This Greek surname may be described as having come full circle. The origination of the name is "Khristos", an ancient Greek word which derives from "krein", meaning "to anoint", and it appears to have passed into the Hebrew language, circa 500 B.C. the Romans "borrowed" the word in the Centuries after "Jesus Christ", changing the spelling slightly to "Christianus", and in the medieval period the name "returned" to Greece initially as a baptismal name, usually "Christa". The surname development is very much later, in fact Greece as a country was one of the last to adopt recognizable hereditary surnames, and then not until the mid 19th Century.Characteristic Greek surnames, like Italian, are nearly always patronymic or diminutive and often double, or even treble versions. The endings vary but are usually "opoulus" or "ides", or "aeas", as in this case. The surname as "Christ" usually with a suffix became popular throughout Europe after the 12th Century Crusades to the Holy Land. Curiously, in England the name is first recorded in the Isle of Man, one John McCrystyn being registered in the Land Charters of 1368 A.D. He was an ancestor of Fletcher Christian, the leader of the 1787 "Mutiny on the (HMS) Bounty". In Greece the recordings are so late as to be meaningless, however such as they are include, Ekaterine Christopha, of Dhodhekanisov, recorded on August 1st 1865. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Christien, which was dated 1163, in "Records of the Bishopric of Ely", Cambridgeshire, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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