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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2014

Where did the German Kirst family come from? What is the German Kirst family crest and coat of arms? When did the Kirst family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Kirst family history?

The distinguished surname Kirst is a proud sign of a rich and ancient Austrian ancestry. Austria, which was originally home to a Celtic people, was conquered by the Roman Empire in about 15 BC. Following the fall of Rome, Austria was repeatedly invaded by barbarian tribes, such as the Vandals, Visigoths, and Huns, who swept in from the east. During the 5th and 6th centuries, the Alemanni, Avars and Slavs settled Austria. The Avars were defeated in 785 by the Frankish emperor Charlemagne, who set up the East Mark, which later became known as the Österreich. Austria was ruled by the Babenburger dynasty until 1278, when they were succeeded by the Hapsburg dynasty, which ruled Austria until the 20th century.

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In the medieval era, many different cultural groups lived in the German states. There are thus many regional variations of German surnames from that era. Westphalians spoke Low German, which is similar to modern Dutch. Many German names carry suffixes that identify where they came from. Others have phrases attached that identify something about the original bearer. Other variations in German names resulted from the fact that medieval scribes worked without the aid of any spelling rules. The spelling variations of the name Kirst include Christ, Crist, Kirst, Kist, Kierst, Kryste, Chryste and many more.

First found in Austria, where the family contributed greatly to the development of an emerging nation which would later play a large role in the tribal and national conflicts of the area. In later years the name branched into many houses, each playing a significant role in the local social and political affairs.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kirst research. Another 285 words(20 lines of text) covering the years 1775, 1811, and 1813 are included under the topic Early Kirst History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 36 words(3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kirst Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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After the First World War, Austria became a republic. The Treaty of Versailles broke up the empire in 1919 and many of the Sudeten Germans were incorporated into the new nation of Czechoslovakia. In the 20th century, many Austrians migrated to other parts of Germany or Europe, as well as to North America. In the United States, the majority of settlers landed in Philadelphia, and moved on to Ohio, Texas, Illinois, California, New York, and Maryland. Many German settlers also migrated to Canada, particularly Ontario and the Prairies. Amongst the settlers in North America with this distinguished name Kirst were

Kirst Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Johannes Kirst, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1743

Kirst Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Marie Margarethe Kirst, who arrived in North America in 1850

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  • Hans Hellmut Kirst (1914-1989), German novelist, best remembered as the creator of the "Gunner Asch" series
  • Jutta Kirst (b. 1954), East German retired Olympic female track and field bronze medalist


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  1. Kapff, Rudolf. Schwäbische Geschlechtsnamen. Stuttgart: Verlag Silberburg, 1927. Print.
  2. Oswald, G. Lexicon der Heraldik. Leipzig: 1984. Print.
  3. Göbel, Otto. Niederdeutsche Familiennamen der Gegenwart Wolfshagen-Schäbentz. Franz: Westphal, 1936. Print.
  4. Siebmacher, J.J. Siebmachers Wappenbuch. München, Battenberg: 1975. Print.
  5. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  6. Bahlow, Hans and Edda Gentry. Translation Dictionary of German Names 2nd Edition. Madison: University of Wisconsin, 2002. Print.
  7. Neubecker, Ottfried. Wappen-Bilder-Lexikon der bürgerlichen Geschlechter Deutschlands, Oesterreichs und der Schweiz. Battenberg, München: 1985. Print.
  8. Tobler-Meyer, Wilhelm. Familiennamen der Ostschweiz. Zürich: 1894. Print.
  9. Strassburger, Ralph B. Pennsylvania German Pioneers The Original Lists of Arrivals in the Port of Philadelphia 3 Volumes. Baltimore: Picton Press, 1992. Print. (ISBN 978-0929539980).
  10. Gritzner, M. Handbuch der heraldischen Terminologie in zwölf Zungen. Nürnberg: 1890. Print.
  11. ...

The Kirst Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Kirst Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 15 December 2010 at 16:26.

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