Cornelius History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Cornelius surname finds its earliest origins with the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. Their name is derived from Cornelius, a given name that came to England in the 15th or 16th century from Holland or Belgium. The names Cornelius and Cornelia were popular in the Low Countries because the relics of St. Cornelius, a Pope from the third century, were kept at the Chapter of Rosnay, in Flanders. [1]

Early Origins of the Cornelius family

The surname Cornelius was first found in Essex, where they held a family seat from the Middle Ages.

Early History of the Cornelius family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cornelius research. Another 54 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1354, 1568, 1575, 1664, 1557 and 1594 are included under the topic Early Cornelius History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cornelius Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Cornelius are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Cornelius include: Cornelius, Cornelis, Cornellis, Cornelys and others.

Early Notables of the Cornelius family (pre 1700)

Another 43 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cornelius Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cornelius Ranking

In the United States, the name Cornelius is the 1,762nd most popular surname with an estimated 17,409 people with that name. [2] However, in South Africa, the name Cornelius is ranked the 862nd most popular surname with an estimated 8,115 people with that name. [3]


United States Cornelius migration to the United States +

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Cornelius or a variant listed above:

Cornelius Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Aaron Cornelius, who landed in New York in 1645 [4]
  • Eleanor Cornelius, who landed in Maryland in 1651 [4]
  • Robert Cornelius, who arrived in Virginia in 1657 [4]
  • Margaret Cornelius, who landed in Maryland in 1658 [4]
  • Alicia Cornelius, who arrived in Maryland in 1658 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Cornelius Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Christian Cornelius, who landed in New Jersey in 1730 [4]
  • Elizabeth Cornelius, aged 20, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1733 [4]
  • Elizabeth Cornelius to Philadelphia in 1733
  • Peter Cornelius, who landed in America in 1733 [4]
  • Vronicke Cornelius, aged 8, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1733 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Cornelius Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Francis Cornelius, who arrived in New York in 1836 [4]
  • William Cornelius, aged 27, who arrived in Missouri in 1848 [4]
  • Sam Cornelius, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [4]
  • T Cornelius, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [4]
  • F Cornelius, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Cornelius Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Miss Lily Cornelius, (b. 1877), aged 26, Cornish shop assistant travelling aboard the ship "New York" arriving at Ellis Island, New York in 1903 en route to San Francisco, California, USA [5]

Canada Cornelius migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Cornelius Settlers in Canada in the 17th Century
  • Tecle Cornelius, who arrived in Montreal in 1661
Cornelius Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. John Cornelius U.E. who settled in Fredericksburgh, Cataraqui township, [Greater Napanee], Ontario c. 1783 [6]

Australia Cornelius migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Cornelius Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Cornelius Spain, English convict who was convicted in London, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Baring" in December 1818, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [7]
  • Mr. Richard Cornelius, British convict who was convicted in London, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Asia" on 29th September 1831, settling in New South Wales, Australia [8]
  • Mr. Henry Cornelius, (b. 1813), aged 21, English Labourer who was convicted in London, England for 7 years for pocket picking, transported aboard the "Henry Tanner" on 27th June 1834, settling in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1855 [9]
  • Mr. Cornelius James, English convict who was convicted in Berkshire, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Bengal Merchant" on 27th September 1834, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [10]
  • Miss Mary Cornelius who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Edward" on 23rd April 1834, arriving in Tasmania, (Van Diemen's Land) [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Cornelius migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [12]
Cornelius Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Bernard Cornelius who sailed to Barbados in 1678
  • Peals Cornelius, aged 18, who landed in Barbados in 1683 [4]
  • Pads Cornelius, aged 18, who arrived in Barbados in 1683 [4]

Contemporary Notables of the name Cornelius (post 1700) +

  • Thomas R. Cornelius (1827-1899), American politician and soldier, eponym of Cornelius, Oregon
  • Marty Cornelius, American artist
  • Samuel Cornelius, American music producer, who founded Sun Records in 1952
  • Carl August Peter Cornelius (1824-1874), German composer, writer about music, poet and translator
  • Alvin Robert Cornelius (1903-1991), Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan from 1960 to 1968
  • Donald Cortez "Don" Cornelius (1936-2012), American television show host and producer who created and was the host of Soul Train (1971 to 1993)
  • Peter Cornelius (1824-1874), German composer
  • John Cornelius Moorfield QSO (1943-2018), also known as Te Murumāra, a New Zealand academic, a specialist in the teaching of the Maori language
  • Mr. Bernard Cornelius McCaughey C.B.E., British Director of Rehabilitation for Northern Ireland Prison Service was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire on 17th June 2017, for public service
  • Bernard Cornelius Cooney (1934-2019), Australian politician, Senator for Victoria (1984-2002)

HMS Royal Oak
  • Herbert Julian Cornelius (1914-1939), British Surgeon Lieutenant with the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve aboard the HMS Royal Oak (1939) when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [13]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Lyle R. Cornelius, American Seaman Second Class working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he survived the sinking [14]
  • Mr. P. W. Cornelius, American Ship's Cook Third Class from Texas, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [14]


  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  3. ^ https://forebears.io/south-africa/surnames
  4. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  5. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_ellis_island_1892_on.pdf
  6. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  7. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/baring
  8. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 12th January 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1831
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th January 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/henry-tanner
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/bengal-merchant
  11. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th January 2022). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/edward
  12. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  13. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html
  14. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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