Genealogy database

This page is dedicated to the memory of my parents Leslie Harold OATS and Nancy BESWETHERICK to whom I owe so much.

Genealogy Database

The genealogy database is now more sophisticated but in order to protect the privacy of the living it requires registration in order to use it.The database contains the details of some 2000 individuals and over 500 families. When entering the Genealogy section you must complete an application for a new user and submit this. The application should be processed within 24 hours and you will be e-mailed with your user details. The new software is able to give graphic ancestry charts and can focus on specific families.

If you don't wish to register then please contact me with details of your research and I will arrange a temporary account for you.

New additions March 2005
A new database has been added for the Oates family that descends from James OATS (1795 - 1836). This family emigrated to the USA and many of their descendants now live in California. I am most grateful to my namesake, the late, Robert (Bob) Harvey Oates and his family, for providing this information. To access this database place your mouse cursor over the "Welcome Page" icon in the top left corner and select "Genealogy from (oates_usa.ged)". If you visit this database Bob has some very interesting stories which can be found in the notes sections of individuals e.g.John OATS (I0003). They give a great insight into the lives of the people of the time and well worth the read.

The default database is my own general information on all the OATS families.

Background on the Oats Family of West Penwith, Cornwall

The name appears, from recent research, to have originated in northern Germany and derives from OTT or OTTO which is the name used in the 1600's and is common in 3 regions of the UK, Yorkshire, Isle of Mann and Cornwall. It would appear that the addition of "A" was probably an Anglicization of the name. There were two forms of the early spelling OTTS and OTES. The name OTTS was converted to OATS and OTES became OATES. Later the two became interchangeable. If the name does in fact originate from the northern region of Germany then it ties in well with the Saxon invasions of the British Isles between 400AD and 900AD. The Saxons invaded the coastal areas around Yorkshire so it is likely that the family probably spread from Yorkshire. Early Cornish records dating from the 1500's for the name indicate a Germanic style given name, for example Jakobus and Franciscus. In the Cornish context it is unusual. The given names used in all three regions are all very similar.

OAT(E)S Family in West Penwith, Cornwall

Most of the OAT(E)S descendants that live around the globe descend from John OTTS (circa 1600-1665) and Mary COCK (1603-1665). John appears to have been fairly comfortable and had some form of education as he left a Will in 1665 which is available from the Cornwall Records Office. He gives his occupation as a mynor (miner). Their descendants occupied the village of Tregeseal which lies in the Nancherrow Valley about half a mile outside St Just. They probably panned tin (tin streaming) from the river for hundreds of years from Tregeseal down the valley until it enters the sea. The family occupation was so numerous that the lower reaches of the Nancherrow Valley is known locally as Oats Valley. The family appear to have been fairly astute and many were given the title "Yeoman" meaning that they either owned freehold property or held long term leases to property.
You can see a detailed map of the Parish of St Just here

Strangely, my own genealogy does not tie up with this family but it appears that my origins lie with another from Ludgvan.

The reasons for migration of these families will be covered in the history section of the site. Suffice to say the ingenuity of the Cornish in developing advanced deep mining skills hastened the demise of mining in Cornwall and resulted in them either diversifying, starving or migrating. Since there were wonderful opportunities in the "New World" with promises of a better way of life many chose to migrate.

I am greatly indebted to Geoff Mckee and his daughter, Susan, from Australia, who headed the St Just Research Group of the Cornwall Family History Society, for the provision of much of the information I have on the Oat(e)s families.

For those with family originating from this area I strongly recommend that you visit and join Penwith Genealogy Board where you will find lots of friendly folk willing to help and discuss the genealogy of Penwith.


The Beswetherick family on my maternal side originates from the Bodmin, Luxulyan and Lanivet parishes. The family is concentrated in many of the parishes in this area. The meaning of the surname is bos (g)wydhal, dwelling by the thicket, or bos Gwydhylek, dwelling of the Irishman (g is dropped). For more derivations of Cornish surnames look here.

A famous descendant of the family and third cousin to me, was the Genealogist Leslie Gilbert PINE. He was a British author, lecturer, and researcher in the areas of genealogy, nobility, history, heraldry and animal welfare. A summary of his achievements and history is available here His maternal ancestry is available here

LUGG Family

The Lugg family on my paternal side originates from the West Penwith area but originally came from the parishes in the Lizard Peninsula mainly around St Keverne where the main concentration of the families seems to be. The derivation of the name is the celtic word for calf.

JACKSON Family of Bradford, Yorkshire and Natal, South Africa

I also wish to contact descendants of Robert Warrington JACKSON, after whom I was named. Robert Warrington JACKSON married Sarah Ann BILBROUGH in Bradford in 1862. Their eldest son, Fred, was born in Bradford and possibly their eldest daughter, Lillian. The family emmigrated to Pietermaritzburg, Natal, South Africa in the mid-1860's. Fred joined the Natal Carbineers at the start of the Anglo-Zulu War in 1878 and was killed at the Battle of Isandlwana on 22nd January 1879.

I hope you find the information useful and enjoy the site. If you have any suggestions or comments or would like to contact me then please e-mail me

If you find the information on the database useful and wish to make a donation towards the costs of maintaining this site then any donation would be gratefully received. You can make donations to me via PayPal. If you don't have an account it is free to setup.

Rob Oats
March 2009