What is a Coat of Arms?
The Coat of Arms Arose in about the 12th century, around
the time of the Crusades. A knight dressed in armour from head to foot could
not be recognized by friend or enemy, so a new method of identification
became necessary. This resulted in special markings being painted on the
knight's shield, as it was the largest piece of equipment the knight had,
and as the shield was easily seen, people could see who was who at a
distance on the battlefield. The markings were also embroidered on the tunic
he wore over his Armour. The term comes from the design being on the tunic,
hence 'Coat', this design was usually given to a knight once he became
entitled to bear Arms, hence we get the term "coat of arms". The design was
also used as a uniform for the servants of the household.
A Coat of arms was not awarded to a family or a name, but
to an individual. A coat of arms was probably granted to someone with your
surname many hundreds of years ago. A Coat of arms usually started out as
fairly simple in design, then subsequent generations added onto or made
slight variations to the design to make it their own. Marriages often
resulted in a combination of two different family lines' coat of arms.
Is there a Coat of Arms listed under my name?
Contrary to popular belief, over 90% of names we research have a Coat of
Arms listed for them, so the odds are good that we will be able to find one
| Enter your surname below, then click search
to see if we have your family name coat of arms and get a FREE summary of your family history.
Do you have names from all over the world on your database?
Yes, We currently have the surname history and oldest known coat of arms for
over 1 million family names from all over the world on our database.
Can a name have more than one Coat of Arms?
Yes, there are often more than one Coat of Arms displayed with a particular
family name. Different branches of a family or particular individual bearers
of a name may often have been granted their own Coat of Arms. Our research
normally makes reference to the earliest known Coat of Arms associated with
Can the same Coat of Arms be associated with more than one family name?
Yes, there are often cases of a number of family names being
associated with one particular Coat of Arms. Also due to the consistency and
universality of heraldic art, the same Coat of Arms may be associated with
two entirely different names in two different countries.
Is it possible to establish when and where a particular Coat of Arms has been granted and to whom?
Yes, however, not all source references give this much information regarding
the granting of a Coat of Arms.
The bearing of a coat of arms is not regulated in most
countries, including the United States. One main exception however, is in
England, where direct descent is required for any heir to have the legal
right to bear his ancestor's coat of arms. Further complicating the issue is
that the source information for a coat of arms only lists a city and/or
county of origin, and sometimes only a country. That is why, unless you can
trace your family history back to one individual, and unless the sources
list that individual, then the best that you can hope for is to find a coat
of arms that is the oldest for a given surname, from a given region or the
one most frequently used. While there is no reason we cannot enjoy the
decoration of a coat of arms associated with someone centuries ago who
shared our surname, we should be aware that this is all that it is, a
Top of Page