Recorded in over forty surname spellings ranging from Christian, Christin, and Christine (England), Crestien, Chretien, and Christine (France), Kriesten, Kirstin, and Kirchstein (German), and the patronymics Christiensen, Kristisensen, and Kristiansen which are generally Scandanavian, but are also recorded in Germany and Northern Europe. This is a surname which is ultimately of Ancient Greek origin through the later Roman "Cristianus". The word and hence the name means The leader, and it is said to have been introduced into England following the Norman Conquest of 1066 by Breton settlers. A more realistic explanation for its development through Christendom is its association with the famous Crusades of the 12th century to free the Holy Land from the Muslims, a little problem which is no nearer solution in the 20th century. During this time which is also known as the Christian Revival, many such names were brought back to Europe by returning warriors and given to their children as baptismals names becoming in the die course of time, surnames. This name was also used in the same forms as a female name, and in some cases the surname may be metronymic in origin. In England where the earliest recordings are to be found, Robert Crestien is recorded in the register of the bishopric of Ely, Cambridge, in 1163. Later London church registers include the christenings of William Christian on the 14th April 1543 at Christ Church, Greyfriars, and Abraham Christian, on the 6th October 1593 at St. Helen's, Bishopsgate. 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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