Cortright History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Cortright is rooted in the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. It is a name for someone who worked as a maker of carts, and wheels. The name has its origins in the Old English word craet, which means cart, and the Old English word wyrtha, which means wright or maker, thereby denoting one who was the maker of carts or wagons. [1]

The name could also have been "from Cauterêts; a location name in Normandy Cateray in Roll of Battell Abbey. De Ceterith, a tenant in chief in the Domesday Book. " [2]

Another source notes the family is "armorially identified with Cateryke, or Catherick (Robson). Catherick was part of the demesne of the Earls of Richmond, and the surname therefore probably arose from tenure of the office of Seneschal by a branch of a neighbouring family. The arms (a fesse) are those of the adjoining family of De Smythton or Eschalers, with three cinquefoils for difference, which were afterwards corrupted into ‘roses', 'Catherine wheels', and ‘fire-balls with rays.’ Of this family Ilbert de Catherege, or Catherage (a form of Catheric), occurs in Normandy, 1180-98 (Magni Rotuli Scaccarii Normanniae); which shows the Norman origin of the family. A branch long remained at Stanwick, in Richmondshire, close to Catterick. Another branch was seated in Notts, and one in Cambridge; and the name there changed from Cateryke to Cartwright." [3]

Early Origins of the Cortright family

The surname Cortright was first found in Yorkshire where early rolls listed the name as a profession and a surname. The Poll Tax of Howdenshire (East Riding of Yorkshire) listed Robert le Cartwright. B. Johannes Toppe, cartwryght. In the same year the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls listed: Magota Cartwryght; Henriciis Wryght, catrwryght (sic); Johannes Warde, cartwright; Johannes Percivale, cartwryght and Geoffrey Cartewirght. [4]

Early History of the Cortright family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cortright research. Another 119 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1273, 1755, 1535, 1603, 1602, 1658, 1634, 1676, 1659, 1634, 1689, 1686, 1661, 1661, 1611, 1643, 1611, 1686, 1635 and 1703 are included under the topic Early Cortright History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cortright Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Cortright are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Cortright include: Cartwright, Cartright, Cartwrite, Carthright, Kartwright, Kartright, Cartrite, Kartwrite, Chartwright, Cartrite, Catherick, Cartrait, Cartray, Ceterith, Cateray, Cautheret, Carterwright, Carterright, Carterrite, Chartright, Chartwright, Cardwright and many more.

Early Notables of the Cortright family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Thomas Cartwright (1535-1603), described by Strype (Annals, ii. i. c. 1) as 'the head and most learned of that sect of dissenters then called Puritans,' was a native of Hertfordshire, but his place of birth is not recorded." [5] Christopher Cartwright (1602-1658), was an English divine, born in the parish of St. Michael-le-Belfry, York. He was a Hebraist and used targums in Biblical exegesis, following the lead of Henry Ainsworth with John Weemes. [5] William Cartwright (1634-1676), was an English politician who sat in the House of Commons in 1659; Thomas Cartwright (1634-1689), was an...
Another 140 words (10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cortright Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Cortright migration to the United States +

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Cortright or a variant listed above:

Cortright Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Nancy R. Cortright, aged 22, who immigrated to the United States, in 1908
  • William S. Cortright, who landed in America, in 1911
  • Mrs. William S. Cortright, who settled in America, in 1911
  • Len John Cortright, aged 28, who immigrated to the United States, in 1918

Contemporary Notables of the name Cortright (post 1700) +

  • Ion John Cortright (1889-1961), American college football player and coach
  • Major General Stephen Phelps Cortright USAF (b. 1941), American military officer and attorney, Adjutant General of Oklahoma
  • David Cortright, American scholar and peace activist, Director of Policy Studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies
  • Edgar Maurice Cortright (b. 1923), American scientist and engineer, former senior official at the NASA, Chairman of the Apollo 13 Review Board


  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York, Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print


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