Christian History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the Christian family come from the ancient Scottish kingdom of Dalriada. The family name comes from the Latin given name Christianus, which means "belonging to Christ." Christianus was also the name of the 12th century Irish saint and Bishop of Candida Casa, and brother of St. Malachy of Armagh. Thus, the surname Christian became an extremely popular name, particularly in regions of Celtic or Irish influence such as Scotland, northern England, and the Isle of Man. It was also a common given name amongst the Danes and was the name of several Danish kings.

The name is "very common in some parts of Scotland. Sir Walter Scott tells a story of an unsuccessful gaberlunzie woman who in the bitterness of her disappointment exclaimed: "Are there no Christians here?" and was answered: "Christians! nae, we be a' Elliots and Armstrangs !" [1]

"Christianus was the name of a bishop of Candida Casa (Whithorn) who died at Holm Cultram in 1186." [2]

Early Origins of the Christian family

The surname Christian was first found in the north of England, "a familiar North-English font-name, though not wholly confined to the North." [3]

As one would expect the early rolls had mixed entries for the name as both a forename and surname. By example, the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed: Jordan filius Cristine, Kent; Agnes filius Cristine, Cambridgeshire; Brice Cristian, Somerset; and Cristina Alayne, Buckinghamshire.

Later the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed: Cristiane Lyttester; and Cristiana atte Tounead. [3]

We would be remiss if we didn't mention the Christian family from the Isle of Man in more detail. On the infamous side, the mutineer Fletcher Christian was from this stock, but notably, the rear-admiral Sir Hugh Cloberry Christian (1747-1798), the Max writer Thomas Christian (d. 1799) and William Christian (1608-1663) the Receiver-General of the Isle of Man claimed the Isle of Man as their homeland.

Early History of the Christian family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Christian research. Another 87 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1608, 1663, 1608, 1643 and are included under the topic Early Christian History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Christian Spelling Variations

Historical recordings of the name Christian include many spelling variations. They are the result of repeated translations of the name from Gaelic to English and inconsistencies in spelling rules. They include Christian, Cristian, McChristian, McChristianston and others.

Early Notables of the Christian family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan from early times was William Christian (1608-1663), receiver-general of the Isle of Man (famous in Manx history under the name of Illiam Dhône, 'Brown-haired William'), born on 14 April 1608. "He was the third son of Ewan Christian, one of the deemsters or judges of the Isle of Man and deputy-governor of Peel Castle. In 1643 his father made over to him the estate of Ronaldsway. The circumstances of this transaction throw some light on Christian's...
Another 79 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Christian Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Christian family to Ireland

Some of the Christian family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 50 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Christian migration to the United States +

Dalriadan families proliferated in North America. Their descendants still populate many communities in the eastern parts of both the United States and Canada. Some settled in Canada as United Empire Loyalists, in the wake of the American War of Independence. Families on both sides of the border have recovered much of their heritage in the 20th century through Clan societies and highland games. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Christian or a variant listed above:

Christian Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Richard Christian, who landed in Virginia in 1643 [4]
  • William Christian, who landed in Virginia in 1652 [4]
  • William Christian who settled in Virginia in 1652
  • Tho Christian, who landed in Virginia in 1657 [4]
  • Anne Christian, who arrived in Virginia in 1658 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Christian Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Matthew Christian, who arrived in Virginia in 1702 [4]
  • Joh Henrich Christian, who landed in America in 1705 [4]
  • Gilbert Christian, who landed in New Castle, Del in 1726 [4]
  • Hendrick Christian, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1732 [4]
  • Alsace Christian, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1736 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Christian Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Charles Christian, aged 23, who arrived in New York in 1800 [4]
  • Patt Christian, who landed in New York, NY in 1803 [4]
  • Matthias Christian, aged 30, who landed in New York in 1812 [4]
  • Mathew Christian, aged 35, who arrived in New York in 1812 [4]
  • Mathias Christian, aged 31, who landed in New York in 1812 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Christian Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • John Christian, who landed in Mississippi in 1903 [4]

Canada Christian migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Christian Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • James Christian, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • James Christian, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Sam. Christian, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Ester Christian, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
Christian Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John Christian, aged 23, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "Pacific" from Liverpool, England

Australia Christian migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Christian Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Maria Christian, aged 33, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Constance" [5]
  • Maria Christian, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Constance" in 1849 [5]
  • H. Christian, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "John Woodall" in 1849 [6]
  • Thomas Christian, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Lord Ashburton" in 1850 [7]

New Zealand Christian migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Christian Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Fredrick Christian, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • Eliza Sarah Christian, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "George Fyfe" in 1842
  • J Christian, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1842 aboard the ship Thomas Sparks
  • Miss Christian, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "George Fyffe" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 7th November 1842 [8]
  • J. Christian, British settler travelling from London and Plymouth aboard the ship "Thomas Sparks" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 31st January 1843, the ship stuck rocks of the coast of Cape of Good Hope delaying her landing by 2 months [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Christian (post 1700) +

  • Ash Christian (1985-2020), American actor and film director and producer, founder of Cranium Entertainment; he wrote, directed and produced Fat Girls in 2006
  • Mary Taylor Christian (1924-2019), American educator and politician, Member of the Virginia House of Delegates (1986-2003)
  • Winslow Christian, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from California, 1956, 1964 [10]
  • William Christian (1743-1786), American politician, Member of Virginia House of Burgesses, 1773-75 [10]
  • Wayne Christian, American Republican politician, Member of Texas State House of Representatives 9th District; Elected 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002; Elected unopposed 2006; Elected 2008, 2010; Defeated, 2012 [10]
  • T. Hawley Christian, American Republican politician, Member of Michigan Republican State Central Committee, 1907 [10]
  • Valentine Christian, American Republican politician, Candidate in primary for U.S. Senator from Oregon, 1995 [10]
  • Samuel Christian, American politician, Prohibition Candidate for Presidential Elector for Pennsylvania, 1904 [10]
  • Sam P. Christian, American Democrat politician, Candidate for West Virginia State Senate 1st District, 1926 [10]
  • Maud Christian, American Democrat politician, Member of West Virginia Democratic State Executive Committee, 1949, 1961 [10]
  • ... (Another 38 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Halifax Explosion
  • Master John Kenneth  Christian (1911-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [11]
  • Mr. Alfred  Christian (1885-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [11]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. Henry Christian, English 2nd Class Cabin Bed Steward from Liverpool, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [12]
  • Mr. William Edward Christian, English Third Baker from Liverpool, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [12]


  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) CONSTANCE 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Constance.htm
  6. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) JOHN WOODALL 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849JohnWoodall.htm
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) LORD ASHBURTON 1850. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1850LordAshburton.gif
  8. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  9. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  10. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 2) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  11. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance
  12. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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