The surname of CHRISTIE was a Scottish and Northern England baptismal name 'the son of Christian'. The name was taken to Ireland by settlers in the 17th century, to Ulster, where it was established most prevalently in County Antrim. Early records of the name mention John Chrysty, 1457 Ireland. When the sparse Irish population began to increase it became necessary to broaden the base of personal identification by moving from single names to a more definite nomenclature. The prefix MAC was given to the father's christian name, or O to that of a grandfather or even earlier ancestor. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. This given name was originally from the Old French Christianus (a follower of Christ). The name was introduced into England following the Norman Conquest of 1066, especially by Breton settlers. It is the surname of a family first recorded in the Isle of Man, with John McCrysten, born about 1368. His many descendants included Fletcher Christian (1764-93) who led the mutiny on HMS Bounty in 1787. The rise of surnames, according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal-names were rapidly superseded by the new christian names introduced by the Normans. Of these, only a few were really popular and in the 12th century this scarcity of christian names led to the increasing use of surnames to distinguish the numerous individuals of the same name. Some Normans had hereditary surnames before they came to England, but there is evidence that surnames would have developed in England even had there been no Norman Conquest. The development of the feudal system made it essential that the king should know exactly what service each person owed. Payments to and by the exchequer required that debtors and creditors should be particularized, and it became official that each individual acquired exact identification. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884
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