Cotentin History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The French family name Cotentin 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.

Early Origins of the Cotentin family

The surname Cotentin was first found in Languedoc, where the earliest known bearers of this name are thought to have originated. However, the Cotentin 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.

Walter Coutances (de Constantiis), (d. 1207), was "Bishop of Lincoln and Archbishop of Rouen, and is said to have been of English birth, the son of Rainfred and Gonilla; John de Schalby, in his compilation from the Lincoln records, states that he was a native of Cornwall. He may have been called of Coutances as he was sprung from the house of Corineus, the fabulous Trojan immigrant into Cornwall. He was clerk to Henry II and his eldest son, and is styled chaplain of Blythe. " [1]

Early History of the Cotentin family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cotentin research. Another 214 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1770 and 1800 are included under the topic Early Cotentin History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cotentin Spelling Variations

One can encounter great variation in the spelling of French surnames; in part, as spelling, and the spelling names was not yet standardized during the early development of the written French language. Later, there was much branching and movement of families, and spellings would change according to region. Variations of the name Cotentin 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 Cotentin family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Cotentin Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Cotentin family

French settlers came early to North American, following in the wake of the explorers, and creating New France. Quebec City, founded in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain is said to have been the first American site founded as a permanent settlement, rather than as just a commercial outpost. But emigration was slow, in 1643, 109 years after the first landings by Cartier, there were only about 300 French people in Quebec, and by 1663, when the region was officially made The Royal Colony of New France, by Louis XIV, there still only around 500 settlers. Over 2,000 would arrive during the next decade. Early marriage was desperately encouraged amongst the immigrants. Youths of 18 took fourteen-year-old girls for their wives. The fur trade was developed and attracted immigrants, both noble and commoner from France. By 1675, there were around 7000 French in the colony, and by that same year the Acadian presence in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island had reached 500. In 1755, 10,000 French Acadians refused to take an oath of allegiance to England and were deported to Louisiana. Despite the loss of the Colony to England, the French people flourished in Lower Canada. Among settlers to North America of the Cotentin surname 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.



  1. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print


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