For the first time today I have seen the word née following a woman's name. It's often in parenthesis and precedes what appears to be another surname. I'm guessing it's a way of signifying a woman's maiden name, but the notation is very foreign to me. What exactly does it mean? Why is it used to signify a woman's maiden name?
This obituary from 2009 is a good example where it's used twice:
Loretta M. (née Kott) and
Mary (née Gawlek) Kott.