This is one of the earliest settlers surnames of South Africa, being recorded in the Cape of Good Hope in the 17th Century. Its "modern" origins are regarded as Dutch-Flemish, but its true origins are Old French, and specifically Breton. It is a development of "Coet", a residential name for one who dwelt at a cottage, although the name was also baptismal, and in this form was pre 10th Century. There are a wide variety of patronymic or diminutive suffixes, including "ze, zee" and "ts", whilst the base form is also found as "koet", coert" and "coet". The early South Africa recordings include Cornelius Coetsee, the son of Dirke and Zara (nee Van Der Schulp), christened at Cape Town, on February 13th 1692. On February 25th 1740, a Cornelius Coetzee married Geetruy Gerritts, at Stellenbosch, whilst ten years later, on December 13th 1750, a Cornelius Coetzee is also recorded as marrying Aletta Lubbe, at the same place, and may be the same person. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gerhard Coetsee, which was dated 1655, marriage to Margaretha Claasdochter, at Kampen, Zeeland, Netherlands, during the reign of King William 111 of Orange and England, 1650 - 1702. 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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