Child History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The origins of the Child surname lie with the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name Child began when someone in that family worked as a military officer in the 10th century, probably comparable to a modern sergeant. In the Old English, it was rendered cild, which meant child. It was applied to the rank above the common soldier in that period, probably because they were in charge of "children." Later, in the 13th and 14th centuries, it came to denote a young man in training for the knighthood.

Early Origins of the Child family

The surname Child was first found in Hertfordshire. However, some of the family were found at Wanstead in Essex in later years. "The village is situated on the borders of Waltham Forest, near the main road from London to Cambridge; and is principally worthy of note as the site of Wanstead House, built in 1715, by Sir Richard (son of Sir Josiah) Child, created Viscount Castlemain in 1718, and Earl of Tylney in 1731. This splendid mansion was considerably enlarged and embellished by his descendants, and was surrounded by a very extensive park, laid out with great taste, and interspersed with gardens, pleasure-grounds, and grottos." [1]

Early History of the Child family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Child research. Another 148 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1280, 1379, 1784, 1606, 1697, 1660, 1697, 1690, 1638, 1684, 1638, 1630, 1699, 1673, 1677, 1703, 1702, 1703, 1642, 1713, 1698, 1702, 1705, 1708, 1684, 1740, 1674, 1721, 1713, 1715 and 1715 are included under the topic Early Child History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Child Spelling Variations

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Child has appeared include Child, Childe, Childs, Childes and others.

Early Notables of the Child family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include William Child (1606-1697), an English composer and organist, First Organist of the Chapel Royal (1660-1697); and Sir John Child, 1st Baronet (died 1690), Governor of Bombay, first governor-general of the British settlements in India. John Child (1638?-1684), was a Baptist preacher, born at Bedford about 1638, apprenticed to a handicraft; after a while he adopted another calling, and removed to Newport Pagnel, Buckinghamshire. [2] Sir Josiah Child of Wanstead, 1st Baronet (1630-1699), was an English merchant, economist proponent of mercantilism and Governor of the East India Company; he purchased Wanstead House in Essex in 1673...
Another 101 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Child Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Child Ranking

In the United States, the name Child is the 4,730th most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [3]


United States Child migration to the United States +

At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Child arrived in North America very early:

Child Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Benjamin Child, who settled in New England in 1630
  • Elizabeth Child, who settled in Salem, Massachusetts in 1630
  • Ephraim Child, who landed in Watertown Massachusetts in 1631 [4]
  • Richard Child, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [4]
  • The Child, who landed in Virginia in 1638 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Child Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Jane Child, who arrived in Virginia in 1701 [4]
  • John Child, who landed in America in 1760-1763 [4]
  • Thomas Child, who landed in America in 1760-1763 [4]
  • Andrew Child, who arrived in America in 1765 [4]
Child Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Child, who landed in America in 1808 [4]
  • Alexander Child, who arrived in New York, NY in 1811 [4]
  • Mr. Child, who landed in Mobile, Ala in 1822 [4]
  • Francis Child, aged 30, who arrived in New York, NY in 1834 [4]
  • Mary Child, aged 7, who arrived in New York in 1854 [4]

Canada Child migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Child Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Benjamin Child, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749-1752

Australia Child migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Child Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Joseph Child, (Bromley), (b. 1803), aged 16, English convict who was convicted in Lancaster, Lancashire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Canada" on 23rd April 1819, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1860 [5]
  • Mr. James Child, (b. 1802), aged 22, English farm labourer who was convicted in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England for life for house breaking, transported aboard the "Chapman" on 6th April 1824, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land), he was executed in 1830 [6]
  • Mr. Henry Child, English convict who was convicted in St Albans, Hertfordshire, England for life, transported aboard the "Clyde" on 20th August 1830, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [7]
  • Mr. Richard Child, English convict who was convicted in Lancaster, Lancashire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Aurora" on 3rd November 1833, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [8]
  • Mr. John Child, English convict who was convicted in York, Yorkshire, England for 10 years, transported aboard the "Blundell" on 13th March 1844, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Child migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Child Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • J W Child, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Aurora
  • J.W. Child, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Aurora" in 1840
  • Mr. T. Child, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Northfleet" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand, Via Wellington and Lyttleton in February 1854 [10]
  • Henry Child, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Wyvern" in 1856
  • Mr. Thomas Child, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Harwood" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 4th November 1858 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Child migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [11]
Child Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Ann Child, who settled in Barbados in 1688

Contemporary Notables of the name Child (post 1700) +

  • Julia Child (1912-2004), American chef, author, television personality and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom [12]
  • Francis James Child (1825-1896), American philologist, and Professor of Middle English at Harvard University
  • William Child (1606-1697), English composer
  • Sir Josiah Child (1630-1699), English writer and economist
  • Gloria Joan Liles Child (1922-2013), Australian politician, first female Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives (1986–1989)
  • Clifton Child, Historian
  • Arthur James Edward Child, Canadian businessman and former chairman and chief executive officer of Burns Foods
  • James Child Drury Jr. (1934-2020), American actor, best known for his starring role as The Virginian (1962-1967)
  • Marjorie Child Husted (1892-1986), American home economist who helped develop the brand character Betty Crocker
  • Peter Child Bacon (1804-1886), American politician, Mayor of Worcester, Massachusetts, 1851-52 [13]

HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Frederick D Child, British Musician, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [14]


  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  4. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  5. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 9th December 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/canada
  6. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retreived 26th January 2021, retreived from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/chapman)
  7. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 19th February 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/clyde
  8. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 20th August 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/aurora
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/blundell
  10. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  11. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  12. ^ Julia Child. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) Julia Child. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_Child
  13. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 25) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  14. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html


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