This ancient surname recorded as Child, Childe, Childs, Childes, Cheeld, Chill and Chiles, is of Old English pre 7th Century origins. It derives from the word "Cild", meaning "child", and was used in a number of ways. In the "Dark ages" before the Norman Conquest of 1066, it was often applied to the eldest son of a nobleman, as a term of affection. As such it could be described as a status byname, although it seems that during the medieval times the name began to be more generally applied to a son who was held in high esteem by his parents. By the 14th century and on down to the 20th century, the term was applied to all children, and sometimes in a more sarcastic manner! What is certain is that it is one of the earliest of all recorded surnames, and where it occurs the final "s" is a patronymic or short form of "son". Early examples of recordings include Gode Cild of Suffolk, in1095, Roger le Child of Berkshire, in the Pipe Rolls of the county in 1204, and Emma Child, in the Poll Tax rolls of Yorkshire in the year1379. Later examples includeElizabeth, the daughter of Thomas Childs, christened at Wandsworth, London on June 14th 1677, and Sir Francis Child, the Lord Mayor of London in 1698/99. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Aluric Child, which was dated 1086, in the "Domesday Book" for the county of Essex, during the reign of King William 1, known as "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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