This is an Irish surname of great antiquity. It derives from the pre 12th century Gaelic name "MacCuirtin", which like the majority of Irish surnames was originally a nickname for the first chief of the clan. The word "cuirtin" translates as hunchback, and therefore it is reasonable to assume that this was a physical description, but not necessarily so. The surname is now recorded in several spellings including: MacCurtin, McCurtin, Curtin, Curtain, and Curtayne, and possibly Cartin, Cartan, and Carton. These latter forms are however more usually derivatives of the Northern Irish MacCartan, a surname of a completedly different origin, being derived from the ancient personal name Airt or Art, short forms of Arthur. The MacCuirtin clan originates from the barony of Corcomroe, County Clare, where it is said that they were the hereditary tutors or ollaves to the famous O'Brien clan of Thomond. However it is now in County Cork that the name is to be found in any numbers. It is recorded that in "Petty's Census of Ireland" in 1659 the name was spelt as both MacCurtaine and O'Curtaine. In both cases the prefix is now rare, but the correct form is with "Mac". Early important clan nameholders include: Andrew MacCurtin (1680 - 1755), a historian, poet, Thomas MacCurtin, who was the mayor of Cork during the war of Independance in 1919 - 1920, and John Joseph Curtin, (1885 - 1945), the former Prime Minister of Australia. The earliest proven surname recording is probably that of Teag Buidhe MacCurtaine, of Ennistymon, County Clare, in 1659. This was during the "reign" of Richard Cromwell, the son of Oliver Cromwell, 1658 - 1660.
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