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What does the Coulthart surname mean?

There are four possible ways in which a surname could have developed:

patronymic - named after a parent as in Fergusson, the son of a man named Fergus;

occupational - named after a persons occupation as in Hunter, someone who hunted;

nickname - named after a physical attribute as in Cameron which in Gaelic means hook nose; or

geographical - named after a place as in Munro, someone who lived by the river Roe.


There are two theories regarding the origin of the Coulthart surname.

1. The first is that it is an occupational name from the old English words "colt" + "herd" given to someone who looked after asses or working horses.

2. The second is that it is a geographical name given to someone who originally came from the village of Coudehard in Normandy, France.

If Coulthart was an occupational name, one would expect to find the earliest recordings of the surname disbursed throughout the UK. In addition, one would see the same name in non English speaking countries in a foreign format such as in the name Smith which is found in Germany as Schmidt, both meaning blacksmith.

This does not appear to be the case with Coulthart. Based on Alfred Coulthardís 60 years of research, the earliest recordings of the surname are found in a very distinct area in the UK. And they are always found along side the surnames Percy or Lucy, two families that can be traced to Normandy, France. It is believed that the Coulthart's came to the UK after the Norman Conquest of 1066 in the service of the Percy's or Lucy's. This would indicate that Coulthart is a geographical name.


Page last updated 07/26/2000. © Copyright 1999. Terry Meinke. All rights reserved.

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