This is a German topographic name for one who dwelled near a wild cherry tree, deriving from the Germanic elements 'Kirsch' - cherry and 'stein' - a stone. It may also have been a nickname for one with small, hardened features. In the modern idiom the name has five spelling variations; Kirschstein, Kirstein, Kirstain, Kerstein and Karschenstein. In certain parts of Germany Kirstein is the spelling of the English and French surname Christian (from the Greek Kristos, a derivitive of kriein - 'to anoint') The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Krispin Kirchenstein which was dated C.1680 The Kingdom State of Prussia during the reign of Emperor Leopold 1 1668-1705 Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.