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What you need to consider when researching your family?s coat of arms

From Stone Mountain, Georgia

What you need to consider when researching your family’s coat of arms
by: Mark White

If you are researching your family’s coat of arms you may think that it is as simple as looking on a website and choosing the crest or coat of arms that is connected with your last name. This is one way that you can go about it but it may not actually give you the proper crest or coat of arms that belonged to your family.

This is because different members of the same family may have subtle differences in the shield or crest that they carried. There may have been subtle differences in the colors, patterns or images that appeared on your ancestor’s crest or coat of arms. In the past it was illegal for one person to bear a crest or coat of arms that belonged to them and if you want to avoid making the same mistake, you need to do a little research.

First steps to finding your coat of arms

One of the first things to look at is your ancestor’s position in their family. This may have meant that there were different charges on their crest or coat of arms. A charge is an image of a plant, animal, person or object that appeared on a crest or coat of arms. If an individual performed some extraordinary task for a monarch or an organization (such as the Church) they may have been permitted to place certain images on their crest or coat of arms.

As you can see, it is important to find out what your ancestor’s precise coat of arms or crest would have looked like. Here are a few tips that you can use in order to find out what crest or coat of arms to use.

Look into your family’s genealogical history

One of the first things to do is to look into the genealogical history that belonged to your family. You need to find out which member of the family you were descended from. This is important as certain family members may have completed different accomplishments or used specific devices on their coat of arms.

You can find a lot of information online. There are family history websites that may have information on your ancestors and the coats of arms that they may have carried. You should also look at the accomplishments of your family as a whole as they may have meant that a crest or coat of arms changed over the years.

You also need to find out whether the crest or coat of arms that belonged to your family was one that could be used by multiple members at one time. There are certain crests that could be used by a number of people instead of just one or two.

If you don’t have the time to do the research yourself you may be able to find a company that will do the work for you. You want to make sure that they can give you accurate information about which crest or coat of arms belonged to your ancestor and which one you can use yourself. 

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