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05/07/2007

The Origin of Kirstein

With the help of several researchers at Google ( www.google.com ) I have started to dig into the origination of the family name Kirstein.
The surname Kirstein appears to be of German origin. There is no conclusive information on the origin of Kirstein, however, the surname 'Kirchstein' is listed in a German genealogy file, and that could have easily turned into 'Kirstein'. There's a process in Germanic languages by which groups of several consonants get simplified, called 'consonant cluster reduction'; see, for example, Germanic Philology Newsletter - "Open-syllable lengthening of vowels brings stressed syllables up to this normative length; shortening of vowels in closed syllables and reduction of consonant clusters brings syllables down to the norm or closer to it."
Since there were no newspapers et cetera hundreds of years ago, and people were not into being historically accurate and rather would spread myths, therefore it is most probably a waist of time trying to figure that out especially if its origin is prior to 1800, note: first books printed were in the 1450's.
The last name Kirstein is shared by about 800 individuals and is ranked number 28,802 in frequency in the US. I found it here.
The root "kirche" in German means "church", and the root "stein" means "stone".
There is a mailing list for the discussion and sharing of information regarding the Kirstein surname and variations in any place and at any time. To subscribe send "subscribe" to: kirstein-l-request@rootsweb.com (mail mode) or kirstein-d-request@rootsweb.com (digest mode).

2 comments:

  1. my first name is kirstein and have never come across anyone else with it as first name. i hate it as no-one can pronounce or spell it right. guess i'm unique lol

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  2. I think the opposite of my name. It's unique and a lot of people end up calling me just Kirstein instead of my first name "Lars". But you are right. It's difficult for many to pronounce and spell correctly - but then again - it's not that ordinary, which is good!

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