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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

Or, a chevron betw three leopards’ faces gules. Crest—On a mount a stag lodged proper.

Origin, Meaning, Family History and Nix Coat of Arms and Family Crest


While the surname Nix or any variation of its spelling is considered English in origin, the name from which it is derived, Nicholas, comes from Greece. When broken down the Greek given name Nikolaos, from which the English name of Nicholas originates from can be shown by the two root words “Nikan” means to conquer and “Laos” means of the people. The name became very popular among the Christian population of Europe during the Middle Ages in large part due to the notoriety of the legendary and highly revered Saint Nicolas, a Lycien Bishop in the 4th century.

Variations in the name's spelling exists, as with many names which date back to the early centuries. The variation in the spelling of names 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 Europe at the time. The variations in the English spelling of the name include Nix, Nicks, Nickes, and Nixon. There are also patronymic variations in the spelling such as; Nickson, Nickinson, Nickisson, Nicheson, and Nickson among others which combine a variation of the prefix “Nick” and the suffix“son”, meaning Nicholas' son.

In the “Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire” in 1279 there is a Henry Nix. There are additional records from Yorkshire in 1316 listing John son of Nyk in the Court Rolls of Manor of Wakefield.

The earliest records of immigrant to America bearing the surname Nix was Edward Nix who arrived in New York, NY in 1836. Henrietta Nix landed in 1847 and settled in New York, NY as well.

Worldwide, the highest concentration of people with the surname Nix live in the United States, Australia, Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom. By state, the largest percentile of those with the surname Nix live in Alabama.

One of the most notable bears of this surname is Richard Nix(Nykke). He was made Bishop of Norwich in 1501 by Pope Alexander VI. Previously he had held the positions and titles of Archdeacon of Exeter and the Archdeacon of Wells and Cannon of Windsor under England's King Henry VII. He was the last Roman Catholic to hold the position of Bishop of Norwich before the reformation.

Flight Lieutenant William Lionel Nix of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force was awarded the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath (GCB) in 1951. Warrant Officer Class I Robert Bernard Nix, The Black Watch (Royal Highlands Regiment) was awarded the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath in 1954. Shelia Mary Nix was awarded Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (G. B. E.) in 1999 and Order of the Companions of Honor in 2000.

Everett Dumas “E. D.” Nix was an American businessman and United States Marshall. He originally started out as the owner of a grocery and hardware store in his home state of Kentucky. During the land run of the early 1890s, he moved to Oklahoma where he was appointed U. S. Marshall. It was a very unsettled time in this area of the United States when E. D. Nix took over as U.S. Marshall. His first order of business was to put a stop to the lawlessness which was running rampant, beginning with the worst offenders, a group of outlaws known as the Doolin Dalton gang. Within five years, Nix had accomplished what he set out to do when he accepted the position of U. S. Marshall, he had wiped out the Doolin Dalton gang and significantly reduced crime in the Oklahoma Territory.

There are also many notables in the arts and entertainment world with the surname Nix. Garth Nix is an Australian best selling author of children and young adult fiction. Prior to becoming an author, he was a Senior editor at one of the world's largest book publishing companies and a literary agent. Bern Nix is an American jazz musician who is considered by many of his peers to be one of the top ten jazz guitarist of all times. He has performed with many of the top artist of the genre. Steve Nix is an American musician, songwriter, composer, arranger, and author. He is noted as one of the most influential musicians in Southern rock and R&B in the world today.

There have also been many world class athletes with the surname Nix; Sunder Nix is an American Olympic gold medalist in track and field, Charlie Nix was a British Olympic silver medalist in sports shooting, and Doyle Nix, Emery Nix, John Nix, and Kent Nix were all professional football players.

Nix Coat of Arms Meaning

The two main devices (symbols) in the Nix blazon are the chevron and leopard’s face. The two main tinctures (colors) are gules and argent.

Red in heraldry is given the name Gules, sometimes said to be the “martyr’s colour”1. The colour is also associated with Mars, the red planet, and the zodiacal sign Aries 2. Later heralds of a more poetical nature would sometimes refer to the colour as ruby, after the precious stone.3.

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) 4. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 5.

The chevron is one the major shapes used upon a shield, known as ordinaries. The inverted ‘V’ of the chevron is perhaps thought to have originated to represent a military scarf folded on the shield 6, or additional cross-pieces used to strengthen the shield and painted a different colour.7. It has also acquired the meaning of “Protection… granted… to one who has achieved some notable enterprise” 8, possibly becuase of its resemblance to the roof truss of a house.

The leopard’s face (sometimes, incorrectly referred to as a leopard’s head occurs very frequently in heraldry 9. Early heraldic artists tended to treat lions and leopards as the same animal, but during the development of British Heraldry the heads of the two creatures have adopted separate, and more realistic forms. Wade would have us associate leopards with warriors, especially those who overcome ”hazardous things by force and courage” 10

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Tony nix commented on 19-Nov-2018
There were nix’s In the us before 1836. My dads great grand father was married in Mississippi in 1836. He was born there.


  • 1 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
  • 2 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
  • 3 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P77
  • 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 A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, (various)
  • 7 The Pursuivant of Arms, J. R. Planche, Hardwicke, London 1859
  • 8 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P45
  • 9 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Lion
  • 10 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P65