Recorded in various spellings including Cousin(s), Cozen(s), Cussen(s), Cushing, and Cushion, this is an Anglo-Irish surname. However spelt it derives from the pre 10th century Olde French words "cousin or cusin", from the Latin "consobrinus", which in the Middle Ages, had the general meaning of close relative or kinsman. The surname would thus have denoted a person related in some way to a prominent figure in the neighbourhood. In some cases it may be also have been a nickname for someone who used the term "cousin" frequently as a familiar term of address. A sizeable group of early European surnames were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. These were given with reference to a variety of characteristics, and often to a supposed resemblance to an animal or bird's appearance or disposition. In Ireland it is said that the nameholders were one of the earliest of the Anglo-Norman settlers in the year 1295 or earlier. An interesting namebearer was Alexander Cozens who died in 1786. Born in Russia, he was reputed to be a son of Czar Peter the Great, and was a landscape painter of some merit. Another was the film actor, the late Peter Cushing, who made an international reputation playing "horror" parts. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger Cusin. This was dated 1166, in the "Pipe Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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