This name derives from the Old French "Corteis" or "Curteis" meaning "refined" or "accomplished" and was originally given as a nickname to a man of good education. One Curteis de (of) Capella appears in the 1130 Pipe Rolls of Warwickshire. The surname is first recorded in the mid 12th Century (see below), and other forms of the name have included le Curetis (Devonshire, 1168) and Le Curtois (Lincolnshire, 1230). In the modern idiom, the name has twelve spelling variations including Curtis(s), Curtice, Curthoys, Cortes, and Kertess. On May 6th 1635, one Henry Curtis, aged 27 yrs., embarked from London on the ship "Elizabeth and Ann" bound for New England. He was one of the earliest recorded namebearers to enter America. Patrick Curtis (1740 - 1832) became Archbishop of Armagh in 1819, and advocated Catholic emancipation before a committee of the House of Lords in 1825; he also corresponded with the Duke of Wellington on the subject. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Curteis, which was dated 1166, in the "Pipe Rolls of Bedfordshire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches" 1154 - 1189. 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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