About Names: Kristen (or Kristin or Kirsten) has been through many changes

American actress Kristen Stewart

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.”

Kristin was the more common spelling until 1973, when Kristen took over. Kristin was back on top, though, when both names hit their high points between 1979 and 1982, while Mary Crosby starred as conniving Kristin Shephard on “Dallas”. Kristin was the answer to “Who Shot J.R.?,” the biggest season-ending cliffhanger in TV history. In 1981, Kristin, Kristen, Kristyn, Kristan, Cristin, Christin and Christen together accounted for 20,161 newborns, with a combined rank of 10th.

Want to know more? Read on to find out more about Kristens in history!