(Hons) PhD OMLJ FIGRS FHEA CBiol QG
Shennachie to the Chief of Durie
Academician, Académie Internationale de Généalogie
Fulbright Senior Scottish Studies Scholar, 2015-16
Right of Audience at the Court of the Lord Lyon
Freeman and Burgess of the City of Glasgow
Heraldry is a vital aspect of genealogy...
...it's not just for the rich, landed and noble.
There are many misconceptions about heraldry, not least that it is:
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.
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?
Heraldry Resources - a selection of books to download - Heraldry-index.htm
Please note: we do not restrict ourselves to Scottish research, but can carry out investigations in any country in the world and in any archive