Christmas History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the name Christmas begins in the days of the Anglo-Saxon tribes in Britain. It was a name for a person born at Christmas. During the Middle Ages, many nicknames referred to various religious festivals, medieval name days, or the particular day of the week when feudal services were fulfilled.

"Camden thinks, as a baptismal name, in consequence of the individual having been born on the day of the festival. In like manner in France, Noel was first a Christian, afterwards a family name." [1]

Early Origins of the Christmas family

The surname Christmas was first found in Essex where Geoffrey Cristesmasse was first listed in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273. The same rolls included: Felicia Cristemasse, Huntingdonshire; and Hugh Cristemasse, Cambridgeshire. [2]

"It is an ancient name in the eastern counties, and in the 13th century it was still established in the form of Cristemasse in Cambridgeshire and Hunts, and there were a few of the name in Essex. In 1433 John Crystmasse was a gentleman of Morden - Steeple in this county." [3]

Early History of the Christmas family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Christmas research. Another 101 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1185, 1191, 1308, 1602 and 1634 are included under the topic Early Christmas History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Christmas Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Christmas are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Christmas include: Christmas, Cristmas, Cristmus, Christmus and many more.

Early Notables of the Christmas family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Gerard or Garrett Christmas (d. 1634), who "enjoyed a high reputation as a carver and statuary in the reign of James I. His origin is uncertain, but there would appear to be a connection between him and a family of the same name at Colchester. According to Vertue he designed Aldersgate, and carved on the northern side of it an equestrian figure of James...
Another 71 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Christmas Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Christmas migration to the United States +

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Christmas or a variant listed above:

Christmas Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Dictoris Christmas, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [4]
  • Isobel Christmas who settled in Virginia in 1642
  • Richard Christmas, who settled in Virginia in 1647
Christmas Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • H. Christmas arrived with his wife and two children in New York in 1820

Australia Christmas migration to Australia +

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

Christmas Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • John Christmas, aged 42, a mason, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Punjab"
  • Maria Christmas, aged 16, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Punjab"
  • John Christmas, aged 18, a farm labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1857 aboard the ship "Carnatic"

New Zealand Christmas 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:

Christmas Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • W Christmas, who landed in Kaipoia, New Zealand in 1840
  • Frederick Christmas, aged 38, a carpenter, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Reiherstieg" in 1864
  • Elizabeth Ann Christmas, aged 38, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Reiherstieg" in 1864
  • Samuel Frederick Christmas, aged 14, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Reiherstieg" in 1864
  • Harry Christmas, aged 12, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Reiherstieg" in 1864
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Christmas (post 1700) +

  • William Christmas, American politician, Member of North Carolina State Senate from Franklin County, 1792-93 [5]
  • Randall Norton Christmas (1920-1969), American politician, Mayor of Miami, Florida, 1955-57; Defeated, 1957 [5]
  • Barbara Christmas, American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Georgia 1st District, 1992 [5]
  • Dr. William W. Christmas (1895-1960), American aviation pioneer and designer of the Christmas Bullet aircraft, later known as the Cantilever Aero Bullet
  • Dionte Lamont Christmas (b. 1986), American professional NBA basketball player
  • Major-General John Kay Christmas (1895-1962), American Assistant Chief of Ordnance (1945) [6]
  • John Christmas, American lacrosse player for the University of Virginia
  • Edwin Cecil Russell Christmas (1886-1916), English amateur footballer who played twice for Southampton in 1912
  • Eric Cuthbert Christmas (1916-2000), English stage and screen actor, known for his role as Mr. Carter, the principal of Angel Beach High School, in the Porky's movie series
  • Stephen Christmas (1947-1993), English-born, Canadian first patient diagnosed to have Christmas disease (Haemophilia B) in 1952, he later died of AIDS from transfusions
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Air New Zealand Flight 901
  • Mr. Hugh Francis Christmas (1921-1979), New Zealander passenger, from New Plymouth, North Island, New Zealand aboard the Air New Zealand Flight 901 for an Antarctic sightseeing flight when it flew into Mount Erebus; he died in the crash [7]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Raymond William Christmas, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking [8]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. H. Christmas (d. 1912), aged 33, English Assistant Saloon Steward from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [9]


  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  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. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 25) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  6. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, November 3) John Christmas. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Christmas/John_Kay/USA.html
  7. ^ Mount Erebus, Memorial, Roll of Remembrance (Retrieved 2018, February 21st). Retrieved from http://www.erebus.co.nz/memorialandawards/rollofremembrance.aspx
  8. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  9. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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