cornish mining towns in America, especially in Butte, Montana[6] and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

In California, statues and monuments in many towns pay tribute to the influence of the Cornish on their development.[7] In the city of Grass Valley, the tradition of singing Cornish carols lives on and one local historian of the area says the songs have become "the identity of the town". Some of the members of today's Cornish Carol Choir are in fact descendants of the original Cornish gold miners. The city holds St Piran's Day celebrations every year, which along with carol singing, includes a flag raising ceremony, games involving the Cornish pasty, and Cornish wrestling competitions.[8] The city is twinned with Bodmin in Cornwall.

Cornish culture continues to have an influence in the Copper Country of northern Michigan, the Iron Ranges of northern Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, and Butte, Montana.[6]

Cornish immigrant miners are depicted in the TV series Deadwood, speaking their native language, even though Cornish had died out in the 18th century; the actors in the relevant scenes are, in fact, speaking Irish, a related Celtic language, but not mutually intelligible.[9]

Legends of the Fall, a novella by American author Jim Harrison, detailing the lives of a Cornish American family in the early 20th century, contains several Cornish language terms. These were also included in the Academy Award-winning film of the same name starring Anthony Hopkins as Col. William Ludlow and Brad Pitt as Tristan Ludlow.[10]

Notable people

Truman pass-the-buck
President Truman, possibly a Cornish Tremaine

Several notable Americans were either born in Cornwall or have family connections to the county.

See also


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "迷わないメル友選び". Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  3. ^ "BBC - Legacies - Immigration and Emigration - England - Cornwall - I'm alright Jack - Article Page 1". Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  4. ^ Nesbit, Robert C. (1989). Wisconsin: A History. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 0-299-10804-X.
  5. ^ "Shops & Restaurants - Pendarvis". Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  6. ^ a b "The Butte Pasty - The Foods of the World Forum". Retrieved 2016-07-30.
  7. ^ "Missing - Thebannerofpiran". 28 June 2007. Archived from the original on 28 June 2007. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-02-16. Retrieved 2012-09-24.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-08-14. Retrieved 2011-04-26.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "The Celtic Languages in Contact". p. 204. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  11. ^ Payton, Philip. The Cornish Overseas, 2005.
  12. ^ "Trevorrow Name Meaning & Trevorrow Family History at". Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  13. ^ Kent, Alan M. Cousin Jack's Mouth Organ: Travels in Cornish America, 2004
  14. ^ Eastman, Dick (April 8, 2012). "Last Friday's Who Do You Think You Are? with Edie Falco". Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter. Archived from the original on October 14, 2013. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
  15. ^ "Edie Falco, Who Do You Think You Are?". Edie Falco, Who Do You Think You Are?. Retrieved July 26, 2013.
  16. ^ Butler, Gillian; John Butler; Ren Kempthorne (2000). Karanza Whelas Karanza, The Story of the Kempthornes, 1300-2000.
  17. ^ Trethewey, Natasha (2007). Native Guard. New York, USA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 0-618-60463-4.
  18. ^ "Photos from the May 8, 2007 celebration to honor Natasha Trethewey for her Pulitzer Prize-winning collection of poetry, Native Guard". The Creative Writing Program at Emory University. Emory University. Retrieved 2011-06-18.
  19. ^ "Cornish Surnames - extensive A-Z list". Retrieved 2011-06-18.
  20. ^ Sawyers, June Skinner Famous Firsts of Scottish-Americans Pelican Publishing, 1996; p. 11
  21. ^ "ROOTED IN HISTORY: The Genealogy of Harry S. Truman". Truman Library. Retrieved 2016-07-30.
  22. ^ Ancestors of American Presidents, Gary Boyd Roberts, Published by Carl Boyer III, 1995, Santa Clara CA, p44
  23. ^ Ancestors of American Presidents, Gary Boyd Roberts, Published by Carl Boyer III, 1995, Santa Clara CA, p275

Further reading

  • Cornish, Joseph H. The History and Genealogy of the Cornish Families in America. Higginson Book Company. 2003. ASIN: B0006S85H6.
  • Ewart, Shirley. Highly Respectable Families: the Cornish of Grass Valley, California 1854-1954 (Nevada County Pioneers Series). Comstock Bonanza Press. October 1998. ISBN 978-0-933994-18-8.
  • Magnaghi, Russell M. Cornish in Michigan (Discovering the Peoples of Michigan Series). Michigan State University Press. October 2007. ISBN 978-0-87013-787-7.
  • Payton, Philip The Cornish Overseas. Cornwall Editions Limited. April 2005. ISBN 978-1-904880-04-2.
  • Rowse, A. L. The Cornish in America. Redruth: Dyllansow Truran. June 1991. ISBN 978-1-85022-059-6.
  • Todd, Arthur C. The Cornish Miner in America: the Contribution to the Mining History of the United States by Emigrant Cornish Miners: the Men Called Cousin Jacks. Arthur H. Clark (publisher). September 1995. ISBN 978-0-87062-238-0.
  • White, Helen M. Cornish Cousins of Minnesota, Lost and Found: St. Piran's Society of Minnesota. Minnesota Heritage Publications. 1997. ASIN: B0006QP60M.

External links

Australian Americans

Australian Americans are Americans who have Australian ancestry.

British Americans

British American usually refers to Americans whose ancestral origin originates wholly or partly in the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). In the 2017 American Community Survey 1,891,234 individuals or 0.6% of the responses self-identified as British. It is primarily a demographic or historical research category for people who have at least partial descent from peoples of Great Britain and the modern United Kingdom, i.e. English, Scottish, Welsh, Scotch-Irish, Manx Americans.

There has been a significant drop overall, especially from the 1980 census where 49.59 million people reported English ancestry.Demographers regard current figures as a serious undercount, as a large proportion of Americans of British descent have a tendency to identify as 'American' since 1980 where over 13.3 million or 5.9% of the total U.S. population self-identified as "American" or "United States", this was counted under "not specified". This response is highly overepresented in the Upland South a region settled historically by the British. Many of mixed European ancestry, may identify with a more recent and differentiated ethnic group. Of the top ten family names in the United States (2010), seven have English origins or having possible mixed British Isles heritage, the other three being of Spanish origin.Not to be confused when the term is also used in an entirely different (although possibly overlapping) sense to refer to people who are dual citizens of both the United Kingdom and the United States.


Cornish is the adjective and demonym associated with Cornwall, the most southwesterly part of the United Kingdom. It may refer to:

The Cornish language

The Cornish people

Cornish Americans

Cornish Australians

Cornish Canadians

Cornish diaspora

of or relating to the culture of Cornwall

Cornish Australians

Cornish Australians are citizens of Australia who are fully or partially of Cornish heritage or descent, an ethnic group native to Cornwall in the United Kingdom. They form part of the worldwide Cornish diaspora, which also includes large numbers of people in the US, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Mexico and many Latin American countries. Cornish Australians are thought to make up around 4.3 per cent of the Australian population and are thus one of the largest ethnic groups in Australia and as such are greater than the native population in the UK of just 532,300 (2011 census).Cornish people first arrived in Australia with Captain Cook, most notably Zachary Hickes, and there were some Cornish convicts on the First Fleet, James Ruse, Mary Bryant, along with several of the early governors. The creation of South Australia, with its emphasis on being free of convicts and religious discrimination, was championed by many Cornish religious dissenting groups and Cornish people comprised a sizeable proportion of settlers to that colony. Large scale Cornish emigration to Australia did not begin until the 1840s, coinciding with the Cornish potato famine and slumps in the Cornish mining industry. The gold rushes and copper booms were major draws on Cornish people, not just from Cornwall itself, but also from other countries where they had previously settled.

In recent years the story of the Lost Children of Cornwall, child migrants sent from Cornwall to Australia up until the early 1970s, has come under intense scrutiny. The practice of sending apparently unwanted or orphaned Cornish children abroad continued long after it had ceased, after being discredited, in other areas. It has been the subject of apologies by both the Australian and British prime ministers.

Cornish people

The Cornish people or Cornish (Cornish: Kernowyon) are a Celtic ethnic group native to, or associated with Cornwall and a recognised national minority in the United Kingdom, which can trace its roots to the ancient Britons who inhabited southern and central Great Britain before the Roman conquest. Many in Cornwall today continue to assert a distinct identity separate from or in addition to English or British identities. Cornish identity has been adopted by migrants into Cornwall, as well as by emigrant and descendant communities from Cornwall, the latter sometimes referred to as the Cornish diaspora. Although not included as an explicit option in the UK census, the numbers of those claiming Cornish ethnic and national identity are officially recognised and recorded.Throughout classical antiquity, the ancient Britons formed a series of tribes, cultures and identities in Great Britain; the Dumnonii and Cornovii were the Celtic tribes who inhabited what was to become Cornwall during the Iron Age, Roman and post-Roman periods. The name Cornwall and its demonym Cornish are derived from the Celtic Cornovii tribe. The Anglo-Saxon invasion and settlement of Britain in the 5th to 6th centuries restricted the Romano-British culture and language gradually into the north and west of Great Britain whilst the inhabitants of southern and eastern Britain became English. The Cornish people, who shared the Brythonic language with the Welsh and Bretons across the sea, were referred to in the Old English language as the "Westwalas" meaning West Welsh. The Battle of Deorham between the Britons and Anglo-Saxons is thought to have resulted in a loss of landlinks with the people of Wales.The Cornish people and their Brythonic Cornish language experienced a process of anglicisation and attrition during the Medieval and early Modern Period. By the 18th century, and following the creation of the Kingdom of Great Britain, the Cornish language and identity had faded, largely replaced by the English language (albeit Cornish-influenced West Country dialects and Anglo-Cornish) and/or British identity. A Celtic revival during the early-20th century enabled a cultural self-consciousness in Cornwall that revitalised the Cornish language and roused the Cornish to express a distinctly Celtic heritage. The Cornish language was granted official recognition under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages in 2002, and in 2014 the Cornish people were recognised and afforded protection by the UK Government under the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.In the 2011 census, the population of Cornwall, including the Isles of Scilly, was estimated to be 532,300. The Cornish self-government movement has called for greater recognition of Cornish culture, politics and language, and urged that Cornish people be accorded greater status, exemplified by the call for them to be one of the listed ethnic groups in the United Kingdom Census 2011 form.

English Americans

English Americans (also referred to as Anglo-Americans) are Americans whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in England.

In the 2017 American Community Survey, English Americans are (7.1%) of the total population.However, demographers regard this as a serious undercount, as the index of inconsistency is high and many if not most Americans from English stock have a tendency to identify simply as "Americans" or if of mixed European ancestry, identify with a more recent and differentiated ethnic group.

In the 1980 Census, over 49 million (49,598,035) Americans claimed English ancestry, at the time around 26.34% of the total population and largest reported group which, even today, would make them the largest ethnic group in the United States. Scotch-Irish Americans are for the most part descendants of Lowland Scots and Northern English (specifically - County Durham, Cumberland, Northumberland and Yorkshire) settlers who colonized Ireland during the Plantation of Ulster in the 17th century.

In 1982, an opinion poll showed respondents a card listing a number of ethnic groups and asked, "Thinking both of what they have contributed to this country and have gotten from this country, for each one tell me whether you think, on balance, they've been a good or a bad thing for this country." The English were the top ethnic group, with 66% saying they were a good thing for the United States, followed by the Irish at 62%. Ben J. Wattenberg argues that this poll demonstrates a general American bias against Hispanics and other recent immigrant populations.The majority—57%--of the Founding Fathers of the United States were of English extraction.

English immigrants in the 19th century, as with other groups, sought economic prosperity. They began migrating in large numbers without state support, 1840s to 1890s.

Irish Americans

Irish Americans (Irish: Gael-Mheiriceánaigh) are an ethnic group comprising Americans who have full or partial ancestry from Ireland, especially those who identify with that ancestry, along with their cultural characteristics. About 33 million Americans — 10.5% of the total population — reported Irish ancestry in the 2013 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. This compares with a population of 6.7 million on the island of Ireland. Three million people separately identified as Scotch-Irish, whose ancestors were Ulster Scots and Anglo-Irish Protestant Dissenters who emigrated from Ireland to the United States. However, whether the Scotch-Irish should be considered Irish is disputed.

Manx Americans

Manx Americans are Americans of full or partial Manx ancestral origin or Manx people who reside in the United States of America.

United States presidential visits to the United Kingdom and Ireland

Twelve United States presidents have made presidential visits to the United Kingdom and Ireland. The first visit by an incumbent president to the United Kingdom was made in December 1918 by Woodrow Wilson, and was an offshoot of American diplomatic interactions with the Principal Allied Powers at the conclusion of World War I prior to the Paris Peace Conference. The first visit by an incumbent president to Ireland was made in June 1963 by John F. Kennedy. To date, 34 visits have been made to the United Kingdom and nine to Ireland.

The United States is bound together with both Ireland and the United Kingdom by shared history, an overlap in religion and a common language and legal system, plus kinship ties that reach back hundreds of years, including kindred, ancestral lines among Cornish Americans, English Americans, Manx Americans, Irish Americans, Scotch-Irish Americans, Scottish Americans, Welsh Americans, and American Britons respectively.

Welsh Americans

Welsh Americans are an American ethnic group whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in Wales. In the 2008 U.S. Census community survey, an estimated 1.98 million Americans had Welsh ancestry, 0.6% of the total U.S. population. This compares with a population of 3 million in Wales. However, 3.8% of Americans appear to bear a Welsh surname.There have been several U.S. Presidents with Welsh ancestry, including Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, John Quincy Adams, James A. Garfield, Calvin Coolidge, and Richard Nixon. Jefferson Davis, President of The Confederate States of America P.G.T. Beauregard, U.S. Vice President Hubert Humphrey, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are also of Welsh heritage.The proportion of the population with a name of Welsh origin ranges from 9.5% in South Carolina to 1.1% in North Dakota. Typically names of Welsh origin are concentrated in the mid-Atlantic states, the Carolinas, Georgia and Alabama and in Appalachia, West Virginia and Tennessee. By contrast there are relatively fewer Welsh names in New England, the northern Midwest, and the southwest.

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