Surnames started to appear durind the middle ages. At the beginning, they were given mostly to royalty and noblemen. During the 13th century, with the problem of having more and more individuals with the same first name , surnames started to spread.
The Comeau surname is considered topographic. These names were mainly given to individuals in regard to their location. So, the surname Comeau would have been given to an individual livling in a combe, a valley.
In the Recueil des actes des comtes de Pontieu (1026-1279), Paris : Imprimerie nationale, 1930 from Clovis Félix Brünel (1884-1971), we witness the first mention of the name, november 5th, 1101. A quarrel presided by Robert de Bellême, between the abbot Arnoul de Saint-Martin de Troarn and the knight Robert Samson. The origin of the quarrel between the two man was the ownership of the Commeaux land. A second document mentions the surname in 1276, confirming the ownership of the Commeaux land to the Troarn abbey. Commeaux was written in latin as Comels.
So the origin of the surname would have appeared in this region. A Lower Normandy commune in France still is named Commeaux:
The first time we encounter an individual with the Comeau surname is in 1348, in another french commune, Poully-en-Auxois, in Burgundy:
On a tombstone it is written:
“CY GIST HERBERT QUOMIAUL QUI TREPASSA LAN M.CCC.XL ET VIII” ou
or “Here lies Herbert Comaul who died in the year 1348″
It is believed that this Herbert Comaul could be the ancestor of Guyot de Comaul or Guy de Commeau (c. 1495), the known ancestor of the De Comeau genealogy in this region, made of noblemen, military and lords.
Here are some occurence of the surname in the Auxois region of France, written differently:
- Comau – Saffres 1715
- Combau – Thoisy-le-Désert 1683
- Combault – Bellenot-sous-Pouilly 1633-1788, Poulluix-en-Auxois 1673-1719
- De la Combe: La Roche-Vanneau 1461-1687, Poully-en-Auxois 1402
- La Combe: Essey 1674
- Combeau: Thoisy-le-Désert 1760
- De la Come: Monbard 1341
- Comeal: Arnay-le-Duc 1398, Poulliy-en-Auxois 1393
- Comeau: Créancey 1688-1730, Pouilly-en-Auxois 1531, Arnay-le-Duc 1681-1780, Bellenot-sous-Pouilly 1633, Commarin 1633, Voudenay 1737
- Comeaul: Grignon 1374, Noidan 1442-1470, Poully-en-Auxois 1389-1551, Sainte-Sabine 1397, Clamerey 1543
- Comeaux: Saint-Pierre-en-Vaux 1687
- Commau: Arnay-de-Duc 1750
- Commaux: Jouey 1797
- De la Comme: Mont-Saint-Jean 1460, Montbard 1352-1359
- Commeau: Arnay-le-Duc 1701-1790, Maconge 1755, Chazilly-le-Haut 1790
- Comote: Pouilly-en-Auxois 1367, Flavigny-sur-Ozerain 1397
- Conmaux: Créancey 1716
- Cosmeau: Saint-Pierer-en-Vaux 1686
- Lacombe: Clomot: 1624, Culêtre 1682, Arnay-le-Duc 1752
- Lacomme: saint-Pierer-en-Vaux 1718, Voudenay 1714, Viévy 1714, Maligny 1728
Another noteworthy genealogy in France, is the Cosmeau one from the Charmoy region:
We encounter numerous Cosmeau as soon as in 1475, mostly plouwmen and farmers.
The ancestor of the american Comeau
Pierre Comeau was born about 1597 in France, by the censuses.
He would have came to Acadia in 1632 with Razilly, or before 1650, when is first son Étienne, was born. He was a cooper by trade, as well as a farmer. He lived in Port-Royal in Acadia.
He was married to Rose Bayol, mother of his children, as stated in the 1671 census.
The last mention of Pierre was in the 1686 census, and is considered dead by 1690.
Rose Bayon was born about 1631 and is declared dead in the 1678 census.