The English surname Curtis, also found in Ireland and Scotland, is a nickname for a refined person, from Old French, Middle English curteis, co(u)rtois ‘refined’, ‘accomplished’ (a derivative of Old French court, see Court 1). The name Curtis may also be derived from the Middle English curt ‘short’ + hose ‘leggings’, hence a nickname for a short person or one who wore short stockings. This nickname was borne by William the Conqueror’s son Robert. 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." On May 6th 1635, one Henry Curtis, aged 27 yrs., embarked from London on the ship "Elizabeth and Ann" bound for New England.
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