Curtis History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Curtis reached English shores for the first time with the ancestors of the Curtis family as they migrated following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The name Curtis is based on refined or educated person. Further research revealed that the name is derived from the Old French word curteis, which means refined or accomplished. [1]

Early Origins of the Curtis family

The surname Curtis was first found in Warwickshire but the name was scattered throughout Britain since early times. By example, the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 lists: William le Curteis in Cambridgeshire; Walter Curteys in Oxfordshire; Osbert le Curteys in Essex; Henry Corteys in Devon; and Richard le Corteys in Oxfordshire. [2] Over one hundred years later, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 lists Adam Curtase and Johannes Cartas. [2]

We found this interesting entry for one the family in the town of Lostwithiel, Cornwall: "The church contains a memorial for Tristram Curtys, Esq. who died in the year 1423. This family, which is now extinct, occasionally represented this borough from the reign of Edward I. to that of Henry V. Tristram Curtys was member for Lostwithiel in the 9th of Henry V. Leland speaks of his descendant as having 100 marks of land, between Blowgham and Penknek, by Lostwithiel. " [3]

Early History of the Curtis family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Curtis research. Another 161 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1130, 1168, 1531 and 1534 are included under the topic Early Curtis History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Curtis Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries. For that reason, spelling variations are common among many Anglo-Norman names. The shape of the English language was frequently changed with the introduction of elements of Norman French, Latin, and other European languages; even the spelling of literate people's names were subsequently modified. Curtis has been recorded under many different variations, including Curtis, Curtiss, Curtyss, Curtys, Curtess, Curtes, Cortes, Cortis and many more.

Early Notables of the Curtis family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the Curtis family to Ireland

Some of the Curtis family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Curtis migration to the United States +

To escape the uncertainty of the political and religious uncertainty found in England, many English families boarded ships at great expense to sail for the colonies held by Britain. The passages were expensive, though, and the boats were unsafe, overcrowded, and ridden with disease. Those who were hardy and lucky enough to make the passage intact were rewarded with land, opportunity, and social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families went on to be important contributors to the young nations of Canada and the United States where they settled. Curtiss were some of the first of the immigrants to arrive in North America:

Curtis Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Curtis, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1632 [4]
  • Jon Curtis, who arrived in Virginia in 1634 [4]
  • Jo Curtis, aged 20, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [4]
  • Eliz Curtis, who arrived in Virginia in 1636 [4]
  • Henry Curtis, who settled in Sudbury in 1636
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Curtis Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Mark Curtis, who landed in Virginia in 1703 [4]
  • Martha Curtis, who arrived in Virginia in 1705 [4]
  • Thomas Curtis, who landed in Virginia in 1714 [4]
  • Isabella Curtis, who landed in Virginia in 1717 [4]
  • James Curtis, who landed in America in 1764 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Curtis Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Francisco Curtis, aged 32, who landed in New Orleans, La in 1829 [4]
  • Antonio Curtis, aged 40, who arrived in New Orleans, La in 1829 [4]
  • Arthisa Curtis, aged 35, who landed in New Orleans, La in 1831 [4]
  • C Curtis, aged 46, who landed in Key West, Fla in 1846 [4]
  • A Curtis, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Curtis migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Curtis Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • John Curtis, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Joseph Curtis, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • William Curtis, who arrived in Anapolis (Annapolis), Nova Scotia in 1760
  • Mr. Andrew Curtis U.E. who settled in New Brunswick c. 1783, listed as signing the Quaker Loyalist agreement [5]
  • Mr. Ebenezer Curtis U.E. who settled in New Brunswick c. 1783; member of the Cape Ann Association [5]
Curtis Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Truman Meeds Curtis, who landed in Canada in 1830
  • John Curtis, who landed in Canada in 1831
  • Patrick Curtis, aged 25, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Cupid" in 1834
  • Mary Curtis, aged 24, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Cupid" in 1834
  • William Curtis, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1840
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Curtis migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Curtis Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William Curtis, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia [6]
  • John Curtis, English convict from Norfolk, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on July 3, 1822, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [7]
  • James Curtis, a tanner, who arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • William Curtis, English convict from Gloucester, who was transported aboard the "Andromeda" on October 16, 1826, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [8]
  • Mr. Joseph Curtis, British convict who was convicted in Essex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Henry Tanner" on 27th June 1834, settling in New South Wales, Australia [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Curtis 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:

Curtis Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • W H Curtis, who landed in Bay of Islands, New Zealand in 1836
  • George Curtis, aged 34, a millwright, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "London" in 1840
  • Priscilla Curtis, aged 36, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "London" in 1840
  • Priscilla Ann Curtis, aged 9, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "London" in 1840
  • Henry Curtis, aged 7, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "London" in 1840
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Curtis (post 1700) +

  • Jamie Lee Curtis (b. 1958), American BAFTA Award, Golden Globe and Saturn Award winning movie actress who received a Golden Globe and a People's Choice Award for her portrayal of Hannah Miller on the ABC sitcom Anything But Love (1989–1992), daughter of Tony Curtis
  • James Michael "Mike" Curtis (1943-2020), American NFL football player for the Baltimore Colts, the Seattle Seahawks and the Washington Redskins from 1965 to 1978
  • Robert Curtis Jr. (1990-2017), American football and basketball player
  • Charles "Chuck" Curtis (1935-2016), American college and NFL football coach, head coach at the University of Texas at Arlington
  • Alan Curtis (1934-2015), American harpsichordist, musicologist, and conductor of baroque opera
  • Thomas Curtis (1872-1944), American one time Olympic gold medalist for Athletics during the 1896 games
  • Chet Curtis (1939-2014), born Chester Kukiewicz, American newscaster in Boston, inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2013
  • Brigadier-General James Washington Curtis (1888-1979), American Chief of Staff Headquarters Replacement & School Command [10]
  • Major-General Edward Peck Curtis (1897-1987), American Chief of Staff, US Strategic Air Forces Europe (1944-1945) [11]
  • Major-General Charles Clarence Curtis (1893-1960), American Commanding Officer 33rd Coast Artillery Brigade (1941-1943) [12]
  • ... (Another 190 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Halifax Explosion
  • Mrs. Mary  Curtis, Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [13]
HMAS Sydney II
  • Mr. Clifford Leslie James Curtis (1919-1941), Australian Wireman from Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [14]
  • Mr. Richard Curtis (1908-1941), Australian Petty Officer from Alphington, Victoria, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [14]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Richard Curtis, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [15]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Herbert Henry Warwick Curtis (1908-1939), British Petty Officer Cook with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [16]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Arthur Curtis (d. 1912), aged 25, English Fireman/Stoker from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [17]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Lyle Carl Curtis, American Radioman Second Class from Wisconsin, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [18]
  • Mr. Lloyd B. Curtis, American Seaman First Class from Missouri, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [18]


Suggested Readings for the name Curtis +

  • 250 "Ancestors and Descendants of James Curtis of Bristol, Maine, and Noah Curtis of Woodstock, Maine" by Harold Curtis Pickwick, "A Family Named Curtis: Descendants of Thomas Curtis of Wethersfield, Connecticut, 1598-1982" by Rose Mary Goodwin.

  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  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. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  4. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  5. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  6. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1820 with 192 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1820
  7. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Arab voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1822 with 155 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/arab/1822
  8. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Andromeda voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1826 with 147 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/andromeda/1826
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th January 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/henry-tanner
  10. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, November 23) James Curtis. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Curtis/James_Washington/USA.html
  11. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, November 23) Edward Curtis. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Curtis/Edward_Peck/USA.html
  12. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, November 23) Charles Curtis. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Curtis/Charles_Clarence/USA.html
  13. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance
  14. ^ HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from http://www.findingsydney.com/roll.asp
  15. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  16. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html
  17. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html
  18. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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