Saturday, August 13, 2011

Child - Summary of Origin

Summary of Origin

The word Childe has had the following meanings from which the surname Child originated. Childe was originally a title given to Norse, French, and English Kings during the 4th through the 10th centuries.1 It was also a title given to the eldest son or to heirs2 and finally, it was a title given to young nobles awaiting knighthood during the 13th and 14th centuries.3

There arose in England many different Childe families, with the addition of the title Childe, or le Childe to their first names. These Childe families are not related to each other, being descendants of different young nobles, and are found in most counties of England. Therefore I found it necessary to research each county for the Childe name. In so doing, I found that many of the younger sons who received no inheritance found it necessary to look for work elsewhere. They often crossed county border lines to work for someone else until they were able to purchase their own estates. To obtain a complete family linage, most counties were researched.

The early Childe and Le Childe families moved around rather than stayed in one county. Later, during the 1400's and early 1500's, they seemed to stay in one county. Then again in the latter 1500's and early 1600's, they began to move around.

Elias Child, Genealogy of Child, Childe, and Childs of America. pp. 22-30
Dictionary of Surnames. English and Welsh surnames p. 177
P.H. Reaney, Dictionary of British Surnames, p. 67

Detailed Origin

The surname CHILDE had its origin in a title given to Kings. These Kings use Child(e) with other suffixes to describe their titles.

Norse Kings:
Norse Kings used the "hllde" as well as Childe in their titles. An example is, "a son of Brynhilde, the Flower Maiden," assumed the Burgundian throne in 466 A.D. under the title of Chlldperie or Battle Empire.

French Kings:
A brother of Meroveus in 451 A.D. made himself King of the Riputian Franks and took the title of Childeric, meaning Battle Splendor. Childeric was converted to Christianity by his wife Clothide and baptized with the title Clochilde. The Pope bestowed upon him the title of "first Christian King" and "Eldest son of the Church," wherein the Surname Childe took upon its meaning, Eldest son or heir in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries. The legitimate Kings of France proudly retained the title of "Eldest son of the Church." Childeric was succeeded by Childeric, he was succeeded by Childebert or Bright Warrior who became King of the Partgil Amalric, King of the Visigoths married Childebert's sister and was assassinated by Childebert for his cruelty to her. Many of the Kings of France prefixed Childe to their titles from the fifth to the tenth centuries. After the tenth century the title then descended to the eldest son, usually that of a king or nobility. The great Thanes of Kent, Child Alnod and his peers guarded King Edward when he rode in to Canterbury from Doomesday Rock 1080-1086 A.D. The name Childe is generally used as a title in Doomsday Books.

Surnames were introduced by the Norman French and the first Norman reigns in Britian. The French shorten the Latin Super to sur and then wrote the surname over the Christian given name. There are examples of surnames in the Doomesday Book:

Cild, Eduuinus; Cild, Brix; Cild, Leuuinus; Cild, Ulft

Ulft held wapen takes in Lincolnshire, Nottingham and Derbyshire.

British Kings:

Chylde Wawean, King Lothe's son legend has been preserved by Robert of Gloucester, King Lotus was a British King converted to Christianity about 625 A.D.

Childe used as a Knight:

The word Childe was used as title for princes and Knights by early writers. It was a title given to the eldest son of a King or earl, "until he inherited the title of his ancestor origin new honors by his prowess."

"And yonder lives Childe of Elie, a young and comely Knight." -Percy's Reliques 1-1091

As knight became more accepted, the title Childe was reserved for the eldest son's of early nobility in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. The title Childe then devolved to young nobles awaiting Knighthood.2

CHILDE -- Young nobles awaiting Knighthood.

The noble families of England reserved the "eldest son or heir" for the title of Childe. The title Childe was adopted as a surname in the llth and 12th centuries from the young nobles who held the title. Childe families begin inmost counties in England from these young nobles. The Childe families in the 12th century in the various counties are unrelated and are very numerous. I found that in doing research that it was necessary to complete research out each county in which Child names are found.2,3

In several counties such as Leicester, Cambridge, Bedford, Worcester, Norfolk, Shropshire, and London are found young Childe Nobles about 1200 A.D. They had taken upon themselves the title "le Childe," the French version meaning "the Child," meaning eldest son or heir. The young nobles added their Christian given name to le Childe and came up with a name like William le Childe. Different William le Childe's are found originating Childe families in Bedford, Worcester, and Leicester. 5, 6, 7

Robert le Childe or Infans was Provost of Shrewsbury, Shrop-shire until his death in 1209. Robert signed his name three ways, le Childe, Childe, and Infans. These surnames are a result of the title which he held and his descendants used the surnames thereafter. 4

Child, Elias, Genealogy of Child, Childe, Childs of America, pp. 22-30
Dictionary of British Surnames p. 62
Dictionary of Welch and British Surnames p. 177
Provosts and Baliffs of Shrewsbury
Victoria County History of Worcester, Bedford
Wills of Norfolk
Patent rolls of Worcester and Cambridge 1200-1400

Surname Variations

Child - Childs - Chyld

This surname spelled also Childs, Child, and Chyld is one of the oldest English families names, the Progenitor was probably a Saxon Chief who assumed the name toward the end of the Saxon domination in England. After the Norman Conquest some of the Family took the Latinized French form of L'Enfant for some generations and several of that name were concerned in the conquest of Ireland in the Reign of Henry the 1lth, and in the government of the country in the 12th century. Others had seats at various places in Worcestershire and at Shrewbury, England.

Richard Le Childe was Lord Mayor of the Manor of Northwick in 1320 and was succeeded by his sons William and Thomas, and Grandson of Thomas Le Childe who was eschertic for the county in 1428.

The Child Coat of Arms (Worcestershire): Gules, fesse ermine between three doves argent. Crest: a Dove's wing expanded argent with a snake twining about her neck and body, OO.

William Childs (or Child) immigrant ancestor was bom in England about 1600 and settled with his brother Ephraim in Watertown, Mass. He was admitted a Freeman in 1634 and had a large land estate. He died early. William's widow is mentioned in the will of

Elizabeth (Palmer) Child who left her some wardrobe which was more ample and costly than was usually found in the colonies.

Ephraim Child died without issue and he in his will mentioned his brother William's children: Joseph mentioned below; Richard born in Watertown 1631, John born 1636; Joseph, son of William was born in England about 1620 and came in infancy with his parents to Watertown.

From Burke's Baronetage and Peerage of Great Britain, 38 edition:

The family of Child, Northwich, Worcestershire, England, have arms, gules a fesse ermine, between three doves argent crest a dove, wings expanded argent, with a snake twining about her neck and body or

Shield gules or red in the background, chevron white, engrailed black ermine black, outline of shield gold, with eagles argent or silver, the coils of the wreath alternate red and gold, eagle silver and snake black.

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