Heraldry, Coats of Arms, and Family Histories

Updated: Nov 8, 2018

Heraldry originated some 900 years ago, back in the 1200's. It was a way for a knight in battle on the field to be easily recognized by the monarch. This was a way to show their efforts and loyalty toward the monarchy and thus gain credibility which would lead to rewards, perhaps in the forms of more land and titles. Once a heraldic device was granted to a knight or a lord, it stayed within the family and was passed down from generation to generation. Heraldry was a complicated tradition, with many rules, and so it was also up to the heralds to make sure that the rules were being followed.

A typical Coat of Arms is made up of seven components. The shield was the central element and could be seen from greater distances making families easy to identify. The helm signified the rank of the bearer. The crest served as a secondary identifier for the family. A piece of flair cloth, known as the mantle, was used to draw attention to the coat of arms. A wreath served as a joint between the helm and the crest. Two supporters typically animals were shown and used to hold up the shield. Finally, the motto, was the philosophy of the family.

A family history is just that, a history of the family name. Your family may be part of that history or had some role in it. A typical family name history print will detail the origins of the family name, variant spellings, key historical events tied to your family, as well as notable people who you share a last name with.

Want to learn more, and get a copy of your family coat of arms and history? Take a look at the items in the shopping section of our website, or stop in and see us! We are preparing to offer these custom prints, ready for you to take home.


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