The Real Truth Behind Coats of Arms and Family Crests


One of the first things a lot of beginning genealogists want to explore is their family crest or coat of arms. It is a mistaken belief among beginners that every family has one of these somewhere in their ancient history, and newcomers to the genealogical field naturally want to celebrate their family by bringing their coat of arms back to life. This is a wonderful ambition, and if your family truly does have a coat of arms or crest that you are entitled to use, you should learn about it and display it proudly.
However, actually having a coat of arms or family crest is much more rare than you might imagine. Having the hereditary right to use it is even more rare. While there are many companies out there that are willing to sell you all kinds of merchandise with your supposed “family crest” on it, the vast majority of these companies are not engaged in legitimate genealogical research. The coat of arms or crest you get may or may not belong to your family (and it might be made up completely by the company selling it to you), or you may not have the hereditary right to use it. If you really want to know something about heraldry (the art of studying coats of arms and crests) and how it applies to your family, read on. It’s a fascinating tale...