Show ContentsColette History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Anglo-Saxon name Colette comes from the given name Nicholas. A common diminutive of the name Nicholas was Col and Ard was a Norman French suffix that meant son of. "William Colet was resident in Normandy 1180-95 (Mag. Rot. Scac.); Humphry and William Colet in 1198." 1

Alternatively, the name could have been an occupational name for a "colet, or acolyte, [one] who waited upon the priest and assisted in carrying the bread and wine, in lighting the candles, and performing all subordinate duties.' 2

Early Origins of the Colette family

The surname Colette was first found in Oxfordshire where "the Colletts of this county are mostly found in the Oxford district. The name of Collet was represented in Oddington in the reign of Elizabeth. In the 13th century Colet was an Oxfordshire, Shropshire, and a London name. The "colet" was the old English form of "acolyte," a church servant, and it is remarkable that, as a rule, the homes of the Colletts are, or have been, in the vicinity of ecclesiastical centres." 3

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included: Colett de Sautre, Huntingdonshire; Walter Colet, Salop (Shropshire); and Dyonisia Colet, Oxfordshire and later the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed

Coleta Elot; Henricus Tayllour, et Collette uxor ejus; and Johannes Colet. 2

Early History of the Colette family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Colette research. Another 151 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1202, 1273, 1433, 1467, 1480, 1486, 1505 and 1519 are included under the topic Early Colette History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Colette Spelling Variations

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Colette has appeared include Collett, Colett, Collet, Coullet, Caullet, Cowlett, Cowllett, Colleyt, Coulett, Caulett, Caullett, Coullett, Collette, Colette, Collete and many more.

Early Notables of the Colette family

Notables of the family at this time include John Colet (1467-1519), a humanist and divine, a friend of Erasmus who helped bring the new learning to England. He was the Dean of St. Paul's, and founder of...
Another 37 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Colette Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Colette Ranking

In France, the name Colette is the 9,574th most popular surname with an estimated 500 - 1,000 people with that name. 4

New Zealand Colette migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Colette Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Emile Colette, (b. 1845), aged 29, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Dorette" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 14th April 1874 5

Contemporary Notables of the name Colette (post 1700) +

  • Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (1873-1954), known mononymously as Colette, a French author and woman of letters, best known in the English-speaking world for her 1944 novella Gigi, which was the basis for the 1958 film and the 1973 stage production of the same name
  • Sidonie Gabrielle Claudine Colette (1873-1954), French novelist
  • Dr. Moira Colette Carter M.B.E., Scottish former Associate Director for Donor and Transport Services at Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service, was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire on 29th December 2018 for services to Blood Transfusion 6
  • Ms. Ann Colette Connor O.B.E., British Education Adviser for Department for Education, was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire on 29th December 2018 for services to Education by Her Majesty The Queen 6
  • Colette Goossens (b. 1942), Belgian former swimmer, she competed at the 1956 Summer Olympics
  • Colette Maze (1914-2023), French pianist, at age 107, she released an album with recordings of Debussy, making her one of the oldest recording pianists in the world
  • Colette Privat (1925-2021), French politician, Member of the French Communist Party who represented the Seine-Maritime department in the National Assembly (1978-1981)
  • Mrs. Colette Margaret Catherine Cunningham B.E.M., British Director for Scottish North American Business Council and Events Manager for CBI Scotland was appointed the British Empire Medal on 8th June 2018, for services to Business and Public Service 7
  • Colette Lorand (b. 1923), Swiss operatic soprano, she made her debut as Gounod's Marguerite in 1945
  • Colette Chaigneau, French teacher and former deputy, La Rochelle

  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)
  2. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  5. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  6. "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018,
  7. "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62310, 31 October 2019 | London Gazette, The Gazette, June 2018, on Facebook