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 "denoting a man of good education." [1]. The name is derived from the Old French word curteis, which means refined or accomplished. [2]

"William de Curtis was of Normandy, 1180; Robert Curteis gave lands to Gloucester Abbey, temp. Rufus. William le Curteis, temp. Henry II., was a benefactor to West Dereham Abbey, Norfolk." [3]

Early Origins of the Curtis family

The surname Curtis was first found in Warwickshire where the name first appeared as a forename as in Curteis de Capella who was listed in the Pipe Rolls for 1130. By 1200, the Curia Regis Rolls listed Curteis de Catebr in Cambridgeshire and in Bedfordshire, Richard Curteis was found in the Pipe Rolls for 1166. The name was scattered throughout Britain since early times as Robert le Curteis was found in the Pipe Rolls for Devon in 1168 and Ralph le Curtoys was listed in the Pipe Rolls for Lincolnshire in 1230. Up in Yorkshire, John le Korteys was listed at Kirkstall in 1238 and in Sussex, John Corties was found in the Subsidy Rolls of 1327. [1]

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. [4] Over one hundred years later, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 lists Adam Curtase and Johannes Cartas. [4]

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. " [5]

The name is "best represented in Buckinghamshire, and afterwards in Nottinghamshire. This is an ancient English name, occurring, as it does now, in Buckinghamshire, Essex, and Lincolnshire in the reign of Edward I.; it was also at that time numerous in Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire. Characteristic of the south, and east of England south of the Humber." [6]

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, 1534, 1532, 1582, 1550, 1552, 1553, 1553, 1556, 1559, 1566, 1566, 1582, 1746, 1816, 1662, 1663, 1762, 1769, 1771, 1775, 1746, 1799, 1746, 1740, 1832, 1740, 1778, 1819 and 1818 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)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Robert Cottis, Scottish Prior of Restenneth (1531-1534.) Richard Curteys (1532?-1582), bishop of Chichester, was a native of Lincolnshire. He received his academical education at St. John's College, Cambridge, where he was elected to a scholarship on the Lady Margaret's foundation on 6 Nov. 1550. He proceeded B.A. in 1552-1553, was elected a fellow of his college on the Lady Margaret's foundation on 25 March 1553, and commenced M.A. in 1556. During the reign of Queen Mary he remained unmolested at the university. He was appointed senior fellow of his college on 22 July 1559...
Another 356 words (25 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Curtis Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Curtis World Ranking

In the United States, the name Curtis is the 270th most popular surname with an estimated 99,480 people with that name. [7] However, in Canada, the name Curtis is ranked the 573rd most popular surname with an estimated 8,662 people with that name. [8] And in Newfoundland, Canada, the name Curtis is the 200th popular surname with an estimated 210 people with that name. [9] Australia ranks Curtis as 234th with 14,625 people. [10] New Zealand ranks Curtis as 265th with 2,293 people. [11] The United Kingdom ranks Curtis as 214th with 26,880 people. [12]

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.
Another 93 words (7 lines of text) 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 [13]
  • Jon Curtis, who arrived in Virginia in 1634 [13]
  • Mr. Henry Curtis, (b. 1608), aged 27, British settler travelling from London, England aboard the ship "Elizabeth and Anne" arriving in Massachusetts Bay (Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire) in 1635 [14]
  • Mr. John Curtis, (b. 1614), aged 21, British settler traveling aboard the ship "Safety" arriving in Virginia in 1635 [15]
  • Jo Curtis, aged 20, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [13]
  • ... (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 [13]
  • Martha Curtis, who arrived in Virginia in 1705 [13]
  • Thomas Curtis, who landed in Virginia in 1714 [13]
  • Isabella Curtis, who landed in Virginia in 1717 [13]
  • James Curtis, who landed in America in 1764 [13]
  • ... (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 [13]
  • Antonio Curtis, aged 40, who arrived in New Orleans, La in 1829 [13]
  • Arthisa Curtis, aged 35, who landed in New Orleans, La in 1831 [13]
  • C Curtis, aged 46, who landed in Key West, Fla in 1846 [13]
  • Mr. S. Curtis, (b. 1814), aged 34, Cornish mechanic departing from Penzance aboard the ship "Mountaineer" arriving in the United States on 29th May 1848 [16]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Curtis Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Mr. John Curtis, (b. 1878), aged 22, Cornish miner travelling aboard the ship "New York" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 4th March 1900 [17]
  • Mr. John Curtis, (b. 1862), aged 42, Cornish miner travelling aboard the ship "Germanic" arriving at Ellis Island, New York on 12th September 1904 en route to Negaunee, Michigan, USA [17]

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 [18]
  • Mr. Ebenezer Curtis U.E. who settled in New Brunswick c. 1783; member of the Cape Ann Association [18]
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
  • Mr. John Curtis, (b. 1775), aged 28, British convict who was convicted in Somerset, England for life for house breaking, transported aboard the "Calcutta" in February 1803, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, the settlement was listed as abandoned and most of the convicts transported to Tasmania on the "Queen" in 1804 [19]
  • Miss Esther Curtis, British Convict who was convicted in Liverpool, Merseyside, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Experiment" on 4th December 1803, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [20]
  • Mr. Joseph Curtis, (b. 1796), aged 20, English seaman who was convicted in Middlesex, England for life for burglary, transported aboard the "Atlas" on 16th January 1816, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [21]
  • Mr. Felix Curtis, British Convict who was convicted in Essex, England for life, transported aboard the "Coromandel" on 27th October 1819, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [22]
  • William Curtis, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia [23]
  • ... (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 [24]
  • Major-General Edward Peck Curtis (1897-1987), American Chief of Staff, US Strategic Air Forces Europe (1944-1945) [25]
  • Major-General Charles Clarence Curtis (1893-1960), American Commanding Officer 33rd Coast Artillery Brigade (1941-1943) [26]
  • ... (Another 193 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Grover Shoe factory
  • Miss Mary J. Curtis, American employee of the Grover Shoe factory in Brockton, Massachusetts on 20th March 1905 when the boiler exploded and collapsed the wooden building; she died [27]
Halifax Explosion
  • Mrs. Mary  Curtis, Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [28]
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 [29]
  • 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 [29]
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 [30]
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 [31]
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 [32]
Senghenydd colliery
  • Mr. Samuel Curtis (b. 1888), Welsh coal miner from Senghenydd, Caerphilly, Wales who was working at the Senghenydd colliery when there was an explosion on the 14th October 1913; he died
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 [33]
  • 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 [33]


Suggested Readings for the name Curtis +

  • 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. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. 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. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  6. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  7. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  8. ^ https://forebears.io/surnames/
  9. ^ The order of Common Surnames in 1955 in Newfoundland retrieved on 20th October 2021 (retrieved from Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland by E.R. Seary corrected edition ISBN 0-7735-1782-0)
  10. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  11. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  12. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  13. ^ 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)
  14. ^ Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600's retrieved 24th September 2021. (Retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  15. ^ Pilgrim Ship's of 1600's (Retrieved October 5th 2021, retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  16. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to New York 1820 - 1891 [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_new_york_1820_1891.pdf
  17. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_ellis_island_1892_on.pdf
  18. ^ 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
  19. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/calcutta
  20. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 22nd March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/coromandel-and-experiment
  21. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th July 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/atlas
  22. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 12th March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/coromandel
  23. ^ 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
  24. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, November 23) James Curtis. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Curtis/James_Washington/USA.html
  25. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, November 23) Edward Curtis. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Curtis/Edward_Peck/USA.html
  26. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, November 23) Charles Curtis. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Curtis/Charles_Clarence/USA.html
  27. ^ California Digital Newspaper from 21st March 1905 (retrieved on 5th August 2021.) Retrieved from https://cdnc.ucr.edu/?a=d&d=SFC19050321.2.19&e=-------en--20--1--txt-txIN--------1
  28. ^ 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
  29. ^ HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from http://www.findingsydney.com/roll.asp
  30. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  31. ^ 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
  32. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html
  33. ^ 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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