Before about 1600 the surname variant Coad was unknown - everyone was Code or Coode, sometimes Cowd or Codd or Coard. We know of half a dozenseparate families in the West Country of England that date back to the mid 1500s, and finding out which ones are related or otherwise has been the major task of our DNA project.
Every time we receive a new Y-DNA sample from the Coads and Coodes we learn something new. Three years ago Dennis Coad, a US descendant of the Coads of Ermington Devon who pioneered in Iowa, took one of our first DNA tests. He has been a complete orphan - until we found a cousin for him in a most surprising place.
Up till now, all the Coads and Coodes of Cornwall have originated in or near a small town called Liskeard on the Devon border. We have found two separate families from there, the second obviously an adopted or illegitimate branch of the first, which dates back to a least 1360 and has Celtic roots.
However there are other Coad families in Cornwall that we have not been able to link to Liskeard.The largest of these are the descendants of Anthony Coade or Cood of St Stephens in Brannel ~1660. They are easily the largest English Coad family in Britain or the USA. But for some reason they have not shown much interest in their heritage.
Finally a Cornish descendant of Anthony has taken the DNA test - and much to our surprise he is a match for Dennis and the Ermington Coads!
Mobility was very low back in England in the 17th century, and normally only the rich, the clergy, or seafarers, would relocate more than 20 miles. Exactly how or why a Devon Coad should set up 55 miles away in Brannel (3 days journey) is a new task for us!