Heraldry is a vital aspect of genealogy...

...it's not just for the rich, landed and noble.

One of three folios of Scottish arms from the Armorial de Gelré, ca 1400.
There are many misconceptions about heraldry, not least that it is:
  • snobbish
  • only for the "great and the good"
  • at hangover from mediaeval times
  • colourful and historically interesting, but irrelevant

Far from it!
  Heraldry is a living, breathing science, especially in those countries where it has the full force of Statue Law (Scotland and Canada, for example) or reasonably well-regulated (England, Ireland and the US Military).

  There is no such thing as a "family coat of arms"
Arms belong to one person at a time and are heritable property, every bit as much as a house, a title or a treasured heirloom. Downloading a coat of arms from the internet and displaying it as your own just because it bears the same surname, may well be completely wrong and is tantamount to property theft - in some jurisdictions (Scotland, for instance) this is punishable by fines, confiscation and imprisonment.

  Consult www.courtofthelordlyon.scot/, www.college-of-arms.gov.uk/ and www.gg.ca/document.aspx?id=81 for more detail on this.

Beyond that, heraldry contains clues to the origins of a family and the relationships between those bearing similar arms. Understanding the historical-heraldic context is a specialist task.

Could you have a legal Coat of Arms?

For those who wish to be granted arms legally and correctly, we can help -- in any jurisdiction.
Email gen@brucedurie.co.uk or download this Information Pack.

Heraldry Resources - a selection of books to download - Heraldry-index.htm