What is the origin of the last name Curtis?

The surname Curtis derives from the medieval given name "Curtis," which originated as a byname from the Old French word "curteis" meaning courteous or well-mannered. This name was introduced to England by the Normans after the 1066 Norman Conquest, and it was commonly used as both a personal name and a surname. Over time, the surname Curtis spread throughout England, Europe, and later to other parts of the world through migration and colonization.

Countries of origin for the last name Curtis

The last name Curtis has a rich and fascinating history with roots dating back to medieval England. It is derived from the Old French personal name “Curteis,” meaning “courteous” or “polite.” The name was likely bestowed as a nickname on someone who exhibited these qualities.

One of the earliest recorded instances of the surname Curtis can be found in the Domesday Book of 1086, where it appears as “Curteis” and “Curtus.” The book was a comprehensive survey of landownership in England commissioned by William the Conqueror. This suggests that the Curtis name was already established by the late 11th century.

During the Middle Ages, the Curtis surname became more prevalent, with various spellings emerging over time, including Curteys, Curtys, and Curtiss. It is worth noting that the spelling of surnames was not standardized during this period, and variations occurred due to factors such as regional dialects and the limited literacy of the time.

The Curtis name gained further prominence during the age of exploration and colonization. Records indicate that individuals with the Curtis surname played significant roles in these endeavors, particularly in America. One notable figure was John Curtis, an early settler in Massachusetts who arrived aboard the Mary and John in 1630. His descendants branched out and became influential in various fields, including politics, arts, and sciences.

The meaning of the surname Curtis remains consistent across different regions and time periods. It signifies a person of good manners, politeness, and courtesy. These qualities are reflective of the medieval usage of the name as a nickname for someone who displayed such characteristics. Over time, the Curtis surname has evolved into a distinct identity, deeply rooted in the heritage of those who bear it.

While the historical facts about the Curtis last name provide a comprehensive understanding of its origins and usage, there are still intricacies and individual stories waiting to be discovered. Further research into specific branches of the Curtis family tree may uncover additional details and shed light on the diverse experiences of those who carried this surname through the generations.

Interesting facts about the last name Curtis

  • The surname Curtis is of English origin and derived from the Old French word “curteis,” which means courteous or polite.
  • The name Curtis was first recorded in England in the Domesday Book of 1086, indicating its early usage and long history.
  • In medieval times, the name Curtis was commonly used to describe someone who lived near a court or resided in a manor house.
  • The surname Curtis has variant spellings, including Curtiss and Curtys, which can be found in different regions and time periods.
  • Famous individuals with the surname Curtis include the American actor Tony Curtis, known for his roles in classic films like “Some Like It Hot” and “Spartacus.”
  • The Curtis family name is associated with various Coat of Arms designs, symbolizing different aspects such as nobility and bravery.
  • During the 19th and 20th centuries, many individuals with the surname Curtis migrated to the United States from England in search of new opportunities and a better life.
  • Curtis is a moderately common surname in the English-speaking world, ranking 194th in the United States and 266th in England according to surname distribution data.
  • The name Curtis has also been used as a given name, with notable bearers including the American musician Curtis Mayfield and the British-born Canadian novelist Curtis Parkinson.

Name Rank


There are around 101801 people with the last name Curtis in the US

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