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Surname Coy - Meaning and Origin

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Unraveling The Celtic Roots of Surname 'Coy' Through iGENEA DNA Test

Endeavoring to explore the depth of my ancestry, I took the iGENEA DNA Test to uncover the history associated with my surname, 'Coy'. The results were truly fascinating, leading me across the paths of my Celtic ancestors and weaving an intricate tale of my genetic heritage. The findings pointed back to ancient Celtic tribes and Western Europe, revealing a compelling narrative of my roots through both paternal and maternal lineages.

Y. Coy

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Coy: What does the surname Coy mean?

The surname Coy is of English origin and is believed to be derived from a nickname for a quiet, reserved, or shy individual. The term "coy" in Middle English was used to describe someone who was modest or quiet, and evolved from the Old French word "coi", meaning calm or still. It later took on its modern English meaning of shy or reserved. Genealogically speaking, the name arises in records as early as the 12th century, with notable bearers like Walter le Coy.

However, there is also a possibility that some bearers of the Coy surname might have derived their name from the Irish surname "McCoy". Sometimes the "Mc" prefix, meaning "son of", was dropped, which left behind "Coy". This is common in families of Irish descent living in English-speaking countries.

Therefore, the exact origins of the surname may vary for different families, but it generally indicates a connection to quiet or calm ancestry, or potentially Irish roots.

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Coy: Where does the name Coy come from?

The surname Coy is of English origin and was often bestowed as a nickname. In the medieval period, the term "coy" referred to someone who was quiet, reserved, or shy, coming from the Old French 'coi', meaning 'quiet, still'. Therefore, it was given to individuals who displayed these traits.

Apart from England, this surname migrated to many different regions and countries. In Ireland, for example, it was changed to the Gaelic form "Mac Aodha", which means "son of Aodh" (Aodh is a personal name usually translated as "fire").

Today, the highest number of people bearing the Coy surname live in the United States, particularly in the states of California, Texas, Ohio, Florida, and Indiana. There is also a noticeable presence of individuals with the Coy surname in Mexico, Canada, Australia, and Spain. Despite its English origin, the surname is not very common in the UK. The distribution of the Coy surname worldwide shows it is more prominent in the Americas and Australia. Its highest density, according to Forebears, a genealogical search service, is in Nicaragua.

Variations of the surname Coy

The surname Coy is derived from Old French, and it typically connotes a quiet or reserved individual. This family name has evolved over centuries and has a number of different variants and spellings. Some of these include Cai, Coi, Coye, Coey, and Mc Coy, which is a common Irish version of the surname.

Its variants are often found in Spain and Portugal, where the name is spelled as Coya, Coyos, or Coyo. There's even a version with a prefix such as DeCoy.

In some cases, the surname Coy might be a diminutive or a pet form of other names. For example, it can be a shortened version of the name McCoy, McElroy, or even Coyle in some Irish communities. Similarly, in Scottish context, the last name Coy could be a nickname derived from the Gaelic MacBhaididh, meaning 'son of the fair poet,' which was Anglicized as MacCoy and then shortened to Coy.

Nonetheless, due to historical migration and localization, the exact list of possible Coy surname's variants, spelling, associated surnames, and their origins may vary widely.

Famous people with the name Coy

  • Paul Coy, American actor
  • Annet Coy, English TV presenter
  • Sarah Coy, Australian politician
  • Peter Coy, New Zealand footballer
  • George Coy, British racecar driver
  • Tom Coy, Canadian actor
  • Michael Coy, Australian artist
  • Brian Coy, American politician
  • Aaron Coy, Filipino basketball player
  • Elinor Coy, English novelist
  • Adam Coy, Irish musician
  • Elizabeth Coy, American opera singer
  • Claire Coy, French fashion designer
  • Ray Coy, American skateboarder
  • Robert Coy, Spanish explorer
  • Erik Coy, Spanish writer
  • John Coy, German architect
  • Bessie Coy, American architect
  • Stuart Coy, New Zealander musician
  • Javier Coy, Mexican soccer player

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