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2,500 study surnames with us
and a further 6,349 variant names.
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About the study

The study has reconstructed the genealogy of all COADs and COODEs of English/Cornish descent with the assistance of many family researchers. It is essentially a paperless study, depending largely on online sources.

Variant names

Coade, Code, Coode, Cood

Name origin

CODE is one of the 20 oldest surnames continually resident in Cornwall, dating back to at least 1347.

The variant COAD appeared for the first time around 1600, just SE of Exeter in Devon. Prior to this it was spelt CODE or COODE, but within 30 years it had spread across Devon and Cornwall, replacing almost all similar names except the single line of educated Coodes of Breage. The variant has remained popular with name changers - most COADs and CODEs in America changed their name soon after arrival from the Irish CODD; while in England in the 1800s about 20 families changed their name to COAD or COOD (mostly CODDs around London).

History of the name

* Richard Code, of royal descent, richest man in the Hundred of East and Royal Tax Collector, 1500 Cornwall

* Eleanor Coade, Britain's most successful artist/businesswoman, inventor of Coade stone.

* Four of her uncles, mayors of Lyme Regis, Dorset in the 1700s

* John Coad, exiled to Barbados for his part in the Monmouth Rebellion 1685

* Robert Coad of Truro, convict transported for inciting a friend to steal a bag of coal, many descendants in Australia

* Robert Coad of Liskeard, architect, remodelled Lanhydrock House

* Sapper John Coade of Korumburra, twice decorated in the Great War

* Basil Aubrey Coad, commander of the Commonwealth forces in the Korean War.

* Dorothy Coade Hewett, Australian poet and playwright of distinction

* Rev Col John Coode, controversial governor of Maryland 1690

* Four Coodes, bankers and attorneys of St Austell, who held the title of Clerk of the Peace, Treasurer or (Under) Sheriff of Cornwall in the 1800s and who effectively executed the local government of Cornwall during the 19th century,.

* Sir John Coode, most famous marine engineer of his era

* Six other Coodes holding knighthoods or senior naval or military rank.

Name frequency

There were about 750 Coads etc in the 1841 English Census, with 525 in Cornwall (the maximum number to occur there) and about 100 in Devon. There would have been not many more than 50 abroad at that time. By 1900 Worldwide there were about 1400 Coads and Coodes

Distribution of the name

In 1522,the 13 adult male Cornish CODEs all lived within a few miles of Liskeard, in four locations. There were also Codes in Clyst St George Devon, and possibly around Ugborough. By 1641 they had spread through most of central Cornwall as COAD, and variants of the name were found in several Devon towns. In 1900, following the Cornish diaspora, there were 350 West Country Coads in Cornwall, 100 in Devon, 96 in the North Country, 232 in the USA, 61 in Canada, about 340 in Australia and 67 in New Zealand


The onename study consists of six separate draft trees on worldconnnect.rootsweb. The main research tool is a spreadsheet containing all incidences of Coad etc births/baptisms and marriages, sorted by forename. There is also a Word file detailing the families by parish (and in Australia, by State); along with a rough coverage of all similar names COARD, COYDE, CROAD, COWDE, CUDE and CLOAD. Many of the stories of the family are contained in the popular blog


The CoadCoode Y-DNA project has been operating since November 2006 and has been vital in determining the true structure of the surname. There are three unrelated families

- A family of Germanic descent from Devon and in central Cornwall

- a family of Celtic descent from Liskeard, now around Truro, St Austell and the Devon border

- a likely distaff line, located in Looe and Crowan