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Aiken Family Crest, Coat of Arms and Name History

/Aiken Family Crest, Coat of Arms and Name History

Aiken Family Coat of Arms

Variations of this name are: Aicken.

We have several coat of arms design(s) for the name Aiken. Click on the thumbnails to view each design.

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Aiken Coat of Arms Meaning

The four main devices (symbols) in the Aiken blazon are the cock, cross crosslet, bezant and fountain. The four main tinctures (colors) are sable, argent, gules and or.

Sable, the deep black so often found in Heraldry is believed to named from an animal of the marten family know in the middle ages as a Sabellinœ and noted for its very black fur 1A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable. In engravings, when colors cannot be shown it is represented as closely spaced horizontal and vertical lines, and appropriately is thus the darkest form of hatching, as this method is known 2Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy 3The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35.

Argent is the heraldic metal Silver and is usually shown as very pure white. It is also known more poetically as pearl, moon (or luna) 4Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 5A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11.

The bold red colour on a heraldic shield is known as gules. It has a long history within heraldry, it is known that one of those who besieged the scottish castle of Carlaverock in 1300 was the French knight Euremions de la Brette who had as his arms a simple red shield.6The Siege of Carlaverock, N. Harris, Nichols & Son, London, 1828, P180. The word gules is thought to come from the Arabic gule, or “red rose” 7Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 313. Later writers associated it with the precious stone ruby and the metal iron 8Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53, perhaps because of the red glow of iron in the heat of the blacksmith’s forge.

The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.9Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27. Along with, argent, or silver it forms the two “metals” of heraldry – one of the guidelines of heraldic design is that silver objects should not be placed upon gold fields and vice versa 10A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P85. The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo.11Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53.

The cock, and other members of its avian family are often found in coats of arms, although telling them apart simply from their images can sometimes be a challenge! Many times the precise choice of species arises as a play on words on the family name, sometimes now lost in history. 12A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cock The cock itself, Wade points out is a “bird of great courage” and might be used as a symbol of “watchfullness”, being the herald of the dawn. 13The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P80

No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross 14Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47. Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross. The cross crosslet is one of these, being symetrical both vertically and horizontally and having an additional cross bar on each arm. 15A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cross Crosslet Wade suggests that these additional crossing signify “the fourfold mystery of the Cross”. 16The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P103

For easy recognition of the items on a coat of arms, and hence the quick identification of the owner, bold simple shapes are best. Hence, simple geometric shapes are often used for this purpose 17A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P146xz`, and the bezant Is a typical example of this, and in British Heraldry always takes the tincture or. It shares the same root as the name Byzantium, being associated with the gold coin of that city and indeed, in some heraldic traditions is represented as a coin-like disk in perspective. Wade suggests that the use of this device refers to ” one who had been found worthy of trust and treasure.” 18The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P122

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Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Aiken Name

AIKEN

The Irish surname Aiken is a derivative of the medieval Scottish nickname “Ad”, the diminutive of the Hebrew given name Adam, which translates to “earth”. This translation and meaning are associated with the Judaeo-Christian teachings that God created Adam from earth. In this context the name would be considered patronymic.

Surnames in Europe prior to the mid-sixteenth century were largely unheard of outside of the noble class. In the small settlements and villages which existed during earlier times, residents found little need for surnames as everyone in these communities new each other and a given name would usually suffice. However, with the passage of time, population growth and expansions of communities as villages gave way to towns and cities, it became necessary to add a qualifier to a people’s names to distinguish them, one from another. Therefore one person may have been identified by their given name plus their occupation while another may have been identified by their given name and one of their parent’s names. The introduction of surnames after the medieval era seemed to be the next logical step in this evolution. There was a boundless supply from which surnames could be formed, in addition to the use of patriarchal/matriarchal names or reference to the individuals occupation, there were things such as defining physical traits, a familiar geographical location or a topographical landmark found near the individuals home or birthplace, the name of the village in which the person lived.

An early record of this surname or any variation, is that of John Akyne which appears in the Records of Scotland dated 1405. The Records of Scotland were a series of census and tax records kept by the Scottish Registrar during the reign of King Robert “The Stuart” of Scotland. The advent of the use of surnames served a practical purpose, allowing for more accuracy in census and taxation records as well as a more effective way of keeping records for immigration records.

The task of record keeping was primarily under the jurisdiction of the Church, local priories, and government offices. This was due in large part to the fact that literacy was a skill usually found only among the nobles, the clergy, and government officials and scribes. These official records often contained variations in spelling of many surnames. The variation in spelling during this time period can be attributed to a lack of continuity regarding guidelines for spelling which was compounded by the diversity of languages in use in European countries at this time. The variations in the spelling of the surname include but not limited to; Alken; Atkin; Atkins; Aiken; and Aitken among others. One of the first common usages of Aiken was in a Jacobite song, called “Aiken Drum.” The song was used to rally the Catholic Scottish forces behind James Francis Edward Stuart known as the “old pretender” and as a reference to the Battle of Sheriffmuir, fought in 1715.

One of the first recorded immigrants to America bearing the surname or any variation of the spelling were brothers Edward and James Aiken who arrived in 1720 and settled in New England. John Aiken landed and settled in New England in 1722.

There were also many immigrants to the British Commonwealth countries such as Australia and New Zealand. Henry Aiken landed in 1855 and settled in South Australia and Mary Aiken landed in 1854 and settled in Wellington, New Zealand.

Worldwide, the highest concentration of people with the surname Aiken are found in the Canada, United States, New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom. By state, the largest percentile of those with the surname Aiken live in South Carolina, Georgia, New Hampshire, and North Carolina.

There are many persons of note who bear the surname Aiken such as, British born, Sir John Alexander Carlisle Aiken. Aiken was a senior officer in the Royal Air Force, Served as Commander of the British forces in Cyprus during the 1973 Turkish invasion of the island.

During his military career, Aiken served in various capacities. He was a veteran of World War II, an instructor at the RAF College Cranwell, and Officer Commanding Birmingham University Air Squadron among others. Aiken retired from the Royal Air Force in 1978 at which time he was made Director of Intelligence at the Ministry of Defense until 1981 and was President of the Royal Air Forces Association for two terms in the 1980s. In 1967, Aiken was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath and was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in 1973.

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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) Ar. a chev. betw. three cocks’ heads sa.
2) Gu. a cross crosslet or, cantoned with four bezants. Crest—A fountain throwing up water ppr.

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References   [ + ]

1. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable
2. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26
3. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
4. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
5. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11
6. The Siege of Carlaverock, N. Harris, Nichols & Son, London, 1828, P180
7. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 313
8. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
9. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27
10. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P85
11. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
12. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cock
13. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P80
14. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47
15. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cross Crosslet
16. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P103
17. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P146
18. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P122
19. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable
20. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26
21. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
22. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
23. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11
24. The Siege of Carlaverock, N. Harris, Nichols & Son, London, 1828, P180
25. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 313
26. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
27. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27
28. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P85
29. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
30. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cock
31. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P80
32. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 47
33. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Cross Crosslet
34. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P103
35. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P146
36. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P122