Sometime late last week (may have been Friday. Or Thursday) I hit upon the idea of looking up my surname in the Skype directory. Found two people with Artiss as a surname so added them into Skype, with the hope that they’d talk. And one has.
Joseph D. Artiss, from Windsor in Canada, Vice President of ArtJen Complexus Holdings Corp.
He’s shed some further light onto our surname. Now, David J Artiss from the US had mentioned to me in the past that he believed the surname came from the Artois family in France. Now, without me saying anything to him about that, here’s Joseph Artiss’ take (with my own comments in red)…
It is our understanding that we were silk merchants in Artois France, although we do try to keep the French part hidden.
As the story goes, we ran amouk [amok?] of the local duke and we escaped to England. My father emigrated to Canada from Petaugh (sw England) when he was 1 year old. He always claimed that the escapees anglosized the name to Artis and in Canada people spelt it with 2 s’s so my grandfather just went with the flow and we became Artiss. I hope that that helps.
At the time being French in England was a really bad thing so I imagine that Anglosizing names was a fairly common thing. I remember when I was 14 my parents took me on a pilgramage to Petaugh (sorry I am not certain of the spelling but I think that it is near Ippswich) [Pettaugh is in Suffolk, which is SE England. But near Ipswich], we found distant cousins there but I can’t remember if they were Artiss’ or not. It may be that they were Gunn’s as my father’s stepsister’s maiden name was Gunn.
The information on the French connection actually came from a book some time ago so I cannot give you the reference. It may be that we are related or it may be that everybody that fled that area were called Artois.
He sounds to be a very busy man, but I must get in contact again to try and find his family details.