Guild of One-Name Studies
One-name studies, Genealogy
Variants: Trethaway, Tretheway, Trethewey, Trethewie
Category: 3 - A study where research using core genealogical datasets and transcriptions is well under way on a global basis.
DNA website: www.familytreedna.com/public/trethewey
Guild hosted website:
Contact: Mrs Sally Whiffing
The Trethewy One-Name study was started by the late Alan Kent, who set up the Trethewy Society in 1993.
This is a worldwide study of the surname and variants, coming together as the Trethewy Society. The society is now run by Raymond Trethewey and Sally Whiffing, with members from England, Australia, Canada, and the USA.
The aims of the Trethewy society are:-
Trethaway, Tretheway, Trethewey, Trethewie
‘Dewi’ or ‘David’s homestead’ is the most likely origin. Some of the variants may be explained as the ‘homestead near the grave’ as in Trethevy Quoit and the Tintagel place name. It has been suggested that ‘homestead above/near the water’ may be another possibility. A couple of Trethewy place name locations would fit this.
The Anglo Saxon Chronicle first recorded the place name of ‘Trethewey’ ‘tref daewig’ in St Martin in Meneage in 977 AD. There are now six places in Cornwall called Trethewey:
There are also similar place names such as Trethevey and examples can be found in:
Surnames didn’t become established until the mid-1300’s. It is possible that names changed as people moved residences. Documentation dating back to the early 1200’s refers to people carrying the name De Tredewi and De Trethewy. One of the earliest references is a deed relating to the Priory of St Andrews at Tywardreth. This records a grant of Odo de Treverbin, where one of the witnesses was Johanne de Tredeway.
Further early references relate to:
It is possible that there were several different Trethewy families in the County or that these were branches of a larger inter connected Trethewy family. The coat of arms with goats and engrailed chevron seems to add weight to this.
A number of Trethewys served as Members of Parliament and Coroners:
The early records suggest a cluster of Trethewys around the Lostwithiel, Liskeard and Looe areas. These are associated with the accounting of the Tin Stannaries and the earldom and later Duchy of Cornwall. They were prominent landowning families, serving as MP’s, Coroners and duties for the crown. Research shows tantalising connections between these families. It is inferred that John Trethewy of Treverbyn was William Trethewy’s father and Thomas Trethewy’s grandfather.
J L Vivian’s ‘Visitations of the County of Cornwall’ show a direct link from John and Henry Trethewy to Thomas the Coroner, however the lineage would seem to be more complex.
Despite the earlier uncertainties, recent Trethewys would seem to derive from Thomas Trethewy MP and Coroner for the County in 1467. He was in dispute with the Vivian family of Trelowarren raiding the estate killing a servant and later outlawed. He was later pardoned but set up residence at St Stephen in Brannell in 1472. The family held seats at Treneague, Trevear, Tregargus and Meledor. Research would suggest that present day Trethewys may have originated from this branch.
Other notable Trethewys:
According to an ONS database there were the following numbers of surnames in use in England, Wales and the Isle of Man in 2002, when the total population was approximately 59.2 million people. This gives a frequency of 1 in 22,690 or 0.004% of the population
Surname Count Ranking
Tretheway 31 68493
Trethewey 538 10737
Trethewy 39 59263
According to the 1841 census for England and Wales, there were 464 Trethewys in 1841, when the total population was approximately 15.91 million people. This gives a frequency of about 1 in 33,000 or 0.003% of the population
The surname originated in Cornwall, but by the nineteenth century had become firmly established in other parts of the world, including North America, Australia, South Africa and India.
The 1841 census for England and Wales shows where Trethewys (all variants) were living in England and Wales.
A further breakdown for Trethewy residents of Cornwall shows the following numbers for places where more than ten Trethewys were living:
All of the Trethewy (and variants) Birth, Marriage and Death entries from the General Register Office indexes for England and Wales have been recorded for the period between 1837 and 2006. Some of this data can now be found in the Trethewy archive on the Guild website, and more will be added soon (requires registration unless you are a member of the Guild).
Census records for England and Wales for Trethewy (and variants) have been recorded from 1841-1911. Information from the 1939 Register has also been recorded.
A large number of Trethewy wills and parish register records have been collected, particularly for Cornwall.
A number of census, civil registration and other records have also been collected for Trethewys elsewhere in the world, though more research is still being done in this area. A large number of Trethewy family trees have been constructed by Alan with the help of researchers around the world.
The Trethewy DNA project is just getting started, and would welcome new participants.
Do have a look at the Trethewy DNA Project pages:
You may find our other Guild websites of interest: