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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Origins Available: English, French

Where did the English Courter family come from? When did the Courter family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Courter family history?

Courter is a name of ancient Anglo-Saxon origin and comes from the family once having lived at the court, a phrase which may have indicated either a large mansion or a tribunal. The prefix A was often dropped by the 13th century, when many branches of the family became known as Court. Some historians have suggested that certain variations of the name may be nicknames derived from the Old French and Old English word curt, meaning short or truncated. However, time has confused the different derivations, and it is now extremely difficult to tell which is appropriate to a given family or situation.


Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Courter family name include A'Court, Court, Courte, Couert, Covert, Courtie, Courts and many more.

First found in "Covert or Couert, Normandy, [who] held by the service of 1 fee of the barony or Braiose [Briouze]." [1] William de Braose (Briouze), First Lord of Bramber (died c. 1096) was granted extensive lands in Sussex by William the Conqueror. Accordingly, the Courter family held lands from him in Sussex. In 1107, William de Cuvert witnessed the foundation charter of Barnstaple and years later William Guvert (Cuvert) held a fee of ancient enfeoffment from William de Courcy in Somerset. [1]


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Courter research. Another 227 words (16 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Courter History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Courter Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Courter family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 35 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, Canada, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Courter surname or a spelling variation of the name include:

Courter Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Louis Courter, who landed in Louisiana in 1719

Courter Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Mrs. Courter, who settled in America, in 1906
  • Albert C. Courter, who emigrated to the United States, in 1910
  • Emily Courter, aged 33, who landed in America from Litchfield, England, in 1911
  • Mrs. R.L. Courter, aged 19, who emigrated to the United States, in 1911
  • Ray L. Courter, aged 25, who settled in America, in 1912


  • Gay Courter (b. 1944), American Pulitzer Prize nominated film writer, author, and novelist
  • Major General Amy S. Courter CAP (b. 1961), American former National Commander of the Civil Air Patrol
  • James Andrew "Jim" Courter (b. 1941), American Republican Party politician, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives for New Jersey



  1. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)

Other References

  1. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  4. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  5. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  6. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  7. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  8. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  9. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  10. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  11. ...

This page was last modified on 16 September 2015 at 11:00.

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