Pascoe Surname Genealogy

Cornish people are said to be of Celtic and Iberian stock. They
had their own language; and their own distinctive surnames as this
ditty would suggest:

“By Ros-, Car-, Lan-, Tre-, Pol-, Pen-
Ye may know most Cornish men.”

Pascoe is very much a Cornish name. Pascoe ranks as No. 6 amongst
the most common surnames in Cornwall. The name came from the
Latin Pascal and means Easter
child. Early spellings included Pascowe and Pascow.

Resources on

Pascoe Ancestry

England. The Cornish
economy was closely intertwined with its mining industry, first of
copper and then of tin. The eighteenth and early nineteenth
century marked its peak as a producer. It was estimated that some
30 percent of the county’s workforce was employed in mining. The
principal mining
center, with a population of 9,000 in 1780, was Wendron in

While the Pascoe surname was to be found elsewhere in Cornwall, its
main concentration appears to have been in this Wendron mining
. One family line begins with John Pascoe,
born there
around 1533. The will of Bennet Pascoe was recorded in Wendron in

The numbers there grew in the next two centuries. Not all
of these Pascoes were miners. Some were yeomen farmers. One
Pascoe joined the Royal Navy and, as a lieutenant on the Victory, was said to have
recommended to Nelson his famous “England expects” signal before the
battle of Trafalgar. There was also an established Pascoe family
in Penzance who lived in Alceston House and were lawyers and local

Charles Pascoe, a seaman from the village of Breage, was one of the
lucky survivors of the wreck of the Titanic
in 1912.

Pascoe is also a Cornish Christian name. Three prominent
Cornishmen with Pascoe as a forename were Pascoe Ellis, the mayor of
Penzance in 1622, Pascoe Thomas, the author of A Journal of a Voyage to the South Seas in
1745, and Pascoe Grenfell the Cornish copper baron of the early
nineteenth century.

With the collapse of the Cornish
mining industry in the nineteenth century, the place was soon gripped
by a culture of emigration, a belief that the only way to get ahead was
to get out of Cornwall. Between 1860 and 1900, it is estimated
that 20 percent of the male working population left. Many took their
trade, hard rock mining, with them overseas. Others just sought a
new chance. The Pascoe
included a number to America; but more to

Australia. The Cornish
and Pascoe influx into Australia began in the 1840’s when
the copper mines in South Australia began to be developed. The
first of these, Kapunda, now boasts a “Cornish miner” statue. The
Burra Burra mine attracted the largest number of Cornish immigrants,
including Pascoes such as James Pascoe (on the Norfolk), John and Grace Pascoe (on
the Aboukir), and Francis and
Elizabeth Pascoe. Eliza Pascoe married James Hawke in Kapunda and
their grandson went on to be the Australian Prime Minister, Bob Hawke.

By the 1870’s, some Cornish miners were heading north to the new mining
prospects in northern Queensland. There is a Pascoe river near
Cape York (perhaps named after William Pascoe who prospected for gold
in this area). Later on, we find the Pascoe name, for an as yet
unexplained reason, linked to Australia’s Aboriginal population.
Bruce Pascoe,
part Cornish and part Aborigine, has emerged in recent
years as a recognized Australian writer.

New Zealand. Sam and Jane
Pascoe came on the Carisbrooke
to New Zealand via Belfast in 1875. They settled
in Waikato, North Island. One line of descendants became
boat-builders there. James Pascoe meanwhile started a jewellery
store in Auckland under his name in 1906. Still
family-owned, the
stores now number thirty seven.

Select Pascoe Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:


Pascoe Grenfell was a Cornish copper baron of the early 19th

is a New Zealand photographer. His most recent
exhibition has been Songs of
Innocence – Photographs of a New Zealand Childhood.

RW Pascoe, based in Brisbane,
is one of the largest fruit and vegetable wholesalers in Australia.

Bruce Pascoe
, part Cornish and part Aborigine, is a recognized
Australian writer.

Select Pascoes Today

  • 3,500 in the UK (most numerous
    in Cornwall)
  • 1,000 in America (most numerous
    in Michigan).
  • 5,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)




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