Spotlight on Cornwall Family History Society


03 October 2022
St Ives, Cornwall
Laurence Smith introduces a society with a history of more than four decades of helping those with Cornish roots, including the vast global diaspora of emigrants.

Since its beginning in 1976, the society has aimed to become a centre of excellence by encouraging Cornish family history research.  Covid-19 and the enforced lockdowns over the past two years have affected everyone and we found ourselves having to close our library, arrange for our secretary to work from home and learn to use Zoom so that we could continue to hold our executive meetings. Thankfully, we are now able to operate normally. 

Our library in Truro is now open to the public again and having initially put an appointment system in place, we are gradually relaxing this and welcoming some visitors without prior booking. Overseas visitors who are keen to research their Cornish roots are now able to travel to Cornwall again and get help from our library volunteers. Access to our extensive database is available, which includes monumental inscription records that are unique to us. This record set is very popular, as visitors often like to visit the graves of their ancestors. We also have a large collection of books and family trees which have been kindly donated by our members.  

Cornwall family history database 

For those who are unable to visit, we have a membership subscription that includes access to our database of over five million records. These include baptisms, burials and marriages, census records from 1841 to 1901, as well as strays and apprentices. We have recently added record sets which are either free to all members or to the general public, such as Fowey Harbour history, Female Convicts send to Van Diemen’s Land, and a ‘Where Do I Start?’ video for those who are just beginning their family history journey. 

We offer a paid research service to both members and non-members worldwide and are also kept busy replying to numerous enquiries from those who are seeking help with their quest for information. For details, e-mail.

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Membership details

  • Membership: From £15 per annum 
  • Membership + database: From £33 per annum 
  • Research Rates: £10 an hour for members, £15 an hour for non-members 

Cornwall Family History Society website.

Text extracted from an in-depth article on exploring evidence in the November 2022 issue of Family Tree. Get your copy here.