Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Curtis Name
Curtis Surname Name Meaning, Origin, History, & Etymology
There are three origins theories or meanings of this Anglo-Norman last name. First, this last name developed as a nickname for a refined person, or a courteous person with manners, a polished person, or an educated or accomplished person, deriving from the Middle English and Old French curteis, courtois, or cortois, meaning “refined” or “accomplished”, ultimately deriving from the Old French word court. Second, it may have developed as a nickname for a short person or someone who more short stockings or socks, deriving from the Middle English word curt, meaning “short”, and hose, meaning leggings, the former being related to the German word kurtz (short). The name Curthose or Curmantle was given to King Henry II of England (1133-1189 AD) who introduced the fashion of wearing shorter mantles than had been previously popular throughout the land. Third, it is an alternative spelling of the French username Courtois. There is a village in Normandy, France named Les Courtis (meaning “The Gardens”) and it is believed this name came into the British Isle during the Norman Conquest of England in 1066 AD. It should also be noted that many Hungarian immigrants in English speaking nations with the surname Kertész have adopted the similarly sounding name Curtis as a means of assimilation and ease of pronunciation.
Some spelling variants or names with similar etymologies include Curteis, Curtiss, Curtice, Curteys,Curtois, Curtoys, Curtess, Courtis, Curties, Curtize, Curtase, Curtas, Courteys, Curtayse, Kertess, Curthoys, Cortes, and Cutise. It is said the Spanish equivalents if Cortez or Cortes.
Popularity & Geographic Distribution
The last name Curtis ranks 217th in popularity in the United Status as of the 2000 Census. The name ranks particularly high in the following five states: Maine, Utah, Michigan, Vermont, and Idaho.
The surname Curtis frequency/commonness ranks as follows in the British Isles: England (218th), Scotland (704th), Wales (155th), Ireland (526th) and Northern Ireland (1,006th). In England, it ranks highest in counties Wiltshire and Dorset. In Scotland, the surname ranks highest in county Kinross-shire. In Wales, it ranks highest in Glamorganshire and Monmouthshire. In Ireland, it ranks highest in Louth. In Northern Ireland, it ranks highest in county Down.
The name is also present throughout the remainder English speaking world: Canada (564th), New Zealand (279th), Australia (241st), and South Africa (1,765th).
The 1890 book Homes of Family Names by H.B. Guppy, states the following in regard to this surname: “Characteristic of the south, and east of England south of the Humber. Best represented in Bucks, and afterwards in Notts. This is an ancient English name, occurring, as it does now, in Bucks, Essex, and Lincolnshire in the reign of Edward I.; it was also at that time numerous in Cambridgeshire and Hunts”.
Early Bearers of the Surname
The earliest known bearers of this surname include Richard Curteis who was documented in the Pipe Rolls of Bedfordshire in 1166 AD and Curteis de Capella in the Pipe Rolls of Warwickshire in 1130 AD.
Richard Curtayse was recorded in county Northumberland in the fourteenth century in the Testa de Neville, sive Libert Feodorum. Robert Courteys was documented in county Somerset, England in Kirby’s Quest in 1327 AD. The Hundred Rolls of 1273 AD, a census of Wales and England, known in Latin as Rotuli Hundredorum lists five bearers of this surname: William le Curteis (Cambridge), Walter Curteys (Oxford), Osbert le Curteys (Essex), Henry Corteys (Devon), and Richard Corteys (Oxford). The Poll Tax of Yorkshire in 1379 AD two one bearers of this last name: Adam Curtase and Johannes Curtas. Early marriages involving this surname include William Curteys to Margery Baynerd in London in 1550 and James Curtis to Priscilla Braithwaite at St. Michael’s Cornhill in 1718. An early baptism involving this name was Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Curtys, at St. James Clerkenwell, London, in 1569 AD.
Curtis Family Tree & Curtis Genealogy
Curteis of Windmill Hill
The lineage begins with a family who settled in Kent, where the owned land as early as the 1200s AD. Thomas Curteys, of Appledore, the great-grandson of Stephen, married Joan, daughter and co-heir of Edward Twaights, Lord Warden of Cinque Ports. His son was William Curteis, who married Joan Buntinge, had issue with her as follows: William (of Tenterden) and Thomas (Mayor of Tenterden). He secondly married Joan Puttenden, of Biddenden, and two issue with her: Stephen and George (of Chart Sutton, High Sheriff of Kent 1651, married Bridget Knatchbull and later Mary Hales, had son named Sir George Curteis). He died in 1652. His eldest son, by his second wife, was Stephen Curteis, who was the Mayor of Tenterden in 1622. He married Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Edward Short of Heronden, and died in 1654. He was succeeded by his son, Samuel. This Samuel was of Heronden and he married Martha, daughter and co-heiress of John Porter of Fairlawn, and had a son with her named Edward. This Edward Curteis was Mayor of Tenterden in 1663, and he first married Dorothy Le Day of Nonington and secondly Grace Beilke of Wye. He had a son named Edward who married Frances, daughter of Thomas Burrell of Lindfield. His other son was Jeremey Curteis, Mayor of Tenterden. He married Sarah, daughter of Edward Wilmhirst of Caborough Rye, with whom he had three sons: Samuel, Jeremiah, and Edward. His son Edward was an Esquire of Tenterden, who in 1733, married Sarah, daughter of Richard Beale of Biddenden, and he had five issue with her: Jeremiah (his heir), Richard (married Mary Giles), William (married Elizabeth Whitfield), Mary (married George Jemmett of Ashford), and Sarah (married Thomas Jackson of Camberwell). His eldest son was Jeremiah, Esq. of Tenterden and Rye, who married Jane, daughter of Searles Giles of Biddenden and Mary Elwich. He had five issue: Edward Jeremiah (son and heir), Martha (married Robert Mascall of Ashford and Peasmarsh Place), Anne (married Samuel Russell Collet of the Jungle, Lincoln), Catherine Sarah (married John Luxford of Higham), and Jane. His son and heir, Edward Jeremiah Curteis, was an Esquire of Windmill Hill and Knells, Sussex, England who was born in 1762 and became a Member of Parliament for Sussex from 1820-1830. In 1789, he married Mary, only daughter and heiress of Reverend Stephen Barrett, Rector of Rothfield, Kent. He died in 1841, having left the following issue: Herbert Barrett (heir), Edward Barrett (of Leasham, Sussex, Justice of the Peace, Deputy Lieutenant, Member of Parliament for Rye, Major 7th Dragoon Guards, married Charlotte Lydia Hodges, had son named Edward Barrett Hodges, and later married Frances Kenrick, having issue with her named Anne Mary, Frances, Anne, Elizabeth, and Jane), Reginald (Captain 1st Royal Dragoons, married Frances Mary Reynolds, had issue named Reginald Lawrence Herbert, Mary Frances, and Mary Frances Ida), Mary Barrett (married Steuart Brone Inglis of the Cramond family), Jane Anne Elizabeth, Laura Charlotte (married William Henry Darby of Leap Castle, Ireland), Anne Katharine (married Colonel Charles William Elwood), Caroline Elinor (married John Graham of the Elms, Eastbourne Sussex), and Elizabeth Julia (married Sir Howard Elphinstone, M.P. for Hastings and Lewes). His eldest son was Herbert Barrett Curteis, Esq. of Windmill Hill, Peasmarsh Place, Herstmoneeux Place, and Knell, Sussex who was born in 1793, represented Sussex and East Sussex in Parliament from 1830 to 1837, and later for Rye from 1841 to 1846. In 1821, he married Caroline Sarah, daughter and co-heiress of Robert Mascall of Peasmarsh Place and Ashford. Their only child was Herbert Mascall Curteis. Herbert Masall Curteis was an Esquire of Windmill Hill and Herstmonceaux Place, Sussex, England who was born in Florence in 1823. He was a Member of Parliament for Rye. He succeeded his father in 1847. In 1848, he married Pauline, daughter of Reverend Sir Godfrey John Thomas, Baronet, and had the following children with her: Herbert (Justice of the Peace, born 1849), Robert Mascall, Caroline, Eliza Anne, Julia Isabella, John, Pauline, Katharine, and Charlotte Ellen. The Curteis Coat of Arms (mistakenly called the Curteis Family Crest) is blazoned in heraldry as follows: Argent, a chevron sable between three bull’s heads cabossed gules. Crest: A unicorn passant or, between four trees proper. Motto: Courtois sans bassesse. The family seat was Windmill Hill Place, Hailsham, Sussex, England.
Curtis of Cullands Grove
Sir Peter Curtis, 6th Baronet, of Cullands Grove, Middlesex, England was born in 1907 and served in the Shropshire Yeomanry and served in the Lancers and Pioneers Corps in World War II. He succeeded his relative in 1943. In 1934, he married Joan Margaret, daughter of Reginald Nicholson of Bereligh, and had two sons and two daughters with her as follows: William Peter, Anthony Charles, Rosemary Antonia Joan, and Fiona Mary. The Curtis genealogy goes back to James Curtis, of London, England, who was born in 1715, the son of James Curtis and Sarah Clowden. He married Mary, daughter of Timothy Tennat, and had issue with her as follows prior to his 1771 death: Timothy (of Hackney, married his cousin Elizabeth Wildbore of Norttingham, had issue), Sir Williams (1st Baronet), George (of Cardington, Bedfordshire, Captain H.E.I.C.S, who in 1787, married Anna Alicia, daughter of Edward Windsor of Tottenham, had issue), and Reverend Charles (Rector of St. Martin’s, Birmingham, England and of Solihull, Warwick, married Dorothy Wylde of Bell Broughton and later Sarah Wilkinson of London). His third son was Sir William Curtis, 1st Baronet, who was born in January 1752 and became a Baronet in December 1802. He was the Mayor of London, as well as a Member of Parliament for London, Bletchingley, and Hastings. In 1776, he married Anne, daughter of Edward Constanble. They had the following issue together: Sir William (2nd Baronet), Timothy Abraham (married Margaret Harriet Green of Poole and later Frances Pitt Constable, had issue named Major-General William Frederick), James Charles (Colonel of the Bengal Staff Corps, married Harriet Hamilton, had issue named George Arthur, Alfred William, and Grace), and Charles Berwick (married Henrietta Pearson of Croxall, had children named Charles William, and others). Sir William Curtis, 2nd Baronet, was born in March 1782. In 1803, he married Mary Anne, daughter of George Lear of Leystonestone, Essex, and had issue with her including: Sir William (3rd Baronet) and George Lear (married August Elizabeth Cotton, had issue including William Cotton). Generations down the Curtis family tree came Sir William Michael Curtis, 4th Baronet, Adj. and Q.M. Roy Defense Corps, Captain of the 4th Bn Glos. Regiment, who was a Justice of the Peace for Salop born in 1859. In 1887, he married Mabel, daughter of Sir Somerville A. Gurney, and had issue with her as follows: Constance Mabel (of Caynham Cottage, Ludlow, married Lionel Geroge Everson Harrisson of Easton Hall, Stamford, son of Captain George Alexander Harrisson), Victoria Margaret (married Lieutenant Colonel Richard Robinson Curling), Bettine Ariana (of Scrag Oak Manor, Wadhurst, married John William Robert Elphinstone and later Captain Henry Brierly), and Mary (married Captain James William Douglas Evans of the 21st Lancers). He died in 1916 and was succeeded by his cousin, Sir Edgar Francis Egerton Curtis, 5th Baronet, a Major who served in South Africa, as well as in Egypt and Palestine in World War I. In 1903, he married Madeline Cairns, daughter of C.W. Alexander of Lahore, India) and had issue with her named Winifred Lotus (of The Homestead, Park Road, Sandhurst, Camberley, Surrey, married Captain Allen Waiter Dolby of the Royal Berkshire Regiment, had children with him). He later married Ethel, widow of A.L. Warlow, and died in 1943. The Curtis Coat of Arms (sometimes incorrectly called the Curtis Family Crest) is blazoned in heraldry as follows: Paly of six, or and azure, a fesse chequy, argent and sable, on a canton, gules, a dragon’s wing, erect, of the third, in base a sword proper, pommel and hilt, of the first, surmounting a key in saltire, of the second. Crest: A ram’s head couped argent, surmounted by two branches of oak in saltire proper. Motto: Gradtim vincimus. They resided at Kimbridge House, Romsey, Hants, England.
Curtis of Gatcombe
The lineage of ancestry of this branch of the Curtis family tree begins with Roger Curtis of Downton, Wiltshire, England, who married Christabella Blachford, and prior to his death in 1791, had a son with her named Roger. This was Sir Roger Curtist, 1st Baronet, Knight, who was born in Hale, Wiltshire in 1746, and served in the Navy starting in 1762, having become a Post-Captain in 1777. He was Knighted for his distinguished service at Gibraltar and was created a Baronet in September 1794, for his heroic actions under Lord Howe in June of that year. He became a Rear Admiral in 1794 and a Vice-Admiral in 1799. In 1778, he married Sarah, daughter and co-heir of Matthew Brady, of Gatcombe House, Hampshire, with whom he had a daughter (name not stated) and two sons: Roger (Post-Captain of the Royal Navy born in 1801) and Sir Lucius Baronet (2nd Baronet). He died in 1816 and was succeeded by his only surviving son, Lucius. This Sir Lucius Curtis, 2nd Baronet, was Admiral of the Fleet, born in June of 1786. In 1811, he married Mary Figg, daughter of Moses Greetham of East Cossham, and had five sons and three daughters with her, including: Roger William (married E.B. Vicat and had sons with her named Lucius Irwine Curtis and Sir Arthur Colin, 3rd Baronet), Mary (married John King of Loxwood House), and Elizabeth Catherine (married Major Rodney Payne O’Shea). He died in 1869 and was succeeded by his grandson, Sir Arthur Colin Curtis, 3rd Baronet, who was born in Trinidad (a Caribbean Island) in 1858. In October 1880, he married Sarah Jessie, daughter of Alexander Dalrymple, and had issue with her including Roger Colin Molyneux (3th Baronet) and Frances Jessie Gladys (born 1882). He died in British, Columbia, Canada in 1898. He was succeeded by his son Roger. Sir Roger Colin Molyneux, 4th Baronet, of Gatcombe, Hans, was born in 1886. He served in World War I as a Captain of the R.A.SC. He was educated at Keble College Oxford and was H.M. Inspectors Board of Education. The Curtis Coat of Arms (mistakenly called the Curtis Family Shield or Family Crest) is blazoned in heraldry as follows: Per fesse, wavy, argent and able, in chief the rock of Gibraltar, surrounded by fortifications and the sea, and in base, three fleur-de-lis, of the first; on a canton, gules, a sword erect, proper, hilted and pommelled or, entwisted with a palm branch, vert. Crest: Out of a naval coronet, or, an arm, habited, azure, cuffed, argent, supporting a flag-staff, proper, thereon a flag, azure, charged with a wolf’s head, or; in the canton, gyronny of four, gules and azure, a cross, argent, all within a bordure, or. Motto: Per ardua. This family resided at Pool Cottage, Melborune, Derby, England, in the present day United Kingdom.
Other Curtis Pedigree & Family Trees
The earliest known progenitor of the family was Robert Curtis who was born in Gloucestershire, England in 1280 AD. He had a son named George who was born in Gloucestershire in 1305 AD. He married Mary Tress and had a son with her named Arthur. This Arthur Mapletoft Curteis was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England in 1335 AD. He had a son named John. This John Curteis was born in Leeds, England (modern day United Kingdom) around 1350. He married a woman named Anna and had a son with her named Stephen. His son Stephen Curtis was born in Kent in 1399 AD. He married Petronill Constable and had four sons with her: John, Richard, Reginald, and William. The following is a pedigree from his son Richard:
William Curtis (born in Nazeing, Essex, England, modern day United Kingdom around 1418 AD)
Richard Francis Curtis (born in Nazeing, England around 1440)
John Curtis Sr. (born in Nezeing, Essex in 1480)
John Curtis Jr. (born in Nazeing, Essex, England in 1514)
William Curtis (born in Nazeing, England before 1540)
Thomas Curtis (of Nazeing, Essex, born 1560)
Thomas Curtis (Nazeing, Essex, in 1594, later came to colonial America, married Elizabeth Salmon)
Joseph Curtis (born in Wethersfield, Connecticut in 1644)
David Curtis (born in Wethersfield, CT in 1682)
David Curtis Jr. (born in Wetherfield, Connecticut in 1709)
Ashbel Curtis (born in Woodbury, Connecticut in 1748)
Israel Curtis (born in Vermont in 1777)
Alan B. Curtis (born in Hinsdale, New York in 1823)
James Henry Curtis (born in Macomb County, Michigan in 1849)
James married Samantha Ann Wheeler and had a son with her named Dorothy Matilda who was born in 1879 and married James Jonathan Hayes and had issue with him.
Early American and New World Settlers
Thomas Curtise was recorded as living in Virginia (at Elizabeth Cittie) in February 1623. He came, at the age of 24, aboard the Flyinge Harte in 1621.
John Curtise or Curtis was recorded as living in Virginia in February 1623. He came, at the age of 22, aboard the Flyinge Harte in 1621.
Elizabeth Curtis, age 22, came to the Barbados aboard the Faulcon of London in April 1635.
Henry Curtis, age 27, came to New England aboard the Elizabeth & Ann in May 1635.
Joseph Curtis, age 21, came to Virginia aboard the Safety in August 1635.
William Curtis, age 22, came to Virginia aboard the George in August 1635.
James Curtis, age 18, came to St. Christopher’s aboard the Amitie in October 1635.
William Curtis came to New England in June of 1632.
The book Genealogical Guide to the Early Settlers, mentions 25 bearers of this last name:
1) Deodate Curtis, of Braintree, around 1643, had, son named Soloman, and with wife Rebecca, daughter named Ruth born in 1648.
2) Francis Curtis of Plymouth who, in 1671, he married Hannah Smith, had issue named John, Benjamin, Francis, Elizabeth, and Elisha.
3) George Curtis of Boston, freeman 1640, joined our church, called “servant to our teacher Mr. John Cotton”. He had a grant of lot for two years. He married at Muddy river
4) Henry Curtis of Watertown, 1636, a proprietor of Sudbury, married Mary, daughter of Nicholas Guy, had issue named Ephraim, John, and Joseph.
5) Henry Curtis of Windsor, who married May 1645, Elizabeth Abell, had issue named Samuel and Nathaniel. He moved to Northampton and died in 1661.
6) Henry Curtis of Boston, with wife Jane, had son named John born in July 1657.
7) Henry Curtis of Marblehead, perhaps went to Pemaquid, before 1674, where he had Henry Jr. in the same year and took the oath of fidelity.
8) John Curtis of Dover, admitted in 1656, but no more is written of him. He perhaps moved to Roxbury, MA.
9) John Curtis of Stratford, 1650-1685. One source says he came from Roxbury and had a son named John in 1642, but this is disputed. Another theory is that we was the son of widow Curtus, and he had a daughter named Elizabeth, who married the son of Governor Welles and had several children with him. He married Elizabeth, and had issue named John (1642), Israel (1644), Elizabeth (1647), Thomas (1649), Joseph (1650), Benjamin (1652), and Hannah (1654). He died in 1707 at the age of 96, leaving a widow named Margaret.
10) John Curtis of Topsfield, who in December 1672, married Sarah Locke, and was a freeman in 1690.
11) Nathaniel Curtis of Northampton, 1668, was a soldier, killed by Indians in September 1675 by Northfield. It is unknown who his father was.
12) Richard Curtis of Dorchester, 1642, a freeman in 1647, with wife Elizabeth, had issue named Elizabeth (born 1643). His wife died in May 1657 and he married Sarah and had two sons named Isaac (1658) and Joseph (1661).
13) Richard Curtis of Salem, had, with wife Sarah, Caleb, born 1646, had issue named Sarah (1650), Samuel (1651), Richard (1653), Sarah (1655), Hannah (1656), John (1659), John (1660), and Mary (1663).
14) Richard Curtis of Boston, 1657, married Sarah, likely the widow of John Strange
15) Zaacheus Curtis, of Salem, came aboard the James from Southampton in 1635 and was from Downton, Wiltshire, England. He had a grant of land in 1646, but was probably removed to Gloucester, there by wife Joan had Mary, born 1659. Of this name, ten had been graduated at Harvard, in 1834, and 19 in other New England colleges.
16) Richard Curtis of Marblehead, 1648, moved to Scituate, married in 1649, Ann, daughter of John Hallet and had issue Ann (1649), Elizabeth (1651), John (1653), Mary (1655), Martha (1657), Thomas (1659), Deborah (1661), and Sarah (1663). H died in 1693. His second wife was Lydia with whom he had Ann, Elizabeth Brooks (married Nathaniel), Mary Badcock, and Mary Clark (married Thomas).
17) Richard Curtis of Wallingford, had three sons (one named Isaac) and a daughter who married Nathaniel Howe. He died in 1681.
18) Samuel Curtis of Northampton, 1668
19) Theophilus Curtis of Woburn, freeman 1684
20) Thomas Curtis, of Wethersfield, an early settlers, had issue named John (1639), James (1641), Joseph (1644), Samuel (1646), Isaac (1647), Elizabeth, and Ruth. Elizabeth married John Stoddard in 1674. Ruth married Eleanur Kimberley, the Secretary of the Colony
21) Thomas Curtis, of York, moved to Scituate, had Elizabeth (1649), Samuel (1659), and Benjamin (1684).
22) William Curtis of Roxbury, 1632, came aboard the Lion, arriving at Boston, with wife Sarah, and children named Thomas, Mary, John, and Philp, freeman March, where he had further issue named Ellis, Hannah, Elizabeth, and Isaac. His daughter Hannah married William Geary in 1651. His daughter Elizabeth married, in 1649, John Newell. He died in 1672, the age of 80.
23) William Curtis of Stratford, 1642-1702, son of a widow Curtis that came from England with John and this son. His will lists children named Sarah (1642), Jonathan (1644), Joshua (1646), Daniel (1652), Elizabeth (1654), Ebenezer (1657), Zechariah (1659), Josiah (1662). His second wife was Sarah, widow of William Goodrich, but it is not believed he had children with her.
24) William Curtis of Scituate, 1643, brother of Richard, had issue named Joseph (1664), Benjamin (1666), William (1668), John (1670), Miriam (1673), Mehitable (1675), Stephen (1677), Sarah (1679), and Samuel (1681).
25) William Curtis of Salem, married a woman named Alice and had issue named Ann (1658), Sarah (1660), William (1662), Abigail (1664), John (1666), Elizabeth (1668), and Hannah (1670).
Other early settlers in eighteenth colonial America bearing this surname include Mark Curtis (Virginia 1703), Martha Curtis (Virginia 1705), Thomas Curtis (Virginia 1714), Isabella Curtis (Virginia 1717), and James Curtis (America 1764).
In Canada, John and Joseph Curtis were some of the earliest settlers bearing the name, both coming to the province of Nova Scotia in 1749. In Australia, one of the first bearers of this last name was William Curtis, a convict from Lancaster, England aboard the Asia in 1820, arriving in New South Wales (then a penal colony). In New Zealand, a one W.H. Curtis arrived at the Bay of Islands in 1836. In 1840, a family bearing this name arrived aboard the London, at the city of Wellington, including George, Priscilla, Priscilla Ann, and Henry Curtis.
Early Americans Bearing the Curtis Family Crest
Charles Bolton’s American Armory (1927) contains two entries for this surname:
1) Argent a chevron sable between three bulls’ heads cabossed [gules]. Crest: a unicorn trippant or in front of three trees. Motto: Gradatione vincimus. Notepaper Hon. Edwin Upton Curtis, mayor of Boston, etc. The bookplate of Ralph Wormeley Curtis bears the Wormeley arms.
2) Azure a fess dancetté between three ducal crowns or. Crest: a lion issuant proper supporting a shield of the arms. Old parchment said to have been brought over by Wm. Curtiss, 1632, of Stratford, Conn. on cover of “Curtiss Family,” 1903.
Crozier’s General Armory (1904) contains three entries for this name:
1) William Curtis of Roxbury, Massachusetts, 1623, from Canterbury, Kent, England. Arms: Ermine, a chevron sable between three fleur-de-lis or. Crest: An arm embowed, habited in mail holding in the hand proper a scimitar, hilt and pommel or. Motto: Velle bene facere.
2) William Curtis of Massachusetts, 1632, from Warwick, England. Arms: Argent a chevron between three bulls’ heads cabossed sable. Crest: A unicorn passant or, between two trees, leaved proper. Motto: Gradatim vincimus.
3) William Eleroy Curtis, Esquire, of Washington DC, bore the same arms as William of Roxbury.
Matthew’s American Armoury and Bluebook (1907) contains one entry for this name:
1) William Eleroy Curtis of Washington, DC, was born in Akron, Ohio in 1850. Her graduated from Western Reserve University and for the Commander to the Republicans of Central and South America, as well as a Special Envoy to both Spain and the Vatican. In December 1874, he married Cora, daughter of Simon Peter and Isabella Forbes (Leddell) Kepler of Erie, Pennsylvania, and had three issue with her as follows: George Kepler (1877), Eleroy (1879), and Elise Evans. He bore the following coat of arms: Ermine, a chevron sable between three fleurs-de-lis or. Crest: An arm embowed in armour holding in the hand proper a scimitar, hilt and pommel or. Motto: Velle bene Faccre. He was the son of Eleroy Curtis (D.D., 1818-1886) and Harriet Eliza Coe. He descended from William Curtis of Appledore, Canterbury, who came to Roxburgh, Massachusetts in 1632.
I have identified four Curtis family mottoes:
1) Per ardua (Through difficulties) (Curtis of Gatcombe)
2) Gradatim vincimus (We conquer by degrees)
3) Velle bene facere (To wish to do well)
4) Perseverando vinco (continuing master? Persevere?)
We have 19 coats of arms for the Curtis surname depicted here. These 19 blazons are from Bernard Burke’s book The General Armory of England, Ireland, and Scotland, which was published in 1848. The bottom of this page contains the blazons, and in many instances contains some historical, geographical, and genealogical about where coat of arms was found and who bore it. People with this last name that bore an Curtis Coat of Arms (or mistakenly called the Curtis Family Crest)
1) Griffin Curteys of East Imborne, Berkshire, granted 2 June 1560
2) John Curtis of London, son of William of Hatton, Warwick, confirmed 9 May 1632 (by R. St. George)
3) Richard Curtice or Curtneys, Bishop of Chichester, , 20 February 1569 by G. Dethick, Cooke, and Flower
4) Thomas Curtys, of London, alderman, 1557
There are hundreds of notable people with the Curtis surname. This page will mention a handful. Famous people with this last name include: 1) Charles Curtis (1860-1936) who was an American attorney who became the 31st Vice President of the United States under Herbert Hoover, having also been a Senator from Kansas, and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Kansas, 2) Benjamin Robbins Curtis (1809-1874) who was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1851-1857 who was born in Watertown, MA, the only Whig to ever be part of the court, 3) Clifton Garfield Curtis (1881-1943) who was a pitcher in Major League Baseball from 1909-1911, having player for four teams including the Boston Doves and Chicago Cubs, born in Delaware, Ohio, 4) Glenn Hammond Curtiss (1878-1930) who was an American pioneer in the field of aviation and is considered one of the founders of the aircraft industry, born in Hammonsport, New York, who formed the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company, which is now part of the Curtiss-Wright Corporation, 5) Ian Kevin Curtis (1956-1980) who was an English singer-songwriter who was the lead singer and lyricist of the famous band Joy Division, born in Stretford, Greater Manchester in 1956, 6) Heber Doust Curtis (1872-1942) who was an American astronomer born in Muskegon, Michigan who was part of 11 solar eclipse expeditions, 7) Jamie Lee Curtis (1958) who is an American actress born in Santa Monica, California who was known for her roles in horror films such as Halloween, The Dog, and Prom Night, later transitioning to other roles in movies such as True Lies and Freaky Friday, 8) John Calvin Curtis (1845-1917) who was a Lieutenant of the 9th Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Infantry during the American Civil War, having received a Medal of Honor, born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, 9) John Curtis (1880-1952) who was an Irish missionary of the Anglican Church, born in Dublin, who went to China and served as Bishop of Chekiang for over 20 years from 1929-1950, and 10) Samuel Ryan Curtis (1805-1886) who was an American General in the Union Army during the American Civil War, active in the Trans-Mississippi Theater, having been born in Champlain, New York.
1) (Gatcombe, co. Hants, bart.). Per fesse wavy ar. and sa. in chief the rock of Gibraltar surrounded by fortifications and the sea, and in base three fleurs-de-lis of the firt, on a canton gu. a sword erect ppr., hilted and pommelled or, entwisted with a palm branch vert. Crest—Out of a naval coronet or, an arm habitee az. cuffed ar. supporting a flag-staff ppr., thereon a flag also az. charged with a wolf's head of the second in the canton gyronny of four gu. and az. a white cross, all within a bordure gold. Motto—Per ardua.
2) (Cullands Grove, co. Middlesex, bart., created 1802). Paly of six or and az. a fesse chequy ar. and sa. in base a sword ppr. pommel and hilt of the first surmounting a key in saltier of the second, on a canton eu. a dragon’s wings erect of the third. Crest—A ram’s head couped ar. surmounted by two branches of oak in saltire ppr. Motto—Gradatim vincimus.
3) (London; confirmed 9 May, 1632). Az. a fesse dancettee betw. three ducal coronets or.
4) (Tuddenham Hall, co. Suffolk). Az. a chev. dancettee betw. three mural coronets or. Crest—A lion sejant ppr. supporting with his dexter paw a shield of the arms.
5) (East Cliff House, Teignmouth, co. Devon). Erm. a chev. sa. betw. three fleurs-de-lis or, quartering Savage, of Elmley Castle, co. Worcester. Crest—An arm embowed, habited in mail, holding in the hand ppr. a scimetar ar. hilt and pomel or. Another Crest—An arm erect habited in mail ppr. garnished ar. holding in the hand, also ppr. a sword of the last, hilt and pomel or. Motto—Velle bene facere.
6) Paly of six, or and az. a fesse countercompony of the same.
7) (Registered 8 Aug. 1712 to Robert Curtis of Roscrea, co. Tipperary, 61.P. for Duleek, Sic.). Barry of six or and az. on a fess chequy ar. and sa. three martlets of the first. Crest—A dolphin naiant az. pierced in the side with a feather or.
8) (Thornfield, co. Lancaster; Matthew Curtis, Esq.). Per saltire ar. and az. two horses’ heads erased in pale sa. and as many fleurs-de-lis in fesse of the first. Crest—In front of a horse’s head ar. holding in the mouth a fleur-de-lis az. a fasces fessewise ppr. Motto—Perseverando vinco.
9) (Appledore, co. Kent. The arma are recorded in an ancient pedigree of the family, under the sign and seal of Segar, Garter, transcribed by John Philipot, Blanche Lion, and also in several old MSS. in the Harleian Collection; they were remaining in glass in a window on the south side of Romney Church, in 1612, and are to be seen in the roof of the Cloisters of Christ Church, Canterbury). (Otterden Place, co. Kent, a branch of the family of Appledore: the heiress, Anna Curteis, to. 1st, Thomas, son of Sir George Wheler, Knt.; and 2ndly, Humphrey Walcot, Esq., of Sudbury, co. Salop). (formerly of Tenterden and Rye, now of Windmill Hill, co. Sussex, deriving from Stephen Corteis, Esq., Mayor of Tenterden, in 1622, youngest son of William Corteis, of Tenterden, and grandson of Thomas Curteis of Appledore). (Windmill Hill, co. Sussex). Ar. a chev. sa. betw. three bulls' heads, cabossed, gu. Crest—A unicorn pass, or, betw. four trees ppr.
10) (Canterbury). Same Arms, the chev. gu. Crest as last.
11) (Lord Mayor of London, 1557). Barry wavy of six ar. and sa. a chev. or, betw. three bezants, on a chief of the third two dolphins, in pale, endorsed, betw. as many anchors az.
12) (London). Barry wavy of six, ar. and sa. a chev. betw. three torteaux, on a chief az. two dolphins haurient, endorsed betw. as many anchors or.
13) Gu. a chev. vair betw. three bulls’ heads cabossed, ar. Crest—A wolf's head couped, ar. collared and spiked sa. chained or.
14) Sa. three barrulets wavy ar. betw. as many plates, on a chief or, two dolphins erect and endorsed, betw. as many anchors az.
15) Or, three mullets pierced gu.
16) or Curtois, or Curtoys - Sa. three fleurs-de-lis or. Crest—A demi husbandman vested az. holding over his shoulder an ox-yoke ppr.
17) (Somerleis and Dronfleld, co. Derby). Per sa. ar. and sa., four bears pass. counterchanged, in the centre a bezant.
18) or Curtiss, and Curteys - Az. a chev. dancettee, betw. three mural coronets or. Crest—A demi husbandman, holding over his shoulder a ploughshare ppr.
19) Sa. a fesse betw. three horses’ heads couped, ar. bridled gu.