This ancient and distinguished surname of Anglo-Saxon origin, with several entries in the "Dictionary of National Biography", and having no less than twelve Coats of Arms, originated as a nickname with various possible application from the Olde English pre 7th Century "Cild" (Middle English "child"), meaning "child". Firstly, it was widely used as an affectionate term of address and as such appears as an Old English byname. Secondly, the word "child" was used as a status name for a young man of noble birth. Thirdly, it was applied to a young nobleman awaiting knighthood, and finally it was used as a pet name for the youngest child in the family at the time of the parents death. The surname has the distinction of being first recorded in the Domesday Book (see below). Other early recordings include: Gode Cild (Suffolk, 1095), Roger le Child (Berkshire, 1204) and Emma Child (Yorkshire, 1379). Sir Francis Child (1642 - 1713) was Lord Mayor of London, 1698 - 1699. A Coat of Arms granted to the Child families of London and Worcestershire, on January 28th 1700, is a red shield with a chevron engrailed ermine between three silver eagles close, each gorged with a gold ducal coronet. The Crest depicts an eagle rising, with wings endorsed argent, gorged with a gold ducal coronet and holding in the beak an adder proper, standing on a rock proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Aluric Child, which was dated 1086 in the Domesday Book for Essex, during the reign of King William 1, known as "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. 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.
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