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2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

Our One-name study concerns the name of Kernick. It is a cornish name that is not found outside of Cornwall until after about 1820. My son Richard and I have been collecting data since the year 2000.

Variant names

The only variants are KERNICKE and KEARNICK. The former was used in the early centuries thoroughly mixed in with the regular spelling. The latter was a version carried out of Cornwall by two illiterate brothers, who probably carried the name on a piece of paper incorrectly written down by the local minister!

Name origin

The name Kernick is thought to mean 'little corner' in the old Cornish language. There are still the odd hamlet or two and a few farms around which would support this theory. In the 16th century the name Kernick was only found in three Cornish parishes, Advent, Blisland and, in the main, St. Breward, all on the western edges of Bodmin Moor. Its origin before that is unknown. St. Breward Church is shown at the top of this page.

Historical occurrences of the name

The earliest Kernicks were recorded in the parish records of St. Breward during the reign of Elizabeth I. In the late 1600's the first Kernick to leave St. Breward, Edmund, went to Perranzabuloe parish. His son John married there and their children have populated the world. One of his sons, Richard, left Perranzabuloe and married in St. Ives. This my own leg of the family.

Distribution of the name

During the second half of the 19th century, the Kernicks, almost 100% miners, began to migrate from Cornwall. They moved to the mines in Lancashire, Yorkshire, Durham, Kent and South Wales. Further afield, they went to the mines in USA, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. My own grandfather left mining, became a mine agent, and eventually became an insurance agent and moved to Birmingham. The St. Ives Kernicks have migrated to South Africa, Birmingham, Cardiff, Breconshire and Bristol.


The earliest data that we have collected is from the original parish records of Cornwall in the Truro Record Office. All known records have been extracted. All Kernick data from the Censuses of 1841 to 1901 have been extracted. The Indexes of Births, Marriages and Deaths have been gone through from beginning to end for all occurrences of Kernick, a task which took two years before they were placed online! We have 720 Birth Certificates; 460 Marriage Certificates; 420 Death Certificates. All known Wills have been copied, just over 100. We have over 100 Passenger lists which contain the name of Kernick. All Military records, about 40 have been obtained, together with Medal cards. Finally there are over 100 miscellaneous items of data. We have accrued many dozens of photographs, mostly from generous contributers around the world. Our basic database now contains over 20,000 entries, and in excess of 800 families have been identified. We must acknowledge the help and input of other Kernicks: June Kernick of Devon; Bill Kernick of North Wales; Carole Kernick Baxter of Australia; Ann Harris of Canada; the late Theodore Paul Gough Kernick of Cardiff and many other Kernicks world wide. In the 1960's my sister Annette wrote to as many Kernicks as she could find and the two dozen letters she received have proved invaluable sources.