This unusual and interesting name is chiefly from the West Midland counties of England. It is an example of the method of creating surnames that was much practised in the Middle Ages, that of using a nickname as a distinguishing surname. In this case the nickname was "Carless", meaning a carefree, unconcerned person, derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "Carleas", a compound of "Caru", grief, care and "leas", free from, without. Variations of the name in the modern idiom are "Careless", "Corless", "Curlis", and "Curless".The first recording of the modern spelling "Curlis" is the christening of one Thomas Curlis in Ware, Hertfordshire, on the 19th October, 1721. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Reginald Carles. which was dated 1200, Pipe Rolls of Gloucestershire. during the reign of King John, Lackland, 1199 - 1216. 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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