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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2014

Where did the French Contens family come from? What is the French Contens family crest and coat of arms? When did the Contens family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Contens family history?

The French family name Contens is a patronymic name, derived from the Christian name of the bearer's father. The name is ultimately derived from the Latin name "Constans," which meant "steadfast" or "faithful." As a surname it seems to have developed independently in various regions of France including, Languedoc, Brittany, Anjou, Touraine, and Poitou.

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French surnames were subject to numerous spelling alterations depending on the region and time it was used. The early development of the French language relied heavily on borrowing elements and grammar from other languages. For example, Old French was infused with Germanic words and sounds when barbarian tribes invaded and settled in France after the fall of the Roman Empire. Middle French also borrowed heavily from the Italian language during the Renaissance. As a result of these linguistic and cultural influences, the name Contens is distinguished by a number of regional variations. The many spelling variations of the name include Constans, Constan, Constant, Constanc, Constance, Consten, Constens, Constense, Constence, Constanse, Constane, Constene, Constante, Contans, Contan, Contant, Contance, Conten, Contens, Contense, Contence, Contanse, Contane, Contene and many more.

First found in Languedoc, where the earliest known bearers of this name are thought to have originated. However, the Contens name was found in several regions from quite early times, with several different, perhaps even unrelated families taking on the surname. There was a noble family of feudal lords bearing the name in Poitou in the thirteenth century, and later, in the fifteenth century, there was another prominent family of that name among the nobility who held large fiefs in Brittany.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Contens research. Another 259 words(18 lines of text) covering the years 1770 and 1800 are included under the topic Early Contens History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 20 words(1 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Contens Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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In 1643, 109 years after the first landings by Cartier, there were only about 300 people in Quebec. Migration was slow. The fur trade attracted migrants, both noble and commoner. By 1675, there were 7000 French in Quebec. By the same year the French Acadian presence in the Maritimes had reached 500. The French founded Lower Canada, thus becoming one of the two great founding nations of Canada. The family name Contens has made many distinguished contributions in France and New France to the world of science, culture, religion, and education. Amongst the settlers in North America with this distinguished name Contens were Elizabeth Constant, who settled in Virginia in 1663; Louis Constant, aged 8; settled in New York in 1820; Martial Constant, aged 45; settled in New Orleans in 1820.

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  1. Annuaire Général Héraldique Universel. Paris: Institut Héraldique, 1901. Print.
  2. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  3. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  4. Bentley, Elizabeth P. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of New York 1820-1829. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1999. Print.
  5. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  6. Rupp, Daniel L. A Collection of Upwards of Thirty Thousand Names of German, Swiss, Dutch, French and Other Immigrants to Pennsylvania from 1727 to 1776. Baltimore. Print.
  7. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  8. De Ville, Winston. Gulf Coast Colonials, A Compendium of French Families in Early Eighteenth Century Louisiana. Baltimore, MD: Clearfield, 1999. Print.
  9. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  10. D'Hozier Charles. Armorial Général de France. Paris: Dillon, 1875. Print.
  11. ...

The Contens Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Contens Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 27 October 2010 at 13:28.

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