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    FAMILY HISTORY RESEARCH

    Posted On : 01/08/2014

    At www.shieldandcrest.com we get quite a few phone calls from folk interested in the coat of arms (family crest) for their name as part of their ongoing family research. ( We even pay for the call!) It’s always interesting to hear how far back in family history some people have been able to go. These days, Ancestry.com is a great resource, but it’s not the only one. Immigration records are such an interesting way to join the family dots. Before the 1800’s, immigration documents were basically unheard of, however, some of our customers have relayed stories of discoverin.......View More


    THE MOST POPULAR IRISH SURNAMES

    Posted On : 11/06/2013

    The twenty most numerous Irish surnames are: 1-Murphy. 2-Kelly. 3-Sullivan. 4-Walsh. 5-Smith. 6- O’Brien. 7-Byrne. 8-Ryan. 9-Connor. 10- O’Neill. 11-Reilly. 12-Doyle. 13-McCarthy. 14-Gallagher. 15-Doherty. 16-Kennedy. 17-Lynch. 18-Murray. 19-Quinn. 20-Moore. One in every 75 Irish inhabitants has the surname Murphy. The original Irish language (Gaelige) spelling of the name is O’Murchadha. It is the most common name in County Wexford, and the second most common name in County Cork. Kelly is the second most common name in Ireland ( O’Ceallaigh in the Irish to.......View More


    ALL ABOUT COATS OF ARMS - PART ONE

    Posted On : 10/25/2013

    Nearly every heraldry site you see will state that coats of arms (family crests to some) were invented so that one could tell one mounted rider from another in battle. The heraldic scholar, A.C. Fox-Davies points out that coats of arms were in existence long before the closed helmet was invented, and were probably more to do with vanity than anything else. Up until 1944 in England, if your family had a hereditary grant of a coat of arms, you were required to pay a levy of two guineas (A guinea was one pound, and one shilling) per year to the Inland Revenue. This tax of about $4 per coat.......View More


    AUGMENTATIONS OF HONOUR

    Posted On : 10/11/2013

    Certain coats of arms fall into the category of augmentations of honour. Some arms will have been directly awarded, in the case of English heraldry, by the Monarch of the day. The arms of the Dodge family is said to have been directly granted by King Edward I for services rendered to his army (feeding them it appears). The arms contain the unusual heraldic charge of a woman’s breast distilling drops of milk. Edward III granted an arm to Sir John de Pelham for the victory at the Battle of Poitiers and the capture of the French King John. The arms contain buckles and ropes to signify th.......View More


    THE TORSE (WREATH OF THE COLORS)

    Posted On : 10/04/2013

    As I have recorded in previous articles, the crest was made from light wood, animal hides ( leather) or paper mache and mounted on top of the helmet. It helped to make the rider appear much taller. The issue of where the crest was attached to the mantling soon became a problem. In an effort to make everything look seamless, a wreath, or torse was added to the base of the crest to hide unsightly joining. The wreath was simply two twisted pieces of cloth, containing the primary colors of the arms. (One color, one metal such as white or yellow) It can be seen in most modern representations of .......View More


    CROWNS & CORONETS

    Posted On : 09/12/2013

    Ancient man probably utilized a headband, or fillet, to keep his long hair from getting into his eyes. Later on it became more specialized, religious leaders would wear a different style from fighting warriors for instance. By the time of the Pharaohs of Egypt, the first “proper” crown had arrived, the Uraeus was a golden representation of the Egyptian snake god and was a symbol of royalty. The use of crowns and coronets in heraldry is widespread. In the early grants of arms, crowns and coronets were considered an integral part of the crest area. After 1672 the use of crowns.......View More


    THE ARMS OF SCOTLAND

    Posted On : 08/20/2013

    The Arms of Scotland comprise a yellow (gold) shield with a red lion rampant surrounded by (in heraldic language) “A double tressure flory-counterflory gules” Two thin lines studded with red fleur de lys. Many myths surround the origins of the Arms of Scotland, the tressure was supposed to have been a reference to an alliance between the Emperor Charlemange and Achius, King of Scotland in the 8th. century, the story being that as the Scots had defended the “French lilies” therefore the lilies would surround, and defend, the Scottish lion. A more likely origin fo.......View More


    THE COURT OF LORD LYON OF SCOTLAND

    Posted On : 08/12/2013

    Coats of arms ( Family Crests) in Scotland come under the control of the Court Of Lord Lyon. There are eleven officers of the court and they deal with all aspects of Scottish heraldry and the granting of new grants of arms. Under the Lyon King Of Arms Act of 1672 the applicant must be “a virtuous and well deserving person”. The petitioner must also have domicile in Scotland, as opposed to owning land on which he or she doesn’t actually live. It is not possible for a non-British citizen to be granted a Scottish coat of arms (family crest) unless they can show a direct linea.......View More


    POLISH SURNAMES

    Posted On : 07/25/2013

    One of the most treasured reference books we have at www.shieldandcrest.com is Herbarz Polski. Compiled by H.Stupnicki in 1855, it is a comprehensive list of Polish surnames and their link to a particular coat of arms (Family Crest). It wasn’t until the 1400’s that the Polish nobility began to use family names. Soon a system of Clan names arose in which Clans would contain many different family names, some of them based toponomically on the village or area the bearer came from. In time, each Clan developed their own particular coat of arms, which became the arms of all those who.......View More


    IRISH SURNAMES IN THEIR ORIGINAL FORM

    Posted On : 07/22/2013

    I get lots of calls on the Shield And Crest Toll-Free line (866-289-2798) from folk with Irish names who worry about the difference between, for example, O’Connor, Connor, Connors, MacConnor, and Conor. The truth is that all those names are anglicized versions of the original Irish language name O’Conchobhair ( Pronounced O’ Cro-huir). In 1366 the English Crown passed The Statutes Of Kilkenny, which, among it’s many provisions, outlawed the official use of the Irish language ( Gaelige) in the colony. The decline of the language continued throughout the centuries,.......View More


    MacDonalds and Campbells

    Posted On : 06/10/2013

    These venerable clans have been at loggerheads for centuries in the Highlands of Scotland. After King William of Orange defeated King James and assumed the English monarchy, he offered pardons to all the Scottish Clans which had opposed him in favor of James. It seems that the MacDonald Clan were a wee bit tardy in pledging their allegiance to the new King and his Minister for Scotland, John Dalrymple, organized a plan to deal with them-harshly. On February 13th 1692, Dalrymple’s plan was put into effect by the Campbells at Glencoe. The MacDonalds were invited to the area for a fe.......View More


    HERALDIC SUPPORTERS

    Posted On : 04/18/2013

    Supporters are figures or animals, placed on either side of the shield area of a coat of arms. (Family Crest) Sometimes they are the same on each side, other times there is a different image of either side. Woodward & Burnett, writing in “A treatise on heraldry” declared that “Supporters are figures of living creatures placed at the side, or sides, of an armorial shield and appearing to support it. Originally, it is thought that supporters arrived with the invention of the engraver. Artists would fill in the blank areas at each side of the shield with fanciful imag.......View More


    THE HERALDIC SERPENT

    Posted On : 04/04/2013

    The serpent occurs quite often in coats of arms (Family crests) from England and Ireland. Some believe the snake was used as a symbol of wisdom, however it may well have been a reference to medicine and doctors. To this day, the Caduceus, a metal rod (sometimes with two wings) entwined with two snakes, is a common heraldic symbol used by hospitals and surgeries as a trade mark. In continental European heraldry, the serpent is more often depicted like a dragon or other heraldic monster. It is not uncommon to find a snake shown with wings and a crown. In Italian heraldry, serpents are shown &.......View More


    BUYING A COAT OF ARMS GIFT?........HERE ARE SOME TIPS

    Posted On : 03/26/2013

    A coat of arms (Family crest) gift is one of the best ways to celebrate someone’s family name, and all the history attached to that name. The arms may date back over eight hundred years and some of them contain enough information in the design of the shield to formulate the story of the grant of arms. Many potential customers, however, seem believe that as long as they can see the coat of arms they wish to have in an image online, then everything is hunky dory. In some cases, they often find a decent result, in some cases not so much. Check it out yourself. The part of the coat of arm.......View More


    LIST OF HERALDIC SYMBOLS AND THEIR MEANINGS- L Through Z

    Posted On : 03/20/2013

      LAMB- Normally painted with the staff and flag is the emblem of Christianity. LANCE- Denotes one in active service as a knight. LARK- An ancient symbol of eloquence. LAUREL- Sometimes shown in a wreath, is the emblem of triumph. LEGS IN ARMOR- The emblem of The Isle Of Man, seen also on the arms of MacLeod. LEOPARD- Emblematic of a valiant warrior. LILY- The regular kind, is the symbol of purity. LION- Regarded as the noblest of all the wild beasts, making it the symbol of strength and valor. The best known heraldic symbol. LIZARD- An emblem of vigilance. L.......View More


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