A commonly misunderstood aspect of American family history and genealogy research is the European coat-of arms. I have found no proof that any of my American families have claim to a legitimate Coat-of-Arms other than the person to whom it was originally assigned or commissioned. We are free to create our own, or buy one online, but unless a hearldry organization recognizes the coat-of-arms, it is debatable what value that coat-of-arms would be for a multi-generational American family history.
From their April 2011 web page: "The College of Arms is the official repository of the coats of arms and pedigrees of English, Welsh, Northern Irish and Commonwealth families and their descendants." On their FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions page they post this:
|Q. Do coats of arms belong to surnames?|
|A. No. There is no such thing as a 'coat of arms for a surname'. Many people of the same surname will often be entitled to completely different coats of arms, and many of that surname will be entitled to no coat of arms. Coats of arms belong to individuals. For any person to have a right to a coat of arms they must either have had it granted to them or be descended in the legitimate male line from a person to whom arms were granted or confirmed in the past.|
- "The American College of Heraldry is a Chartered, non-profit body established in 1972, with the aim of aiding in the study and perpetuation of heraldry in the United States and abroad. Registrations are restricted by policy to American citizens or residents, as well as to others with significant personal or business connections in America."
- Dick Eastman's Genealogy Newsletter discussed the Myth of Family Coats-of-Arms November 13, 2009
- Genealogy Hall of Shame
- Genealogy Magazine Coat of Arms
- International Heraldry & Heralds - "Heraldry is the practice of devising, granting, displaying, describing, and recording coats of arms and heraldic badges. Officers of arms (Kings of Arms, Heralds and Pursuviants) practice heraldry and also rule on questions of rank or protocol."
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- Society of Genealogists Leaflet # 15 Right to Coat of Arms
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