Coetzee Surname

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According to the last name Coetzee is on place 51 of the top 1000 of surnames in South Africa. Hence it is considered as a very common last name in South Africa.

But unlike many other surnames in South Africa, the surname Coetzee doesn't have a distinct origin. In 1679 the progenitor of the Coetzee family, Dirk Coesie came on land at the Cape of Good Hope from Kampen, the Netherlands. At least that was the name and place he'd had written down in the ships' pay ledger. We will never know for sure if this information was correct, since there had not been found any trace of Dirk and his family In Kampen, Holland so far.

The name Coesie, became Coetzee in later years, but there are many spelling variants. Dirk was also known as Couché, Coussie, Coetse, Coetzé, Coussé and Coetsee.

The English wikipedia states that the surname Coetzee/Coetsee is of French Hugenot origin, originally spelt de Couches. But the name Couché or other spellingvariants do not appear on lists of French Hugenots in the Netherlands.

The Database of the surnames in the Netherlands of the Meertens institute in Amsterdam stated that Possibly Coetzee is related to the name Goetzee, which has been associated with the French name Gaucher. Or to Kuzee, which name goes back to the Zeeland toponym Cudsee. In addition, a connection could be made with the name Koetze, which possibly goes back to the German names Kötz or Götze.

Dutch linguist Jan-Wouter Zwart states the guess, in an informal essay, that it derived from the common Dutch name Koetsier, guided by the pronunciation. The occupation 'Koetsier (Coachman)' is relatively young (first half 17th century) and derives from the German professional designation Kutscher via the noun koets (from German Kutsche). If we nevertheless maintain this option, then a connection with the German name Kutsche is more likely; from the 16th century we find early mentions of the later common word carriage that correspond to old forms of Coetzee: coetse, cotsie, kotsie, koetse, according to the Meertens institute.