Last name: Cotter

This is an interesting example of an Old English status name, here from the Middle English word "cotter", a technical term of the feudal system for a serf or bond tenant, a villein who hold a cottage by labour-service rather than by paying rent. The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th Century word "cot", meaning cottage or hut and the term "cotarius" is found in the Domesday Book of 1086. The name is also found on the Isle of Man and in County Cork, (Ireland). Here it is an anglicization of the Gaelic "Mac Oitir", Son of Oitir, a personal name from the Old Norse "Otti", fear, or dread and "herr" army. One Garrett Cotter was appointed "secretary and Marshall of the Islands of Nevis, Teago and Mountserrat" in the West Indies in 1678. Interesting namebearers include one George Sackville Cotter (1755-1831) who was educated at Westminster School and Peterhouse, Cambridge, 1779 and translated "Terence" 1826, and "Platus" 1827; Patrick Cotter (1761-1806) was a bricklayer who exhibited himself as a giant in Great Britain under the name "O'Brien" (1779-1804). His height is sometimes given as eight feet. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert le Cotier, which was dated 1198, in the "Sussex Pipe Rolls", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

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Jeff Letson
I have been able to confirm that my family originated from Belfast area and that my name seems to be common, as in the are several Jeff Letson's in the US, and one in Australia. Cannot find further information. Thought maybe you could point out some directions, . Thanks!

Danette Monahan

I am looking for any history regarding the name Monahan. I believe it was originally Monaghan and was changed when my ancestors move to the US from Ireland.

Michalene Lannen

We are searching the the Lann*n's that lived in County Louth from around 1780 until immigration to the US in the 1840's. We have discovered nothing that gives us definitive proof of 'our family'. We know they did come from County Louth as their headstones say Louth. There mothers headstone says she was from the Parish of Proleek ~ County Armagh & that her maiden name was Maguinness [spelled many many different ways]!!!

Michelle Leo
Looking for Surname Kehoe that came from County Cork. I also have Delia Spode and Charles Spode from Donegal as well as the surname McNeely. These are all my Mothers side.