The epic adaptation of the Winston Graham novels about Ross Poldark has, finally, come back to our televisions on Sunday nights. Set in Cornwall, they portray brooding Ross Poldark’s shenanigans with his mine business, and relationships.
But what of the surname Poldark? Is it really a Cornish name? Well no, is the short answer. Searches of records of General Registration for the 19th century do not find one reference to the surname whatsoever, in Cornwall or otherwise.
Similarly, searches of the International Genealogical Index, being transcripts of registers of parishes across every county in England, reveals no reference to the surname at all. The closest to the surname are some sixteenth century isolated examples of variants including Poltord, Poltrid and Paltork.
A similar situation emerges when considering the surname of Ross Poldark’s arch rival, George Warleggan. Warleggan just does not appear as a surname within modern genealogical sources, or indeed within the International Genealogical Index. Variants that do emerge include Worlech, Worlock and Warling, although it appears that in the end both Warleggan and Poldark were created for Graham’s books.