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.
Early Origins of the Contens family
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.
Early History of the Contens family
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Contens Spelling Variations
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.
Early Notables of the Contens family (pre 1700)
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Migration of the Contens family to the New World and Oceana
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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