North  American's Cornish Heritage

The Cornish American Heritage Society is
committed to promoting our Cornish connection
through events, networking, and resources.

  • Events are held throughout North America
  • We provide members with ways to interact to share information
  • Check our links page for online resources


Become A Member

The Cornish American Heritage Society is a group of Individuals committed to preserving Cornish history and heritage in North America.

Being a member brings a variety of benefits from member publications and special access to members-only content on our website to social activites throughout North America.

We invite you to join us in promoting Cornish heritage.

Learn about membership.

CAHS Member in CostumeAbout the Cornish American Heritage Society

From a small group of Cornish descendants proud and excited about their heritage in 1982, the Cornish American Heritage Society (CAHS) has grown to be the largest Cornish organization in North America.

As the CAHS enters the 21st century, the society is enthusiastic to continue to tell the story of Cornish immigration to North America and those Cornish immigrants who settled our great continent.

The Cornish American Heritage Society Mission Statement

The mission of the Cornish American Heritage Society is:

  • To recognize the courage of the Cornish immigrants
  • To recognize the contributions they made where they lived and worked
  • To encourage and help members in the pursuit of their family histories
  • To provide information and support to local Cornish societies in Canada, the United States, and Mexico
  • To encourage informational and social gatherings on a scheduled basis
  • To enhance our past and present relationships with Cornwall, the Homeland, and strengthen connections to all Cornish communities around the world.

CAHS Officers for 2014-2017

Kathryn Herman
222 Park Place #476, Waukesha, WI 53186-4815
VP– Newsletter
Carolyn Haines,
3835 Bush Gardens Lane, Holt, MI 48842-9401
Ronald Carbis,
13 Saint Ives Place, Gaithersburg, MD, 20877-3457
Thomas Rusch
528 Autumn Crest Drive, Watertown, WI, 53094-5916


The Cornish American Heritage Society History

14th Gathering ParadeThe Cornish American Heritage Society (CAHS) was founded in 1982, due to the efforts of Dorothy Sweet, a founding member of The Cornwall Family History Society, and members of this organization here in North America. Paul Liddicoat was the first president of CAHS.

Mainly a genealogical organization in the very beginning, the society has continued to grow (500+ members), offering information about diverse aspects of Cornish and Cornish North American heritage and culture (including genealogy), immigration to North America, the many Cornish settlements dotting the North American landscape, music, crafts, Cornwall today, and more.

The past 18 years has seen individual Cornish organizations spring up in areas of Cornish settlement in North America (the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Southwestern Wisconsin, Northwest, Montana, California, British Columbia, etc.) and in many more areas, as well. CAHS is affiliated with most of them.


Cornish American Heritage Society Publications

Tam Kernewek Front PageAlong with the society's newsletter "Tam Kernewek" ("A  Bit of Cornish") distributed quarterly, The CAHS also publishes "The Cornish Circle," a quarterly publication aimed at the Cornish societies themselves, providing information on fundraising, program ideas, how-tos such as non-profit filing, news from the local societies, etc..

While we learn about the history, dance, music, language, food, legends, and people of Cornwall, our focus is our Cornish immigrant ancestors who emigrated to Canada, the United States, and Mexico.

Why did they come? Where did they immigrate? What did they do? What records did they leave? What can we uncover, preserve, and share?

We will record and publish what we learn. We want to insure that the Cornish presence in North America is known and appreciated wherever they lived.


Cornish American Heritage Society Projects

CAHS is involved in various other projects: from publishing a listing of CAHS member's interests, to collecting members pedigree charts, establishing a Cornish reference library, having a presence at various Celtic and Cornish festivals,
supporting the Cornish Global Migration Programme and the West Briton Project, CFHS Records, the CAHS Founders' Award, and the Paul Smales Fund.

Visit our projects page here.


The Gatherings

The biennial "Gathering of Cornish Cousins", sponsored by the Cornish American Heritage Society, takes place every two years near a place of Cornish settlement (if available) somewhere in North America. Talented speakers and performers from Cornwall and throughout North America bring their own expertise to share with the 300+ in attendance. From a weekend "Gathering" in 1982, the Gatherings now consist of four or five days of workshops, talks, music, singing, dance, a pasty picnic, Cornish church service, banquet, tours and various other activities.

The first "Gathering of Cornish Cousins" was held in suburban Detroit, Michigan in 1982. Enthusiastic Cornish descendants from all over the United States and Canada took part. There were talks, singing, a pasty dinner, lots of genealogical information exchanged, and support to organize a society to bring Cornish descendants from North America together.


The Cornish American Heritage Society Archives

Cornish MineFormally set-up in 1993, the Cornish American Heritage Society Archives contain over 400 books, pamphlets, journals, and journal articles. The archive also has a collection of over 115 Cornish parish history booklets, from Morwenstowe in the north to St. Just in the south. Through the generosity of our members and others, the archive has grown steadily each year.

The CAHS archives are on loan to and are being stored at the Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Materials in our collection are non-circulating. You can contact the library staff by mail, phone or email to access anything in the CAHS inventory list.

The UW Library staff will research and make photo-copies for you. Their rates are quite reasonable and are as follows:

  • Corresponding research:
    • The first hour of research is free
    • After the first hour of research, the fee is $10 per hour
  • Copying charges:
    • In House: 10 cents per copy
    • Corresponding: $3.00 minimum. This increases by 10 cents per copy after 30 copies

Contact Information:
Southwest Wisconsin Room
University of Wisconsin-Platteville
One University Plaza
Platteville, WI 53818

Phone (608) 342-1719

You can also access the CAHS archives in person, but it is advisable to email or call ahead of your visit so the materials can be brought out of storage for you.

Download the Cornish American Heritage Society Archive Inventory List here [Adobe Acrobat PDF document - requires the free Adobe Acrobat Reader, available here].
The Inventory List is 29 pages as of November 4, 2011. An index for the inventory list will be available in the future.

Donations to the CAHS archives are gratefully accepted. Our CAHS archives ensure the safe preservation of our collective ethinic and personal history. Photo-copies of your family history in our secure archive will be an asset to present and future researchers. Questions about donating items to the CAHS archive should be directed to the historian: Thomas Rusch, 528 Autumn Crest Drive, Watertown, WI 53094-5916.