From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Gender Unisex, originally male, now both male and female name
Word/name Norman, Old French
Region of origin England
Other names
Related names Cortney, Courteney, Courtenay, Kourtney, "Cortnay"

This name is of Old French origin, introduced into England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. It has two quite distinct interpretations: firstly, the surname may be locational, from places called Courtenay in the regions of Loiret and Gâtinais The House of Courtenay was a significant French family with close association with both the French, and thereby, English royal lines; in England the Courtenays were Earls of Devon.

In some cases, bearers of the surname may be of Irish descent, since Courtney is also an Anglicized form of the Gaelic "O'Curnain", descendant of Curnan, from an Old Irish personal name of obscure origins. Recordings of the name from London Church Registers include: the christening of Thomas Courtney at All Hallows, London Wall, on 11 November 1569, and the marriage of William Courtney and Mary Lucas on 22 March 1590, at St Dunstan's, Stepney. John Courtney and his wife, Sybill, were early immigrants to America, leaving London on the "Paule" in July 1635, bound for Virginia. An early coat of arms granted to the family depicts a blue fesse between three torteaux on a gold shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Reginald de Curtenay, which was dated 1164, in "Feudal Documents from the Abbey of Bury St Edmunds", Suffolk, during the reign of King Henry II.

People with the surname[edit]

People with the given name[edit]

Courtney was used as a given name for men beginning at least as far back as the 17th century (e.g. the British Member of Parliament Sir Courtney Pool, 1677[1]). As a given name for women, however, it gained wide acceptance only in the years following the 1956 publication of the novel "Chocolates for Breakfast" by Pamela Moore, whose protagonist Courtney Farrell sometimes wishes she had been born a man.[2]



Fictional characters[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Parliamentary History of ENGLAND,. T.C. Hansard, Peterborough-Court, Fleet-Street. 1808. p. 874. 
  2. ^ Robert Nedelkoff (1997). "Pamela Moore Plus Forty". The Baffler (10): 104–117. Archived from the original on 2012-10-28. Retrieved 2010-10-13.