This German, Dutch and French surname of KERSTEN was originally derived from the Old French given name CHRISTIAN, and rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form CHRISTIANUS meaning 'follower of Christ'. It was a derivative of the Greek word KHRISTOS meaning 'to anoint'. This male given name was introduced into England following the Norman Conquest of 1066, especially by Breton settlers. It was also used in the same form as a female name, and in some cases the name may be metonymic in origin. The Dutch language is most closely related to Low German, and its surnames have been influenced both by German and French naming practices. The preposition 'van' is found especially with habitation names, and the 'de' mainly with nicknames. The name has travelled widely in many forms throughout Europe, which include CHRISTIAN, CHRISTINE, KARSTEN, CARSTEN, KRISTENSEN and CHRISTIANSSON. The name was brought into England from France in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066. Early records of the name mention Christianus (without surname) 1201 Berkshire. Thomas filius Cristian was documented in the year 1228 in the County of Essex and Crestien Miller appears in County Lancashire in 1300. Cristiane Lyttester of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. The name was taken early to Scotland by settlers, and Christianus was the name of a bishop who died at Holm Cultram in the year 1186. James Christane in Kirkcudbright was recorded in 1684. 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. 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 flowing and draped garment worn over the armour.
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