Recorded in several spellings including Chrystal, Crystal, and Christall, this is a surname of Scottish origins, and is much associated with Northern Ireland. However it is a diminutive spelling of the Norman-French but ultimately Greek name 'Christopher'. This was introduced into Britain in the 12th century and was a Crusader name. That is to say a name brought back to Western Europe after the famous crusades of the 12th century. It has the modern translation of 'Christ bearing', although logic suggests that this cannot have been its original meaning. The name is first recorded in Scotland in 1447 when William Christole was recorded as being a 'burgess of Prestwick', whilst in 1474 Charles Christoll was recorded as being presented in court in order to ascertain whether he was the 'narrest and apperand arr to Cristole Jonsoun'. Whether he was or not, does not seem to be recorded! The later Irish recordings include Bridget Crystal aged twenty, a passenger on the ship Adirondack, which originally sailed from Liverpool to New York on September 1st 1846, calling at Belfast Lough. This was a 'coffin' ship, chartered to carry people fleeing the worst effects of the Irish 'Potato Famine' of 1846/47. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger Christofore. This was dated 1379, in the Poll Tax Register of the county of Yorkshire, England, during the reign of King Richard 11nd, 1377 - 1399. 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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