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Cannell Name Study - Surname Distribution and Facts

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Surname/tag: Cannell
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This is a Research page for the Cannell One Name Study

Where Does the Surname Cannell Come From

There is a large concentration of those with the Cannell surname in the Isle of Man. In the British census of 1841, there were a total of 1175 people carrying the Cannell surname. Of these slightly over half (624) were living in the Isle of Man, and many of those on the mainland are also likely to have had origins there. The concentration is strongest, and the presence longest established in the parish of Kirk Michael. The earliest surviving Manx land records (from the 1490s) show three different Cannell households holding land there.

Early Y-DNA testing suggests that all of the Manx Cannells descend from a common ancestor (who was probably born in the 1200-1450 timeframe), and that he or his ancestors originated from the British mainland.

There is a separate, but smaller cluster of Cannells in Britain, particularly from Norfolk. It is unclear whether these are related to the Manx Cannells. Y-DNA testing of a Cannell man of such ancestry would allow us to determine this.

How Common is the Surname Cannell

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I've recently started a Cannell Y-DNA project at FTDNA. Y-DNA is only passed down the male line, which makes is extremely useful for ancestral research against the paternal family surname. So far 3 Cannell men have been tested (including myself). All of us had traced our ancestry back to the Isle of Man, but no genealogical link was known between us. DNA has shown all three men to have a common ancestor in the 1200-1500 time-frame. For any Cannell man a Y-DNA test will definitively determine whether they are part of this family group. (Unfortunately the test is only possible for men, but women can still ask a male relative to be tested on their behalf.) As more Cannells become tested, it will also become possible to differentiate them into branches of descent.

Please contact me if you are interested in knowing more.

posted by Robert Cannell
That is really interesting Robert. Do you have trees for those three lines? Is your study connected to the Manx Y-DNA Project? http://www.manxdna.co.uk/
posted by Lisa Bridson
Yes I have ancestral lines (from the participants) for all three men. I've also done a lot of work on the earlier Manx source records (primarily those used for pre 1700 research), and have a website about them. I am happy to work with those involved (if desired) to try and extend and fully validate their Cannell ancestral trees using conventional genealogical research. With some luck it is possible to confidently trace back Manx ancestry to an individual born in the late 16th century. It is typically not possible to go much further back because of the lack of suitable records. That is one place that Y-DNA can contribute, allowing us to join up the various distinct Cannell households on the Island at this time.

My study isn't directly connected to the long running Manx Y-DNA project, although we collaborate and a couple of us are members of both projects. The Manx project is geographically focussed and will not naturally include or appeal to Cannells without Isle of Man ancestry. It also doesn't delve into even the genealogy of even the Manx Cannells in anything like the detail which a dedicated surname project can.

posted by Robert Cannell
I have just added a new DNA page linking to the two studies Cannell DNA
posted by Lisa Bridson
I have a copy of a book The Cannell Connection: the story of Thomas Rackham Cannell and family by Graham Jaunay about the descendants of Thomas Rackham Cannell and his family that migrated from Norfolk UK to Australia in the 1850s
posted by Troy Phillips
Thank you. Others may be interested in looking at that, so thanks for sharing. I am happy for you to share anything you think might be interesting onto this page. I might have to look at how I give you permission.
posted by Lisa Bridson
I have since found that the author has made updated versions of the family trees from the book freely available online at http://www.johnson.jaunay.com/cannellchart1.pdf (online PDF does not contain the narrative details though)
posted by Troy Phillips
edited by Troy Phillips