Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his April 9th column, he looks at the history of the name Kristen – and Kristin and Kirsten.
Kristen is a Scandinavian form of “Christian.” The original Swedish title of John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress,” the famous allegory where Christian travels from Destruction to the Celestial City, was “Kristens Resa” (“Christian’s Journey”). The Latin feminine of Christian was Christiana. In Scandinavia, this became Kristina. Inge the Elder, first Christian king of Sweden, named his daughter Kristina around 1075. By 1100, Kristin was used as a short form.
In Scandinavia, Kristen is male and Kristin female. In Denmark, parents can’t legally give names that don’t clearly designate gender, and all Kristens are male. Of course, in Scandinavia, Kristin is said more like how Americans pronounce “Christine” than how we say “Kristen.”
Want to know more? Read on to find out more about Kristens in history!