This most interesting and rare surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and was probably a nickname given to someone who came from an orphanage, or may indeed have been an occupational name for a person who worked in an orphanage. The derivation is from the unrecorded Olde English pre 7th Century "cildra", Middle English "child", a child or infant, and "aern", building; hence children's building, orphanage. This surname has the same formation and meaning as the English surname "Childerhouse" (Olde English "cildra-hus"). The surname itself is first recorded in the late 13th Century (see below), while one John atte Children is recorded in Kent, in 1267, in the Calendar of Patent Rolls. Peter ate Children is mentioned in the Assize Court Rolls of Kent in 1317, while other early recordings include Thomas Children, 1477, and Robert Achildren, 1560, listed in the "Index of Wills proved in the Rochester Consistory Court". Dorety Children married Symon Ponder in 1539 at St. Peter Cornhill, London, and Richard Children married Elizabeth Everest in Canterbury in 16661. George Children (1742 - 1818), made a study of galvanic electricity in 1802, and his son, John (1777 - 1852), was a scientist educated at Cambridge. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Daniel Chyltren, which was dated 1298, in the "Calendar of Early Mayor's Court Rolls", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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