So here it is….

25 December 2014

….Merry Christmas and we hope ‘everybody’s having fun’! ‘Look to the future now, It’s only just begun….’….

This time of year is definitely one for reflection (on the last year) and forward-thinking to plan for the future (next year). Slade managed to put this succinctly into words – well, lyrics – back in 1974 (would you believe it – 40 years ago! Before I was even born!) and it’s so true.

Christmas is a fun/funny time of year. A time that we do things that we would never normally agree to do …. don’t you find!? But what of Christmas as a surname….?

Nine years ago, Oxford University researchers in Britain decided that they wanted to use DNA testing to find out if those with the (allegedly) rare surname of Christmas all descended from a single male. They thought that the DNA of men from different Christmas clans may show that they are linked by a common genetic heritage.

The United Press International reported that: “A DNA analysis firm [Oxford Ancestors] is appealing for volunteers to participate in the study and is being assisted in the effort by Henry Christmas, a former telecommunications engineer who has spent 50 years researching the origins and history of his own family name.” Some genealogy books state that the origin of the surname derives from ‘one born at Christmas‘. But Henry Christmas believes that this is “too easy”, telling the BBC News website that “the original spelling was ‘Chrystmasse’, which perhaps indicates Norman origin. There were also Huguenots who came over [from France] with that name.”

There were 1,613 people residing in England, Wales and Scotland in 1881 with the surname Christmas and they were scattered across the nation, though they were more prominent in the South East of England than anywhere else. [I wonder how many Mary Christmas’ there were!] With Sillifant (and variants) numbering just over one-eighth of the Christmas total in 1881, I personally wouldn’t say that Christmas was/is a rare surname but I guess that is just a matter of opinion. People have told me that the Sillifant surname is also of Huguenot origin ….. perhaps next year, I might finally confirm or disprove that theory….? I wonder how the Christmas DNA Project is going….?

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