Genealogists find the surname Corner in Canada, the United States, and Australia, and trace ancestors to England, Scotland and Ireland (especially Northern Ireland).
In reading the many contributions to this forum, I am struck by how many people (myself included) are restricting their searches to very specific individuals and/or locations. This is sensible, given the futility of researching what we may never know, and the practicality of solving a puzzle one piece at at a time. Yet I fear that this approach may deflect us from sharing information (or even suspicions) that may benefit us all.
I am, therfore, inviting people with the surnames Corner, Cordner, Koerner, or Cordonnier in their backgrounds, to share the stories they have heard (even the apocryphal) as well as the little inquiries. I have had some private, and not so private, correspondances with some individuals on these matters already and I suspect that many of us are sitting on information that we regard as unreliable but which may prove true or somewhat true and might lead others to establish connnections.
While it seems unlikely that everyone participating in this forum, and everyone else who shares our surname or a surname like it, is related, we may, nevertheless, find linkages that suggest common origins. Let me begin this project with a few words about my own story in the hopes that others will join this discussion.
My family has been in Canada for 152 years, emigrating on board one of the many “coffin ships” at the end of the Great Famine. I recently visited their home town - Lurgan, in Northern Ireland - and found no Corners there today, but the surname “Cordner” is still quite common, and some (familysearch) records suggest that Corners and Cordners were related.
Through official records, I have traced my family to Lurgan in the late 1700s. Family lore, however, has them arriving a century earlier.
My family’s version of events is that four ‘Koerner’ brothers from Prussia or Denmark came with the armies of William and fought at the Battle of the Boyne; afterward, two settled in Northern Ireland, and two in Scotland, and most of the ‘Corners’ are descended from them. Others I’ve ‘met’ through this forum have different versions: English ‘Corners’ or French (Huguenot) ‘Cordonniers’ fought in William’s armies.
Problems occur with all these accounts. First, because these stories are similar, but contradictory, one hardly knows how to go about verifying. Second, the Brownlow estate records indicate that the surname ‘Corner’ was known in Lurgan, and perhaps elsewhere, at least a generation before 1688. Third, these ‘Corners’ (and ‘Cordners’) may not have been related to any ‘Koerners’ or ‘Cordonniers’ who came from abroad and may have simply adopted a similar local name. Fourth, whatever version or versions are grounded in fact, these stories do little in themselves to link the generations after 1688. And finally, the surviving records between 1690 and the end of the 1700s are not very complete.
Despite these obvious problems, I think there is considerable merit in sharing with one another not only what we’ve found, but what we’ve heard as well. When I started my research two years ago the social scientist in me was suspicious of the purely anecdotal, but the more research I’ve conducted, the more I’ve grown to appreciate that the lore was often grounded in a certain body of facts.
So let’s hear from all you Corners, Cordners, Cordonniers, and Koerners out there.