Christmas

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Christmas Surname Genealogy

The word Christmas derives from the Old English word Cristesmæsse
meaning “mass or festival
of Christ.”  
The
surname may have started
as a nickname for someone born on Christmas Day.  Alternatively
it might have come to describe the
person who was responsible locally for organizing the annual Christmas
festivity.

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Christmas Resources on
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Christmas Ancestry

England.  Christmas is very much a surname of SE
England, extending southward to Sussex, Surrey and Kent and eastward to
Cambridgeshire and Norfolk.  Its origin may well have been in
Essex.  Roger Cristermesse was recorded in the Essex rolls of 1185.

Essex.  Three
generations of Christmases were bailiffs at Colchester during the
1400’s and early 1500’s.  Thomas Christmas laid the basis for the
family fortunes in the cloth trade which he later invested in Essex
property.  His family had become the wealthiest family in
Colchester by the early 1500’s.

Some think Gerard Christmas, the London wood carver and statuary of the
early 1600’s, was related to this family. From 1619 to 1632 he was the
official organizer of the Lord Mayor’s annual procession.  On his
death in 1634 his sons John and Mathias succeeded him as master
carvers.

Doctoris Christmas was arrested for sheep stealing at Runwell in Essex
in 1618.  Five years later he was in America.

Elsewhere.
Thomas Christmas was a clothier in Guildford in the 1560’s.  A
descendant Richard Christmas was a merchant in Bristol and his son
Thomas one of Cromwell’s adventurers in Ireland.


Ireland.
Thomas
Christmas came to Waterford in 1656 after all the Catholics had been
expelled from the town.  He became its mayor in 1664.  First
a merchant he turned himself into a country gentleman.  His
descandants, b
ased at Whitfield Court, remained an important Waterford
family through the 18th and 19th centuries.

John Christmas, probably from an illegitimate line there, became a
Devon merchant.  A descendant was Captain John
Christmas who departed for
Denmark in 1790 and established a Danish Christmas line.


America.
  The
Christmas name in America shows up mainly in the South.  Its early
presence was in Virginia and North Carolina:

  • Dictoris
    Christmas appeared in Elizabeth City,
    Virginia in 1623.  He died in York county
    in 1654, but does not seem to have left any descendants.   
  • Goodman
    or Gad Christmas was in Virginia by
    this time and made his home in Stafford county.  He
    did leave descendants.  Captain
    John Christmas was a sizeable landowner in Warren county, North
    Carolina who
    took the American side during the Revolutionary War.
    Six of his sons fought in the war
    .
  • while Richard Christmas from this family became a major landowner
    in Mississippi.  His plantation at Shiloh near Tallua was recorded
    with 166 slaves in the 1860 census.  Richard died of yellow fever
    in 1878.

Mississippi
ranked highest in Christmas numbers in the 1880 and 1920 census.
A number were in Holmes county. Henry and Thomas Christmas were
recorded there as a physician and a farmer in the 1870 census.



Australia.  John
Christmas was a farm laborer on the Lincolnshire fens who came to South
Australia in 1857 at the tender age of nineteen.  He
did well as a farmer, storekeeper and
mining agent, rising to serve as Justice of the Peace and mayor of
Kadina.  His son Ernest, born in 1863,
made his name as a painter.  He traveled
widely in his life, ending up in Hawaii where he died. 

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Christmas Names

Gerard Christmas enjoyed a high
reputation as a wood carver and statuary in London in the early
1600’s.  His most notable accomplishment was probably the redesign
of Aldersgate.
Lee Christmas was an American
mercenary in Central America in the early 1900’s.  The Lee
Christmas portrayed by Jason Statham in the Expendables movies was
based in part on him.

Select Christmases Today

  • 2,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in London)
  • 2,000 in America (most numerous in Florida)
  • 1,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)

 

 

 

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