Coat of Arms
Where do I find my family’s coat-of-arms?
No family or surname "owns" a coat-of-arms. Arms are owned by an individual who has had them registered with a government official, such as the Lord Lyon, King of Arms in Scotland. Using a coat-of arms that does not belong to you is illegal and disrespects the customs and traditions of heraldry.
From the Introduction to "In Search of your British and Irish Roots" by Angus Baxter.
"Do not be led astray by advertisements offering you a coat-of-arms and a family history…unlikely you or your family have any right to a coat-of-arms…All you will get for your money is a coat-of-arms originally granted a long time ago to someone with a similar surname to yours. The odds against that person being your ancestor are great, and in any case, a coat-of-arms only descends from eldest son to eldest son." p. xii
For more information about heraldry, please visit the following websites:
- The Heraldry Society of Scotland -- contains many articles about heraldry, coats-of-arms, and many links to other organizations.
- The College of Arms of the United Kingdom
- Heraldry Society of England
- Canadian Heraldry Society
- American College of Heraldry
- Heraldica.org has many Frequently Asked Questions about Heraldry.
Our catalog lists numerous resources under the subject Heraldry.
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