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18 June 2014
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Legacies - Cornwall

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Immigration and Emigration
I’m alright Jack

Cornish legacies

Many of these Cornish customs still thrive today. In the Grass Valley, California, the tradition of singing Cornish carols lives on – 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 descendents of the original Cornish gold miners.

Pasty making
Pasty making in Michigan
© Daryl Laitila, Pasty Central, Calumet, Michigan
Emigration from Cornwall may have declined after the First World War, but the global connections are still very strong. Statues and monuments in many towns pay tribute to the influence of the Cornish on their development. In Moonta, Australia, the Kernewek Lowender (meaning Cornish happiness) – the largest Cornish festival in the world – attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year. In its first year, so many pasties were eaten that the local bakery almost ran out of flour!

Certainly many of those with Cornish ancestry are now reviving their heritage. A plethora of Cornish family history and genealogy groups exist, in which Americans, Australians, and South Africans are digging deeper into their lineage. Who knows, maybe you too have a “Jack” lurking somewhere in your past!

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Your comments

1 Joan Christopher from Otis, Oregon, USA - 29 December 2003
"My husband's gr-gr-grandfather, James Christopher, came from Cornwall, England. According to his naturalization papers, he arrived from Liverpool in New York City on May 14, 1866. He stated he was a native of Cornwall, England. With him was his wife, Bertha or Bethia, and possibly his son, James Jr., who according to the family, was born on the ship coming from Liverpool. James settled in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, USA, and was a coal miner. Some of his family went to West Virginia, USA, and were coal miners there. My husband's grandfather Christopher is dead now, but from the way he talked, James may have been part of a group of tin miners who were brought to the USA to mine coal for use by the railroads."

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The Cornish in West Cork
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Cornish emigration in the 19th Century
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