The Child/Childs Coat of Arms


Coats of Arms are a science known as Heraldic Devices. These heraldic devices made their first appearance around the middle of the twelfth century, in Europe. The idea caught on and after about one hundred years heraldic devices were held in high regard. The names of those who first laid down the heraldic laws, or who officially brought them into existence are unknown. The earliest Heraldic document is in the form of a catalogue of armor bearers of the Kings of England, and the principal barons, and knights during the reign of Henry the Third. This catalogue is supposed to have been compiled between the years 1240 and 1245. In the reign of Henry III armorial symbols became hereditary.

Coats of arms distinguished between different family members, their property, recorded descent and close association. Only the members of a particular family could lawfully bear certain armorial symbols, and the various branches of that family had different symbols to distinguish one from the other. The shield represented the defensive implement of that name used in war and on which armorial symbols were originally carried. The ground, or surface of the shield is called a field, and here are depicted the figures which make up the coat of arms. The position of these different figures marks the distinct and different arms.
The Crest was marks of great honor, because they were worn by heroes of great valor and high rank. These marks would help to distinguish them in battle and would rally their men when separated. The crest is the highest part of the ornaments of a coat of arms, and is placed upon the wreath, unless it is an out flow of a coronet, or standing on a hat or hood. In the middle ages, no man who was under the degree of knight had his crest on a wreath, which is composed of two rolls of silk twisted together, and is the color of the metal of the arms. Crests appeared on the helmet of knights as early as the thirteenth century; and after the institution of the Order of the Garter, and in imitation of Edward III, who was the first King of England to wear a crest on his helmet. Then all knights’ companions of the Order began to wear crests. This practice soon became more popular and soon anyone who considered themselves entitled to bear arms began to wear crests.
Each Coat of Arms had a motto. Family mottoes are believed to have originated as battle cries in medieval times associated with some, deed of bravery or noble aspiration. Mottoes were not always hereditary, and have been changed, varied, or set aside according to the wishes of the owner. Colors for a Coat of Arms are:
Gold or yellow
Arrogant-Silver, or white
Arms are divided into eleven classes:
Arms of Dominion
Arms of Pretension
Arms of Community
Arms of Assumption
Arms of Patronage
Arms of Succession
Arms of Alliance
Arms of Adoption
Arms Paternal and Hereditary
Arms of Concession
Canting or Allusive Arms
There are other distinctive marks attached to Arms which show the different sons in a family, and their descendants; the duplication or combination of these distinguishing figures carries on the proportion and line of the descent. There are nine of these defining figures; that of the eldest son, is of this form and is termed a label; the second is a cresent ; the third is called 
a mullet; ; the fourth a marlett or a small martin.
There has been found in the American families three Coats of Arms for Child/Childs. One Coat has upon its field three does, and the motto "Imitari Quam Invidere." The other has three eagles, in the same position, with the same crest, and motto; the third is a variation of the second, in having in its center a small shield with a Marlette, which indicates the owner was the fourth son of the last house. If previous researchers had succeeded in establishing the line from which the American families are descended, we could without doubt know which coat of arms we are entitled.
Mr. Henry Child of Woodstock, CT., great grandfather of, Alias Child, author of the book, Genealogy of the Child, Childs, Childe Families in the United States and the Canadas from 1630-1881 built in the years 1761-62 a large and spacious house for his family. It was built on a main route of travel out in the country. He opened an Inn, and hung out for his Inn-sign a transcript of a coat of arms; this sign, in preservation, as of 1881 bore unmistakably the does, and an elderly relative, between the ages of eighty and ninety said that, "It was always called the family coat of arms, and the figures were meant for doves." A Rev. Dr. Willard Child found some years later, in the old homestead, a torn copy of a coat of arms, upon which the figures are evidently doves. In the eighteen hundreds, copies of a coat of arms had been found in several families and lines. In the Watertown branch, in the family of Ephraim Child, Jr. of Rutland, and West Boylston, MA, coat of arms was found, in the Barnstable branch in the family of Dr. Timothy Childs; and in a family of one of the southern branches. Among the descendants of an Edward and Margaret Weld Child were found two copies of a Coat of Arms alike in main points, but with some slight variations.
In Burke’s, General Armory of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, were found eighteen families of the name Childs with their arms, etc.; with eight the motto was given, and five had, "Imitari Quam Invideri.
In Berry’s, "Encyclopedia Heraldic and Dictionary of Heraldry," of eleven families of Child, we find one marked difference in the arms: of the larger number the Arms were red, with a chevron engrailed ermine, between three silver eagles. The Crest was a silver eagle, with its wings expanded or elevated wrapped up completely in a snake. The Motto was "Imitari Quam Invideri." This is the coat of arms that was accepted with large confidence as the Child/Childs Coat of Arms. It was described as: Shield - red in the groundwork, chevron white, engrailed black, ermine black, outlines of the shield gilt, eagles silver, the coils of the wreath alternate red and gilt, eagle silver, snake black.

Sir John Child had a Coat of Arms. From the book, Genealogy of the Child, Childs, Childe Families in the United States and the Canadas from 1630-1881, and from Halberts Historiography on a Childs Coat of Arms I found this information regarding a Coat of Arms for whom I believe belong to Sir John Child. The sources whom I consulted say, "This Coat of Arms was drawn by a heraldic artist from information officially recorded in ancient heraldic archives."

The Arms of Sir John Child is described as "Vert two bars engrailed, between three leopard’s faces. Crest, a leopard’s face or, between two laurel branches proper." Motto, "Spes Alit." It is not known when he took these Arms, but his baronetcy was conferred upon him in 1684 while he was a resident of the East Indies. He may then have adopted the leopard’s faces, as the Leopard was a frequent enemy, and some deed of bravery may easily have led to this assumption, always such arms were regarded as most honorable. His title became extinct in 1753 and his arms are not at present used by any of the name, or others placing his Arms with their own.
Around 1881 a Mr. Addison Child, gave a lot of thought and work in researching the matter of Arms. He was consulted and his work was accepted as the most accurate. The percentage of families bearing the arms with the eagles on the field is much larger, with an occasional exception; therefore, the coat of arms with the eagles was accepted with great confidence as the most accurate for the Child/Childs Family Coat of Arms. Each effort that was made in establishing a link between the American and English families has pointed very strongly towards a family bearing the eagles upon their arms, this Arms also indicates a kinship to Richard Child, father of Sir John and Sir Josiah Child our ancestors.
Sir Josiah’s Coat of Arms is described as such: Red, a chevron engrailed ermine, between three silver eagles. Crest, a silver eagle with its wings expanded, wrapped completely in a snake. "Motto" Imitari Quam Invidere.
Due to the fact that Sir Josiah Child’s Coat of Arms are like the Coat of Arms accepted as the Child/Childs family’s Coat of Arms is strong evidence that he is our ancestor.

It is interesting that Mr. Addison says the surname Child has never been written with the terminal "s" on any of the various Coats Of Arms.

Documentation for Child Coat of Arms design can be found in Rietstap armorial general.



The Childs Family Genealogy © 2004