Christie Surname Genealogy
is a Scottish clan name, originating on Scotland’s east coast. It
is normally thought to be the Scottish version of Christian (meaning
Christ-bearing). Those who suspect a
Danish origin of the name in Scotland think that it may have come from
the Danish word cruset,
meaning “cup.”Christy is generally the Irish spelling – from the Gaelic criostoir (or
Christ-bearing). Christie made its way from Scotland to
or Christy in America could be Scottish or Irish or even of
Swiss origin or possibly from Denmark (from Christiansen).
Brief history of Christie’s auction house.
- The Christie Family in America.
Walter Christie’s 1919 book.
- Descendants of Landsford Christy.
From 1808 Virginia and frontier Illinois to the present day.
Clan Christie, said to be a sept of clan Farquharson, was first sighted
in Fife in the 15th century. A Christie farming family in Cupar can
trace their Fife
ancestry to the early 1600’s. But the main home of the
been further up the coast, in Angus and Aberdeenshire. John
Chrystie was listed as a burgess of Aberdeen back in 1530.
Political and religious tensions in the 17th century caused many
Christies to leave this area, among them being:
Alexander Christie/Christy to Ulster in 1675; James Christie to America
in 1685; and
another James Christie who sailed from Leith on the ill-fated
expedition to Darien in Central America in 1698.
Christies in Aberdeenshire may have been farmers, such as James
ripe age of 93 and was interred on July 30, 1808 at St. Peter’s
cemetery in Aberdeen, farmed on the land of Mr. George Moir of
Scotstown for fifty years. He had three successive leases and
just survived the expiry of his third lease.”
They may have been fishermen. There was a 19th century Christie
family at Skateraw up the coast near Stonehaven. They were
captured by the painter George Washington Brownlow in his 1865 picture
of them mending their nets. Family records show some of these
Christies tragically drowned at sea.
They could also have been seafarers and merchants. The ports of
Aberdeen and Montrose were linked in trade with the Hanseatic League
ports in Norway and the Baltic. Alexander Christie was provost of
Montrose in the late 18th century and also a wealthy merchant
(unfortunately ruined when the wars with Napoleon halted trade).
His brother William was the first Unitarian minister in Scotland.
Agnes Short’s novels such as The Dragon Seas
describe a fictional Christie family of merchants in mid 19th century
Norway. Christies from
the northeast of Scotland came to Bergen in Norway, most notably Andrew
Christie who arrived there in 1654. This Andrew Christie was the
forebear of a
notable Norwegian Christie family, from WFK Christie, the
president of the Norwegian parliament, to WH Christie, Norway’s
Minister of Health in the 1990’s. This family maintained
their cultural links with Montrose and Aberdeen for many generations.
England. Christies made
it to London, most notably James Christie a former Navy
midshipman who founded
Christie’s auction house on Pall Mall in 1766. In 1823 the firm
moved under his son James to St. James’s Square where it remains to
this day, a leader in its field.
of Glyndebourne in Sussex of Swiss origin had married into
English landed gentry. John Christie started the Glyndebourne
Festival Opera in 1934.
were Christys in Ireland, whether they be Scots imports or Irish.
Alexander Christy arrived in Antrim from Aberdeen in 1675
and settled at Moyallan on the river Bann. He is traditionally
regarded as the man who introduced the linen trade to the area.
His family, together with other Quaker families of the region such as
the Nicholsons and the Richardsons, developed the Lurgan linen
America. Many Christies
from Scotland have emigrated to America over the years. But the
Christies and Christys there do not have that much of a Scottish flavor
James Christie did come from Scotland (as recounted
in Walter Christie’s 1919 booklet The
Christie Family in America). But he married a Huguenot in
New Jersey and his descendants grew up in the New Jersey Dutch
of Bergenfield. A line of this family acquired the now historic
Campbell-Christie House in New Jersey in 1795. This was where the
inventor Walter Christie, often called “the father of the modern tank,”
was born in 1865.
The Christies who arrived in Lancaster,
Pennsylvania in the early 1700’s were in fact Swiss Mennonites who
intermarried with other
Swiss German families there.
And then there were the Irish Christys, including:
- Jesse Christy who arrived in America from county Antrim in 1719
Christy who is thought to have come sometime in the 1720’s
to Gloucester county, Virginia (his descendants moved onto Kentucky)
- and Andrew Christy who came with his family in 1762 and settled
in western Pennsylvania.
Christie could also be Cherokee Indian. The starting point was
John Christie, an Indian trader in North Carolina in the late 18th
century and his daughter Betsy who married into the Cherokee
tribe. She died in 1838 following the Cherokee “Trail of Tears”
removal from their homeland. Her Cherokee family adopted the
Christie name. Grandson Ned Christie was a Cherokee Nation leader
falsely accused of murdering a US marshal who was gunned down by a
posse at his home in 1892.
Canada. Gabriel Christie,
the son of a Stirling merchant, had come over with the British Army in
stayed and ended up, through astute property purchases from the
departing French, as one of the largest landowners in British
Quebec. His land holdings were analysed in Francoise Noel’s 1992
book The Christie Seigneuries,
Estate Management and Settlement in the Upper Richelieu Valley,
There was also an
early Christie link between Scotland and Canada through the fur trade
Hudson Bay Company. Alexander Christie came to Canada and joined
the Hudson Bay Company in 1809. He was governor of their Red
river settlement for many years and was considered one of the company’s
most important traders. His sons and grandsons also worked for
Hudson Bay Company.
A number of Christies who arrived from Scotland in the first half of
the 19th century went on to make a mark for themselves in their new
- Thomas Christie came with his parents in 1827. He
was a proferssor at McGill university and helped set up the Lachute
academy. He was also in Parliament through his Quebec
- David Christie arrived in 1833. He later represented Erie,
Ontario in Parliament and was a founding member of the “clear grit”
movement which advocated republicanism in Canada.
- William Christie came to Toronto in 1848 and started out working
as a baker. He began his own biscuit-making enterprise which grew
to be the largest of its kind in Canada (his business ended up being
sold to Nabisco in the 1920’s).
South Africa. John
Christie came to South Africa as
a doctor during the Boer War and stayed, becoming a successful
businessman and a political figure in Johannesburg.
Australia. Two Christie stories are characteristic in some
ways of Australia’s early history.
Alexander Christie left Edinburgh with his wife Ann for a new life in
Australia. Landing in Port Adelaide in 1839, they were among the
early settlers of South Australia. They made their home down the
coast at Cape Jervis and they raised nine children there.
Thomas to build the Christie homestead in Cape Jervis. Mr. Thomas
would go down there every day and work on the house. It took
seven years to build. There was also a large underground tank
built, estimated to hold 30,000 tons of water. It was said that a
dance was held in it when it was completed.”
Alexander farmed and was instrumental in starting the weekly mail
service by boat for the inhabitants of Kangaroo island. In 1883,
Christie met an untimely end in his boat.
James Christie came to Tasmania as a convict in 1842. His convict
record there included various offences of being drunk and being “out
after hours.” But he married in 1852, received his conditional
release a year later, and he and his wife Anne raised six children at
their home just outside Hobart.
Eldest son John, perhaps ashamed of his convict background, left home
suddenly for Melbourne in 1876. He went to the Goulbourn valley
to shear sheep and through hard work saved enough money to buy a horse
and dray. He eventually developed a large homestead at
Numurkah. He lived onto 1929, a respected member of his
If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:
Select Christie Names
James Christie founded Christie’s
auction house in London in 1766.
Alexander Christie was a fur
trader in Canada and one of the leading figures of the Hudson Bay
Company in the first half of the 19th century.
WFK Christie was the first
president of the Norwegian parliament.
EP Christy was the founder of
the blackface minstrel group Christy’s Minstrels that toured America in
the mid 19th century.
Christie was a famous
English crime writer. Her works featured the detectives Hercule
Poirot and Miss Jane Marple.
John Christie was the founder
of the Glyndebourne opera festival in Sussex.
Julie Christie was an
English actress of the 1960’s and 1970’s.
Linford Christie, an athlete
born in Jamaica, won the Olympic 100 meter title in 1992.
- 21,000 in the UK (most numerous
- 11,000 in America (most numerous
in New York)
- 16,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada).
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