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skooliano

How do you know if a coat of arms is accurate?

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skooliano

I was wondering how one can verify whether or not a coat of arms is accurate or not? My last name is Washington and I have found several websites that show the washington coat of arms. Do family names generally only have one coat of arms?

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granny

I was wondering how one can verify whether or not a coat of arms is accurate or not? My last name is Washington and I have found several websites that show the washington coat of arms. Do family names generally only have one coat of arms?

I don't know a lot about heraldry, but from what little I've read about it, no, they are not assigned to "family names." Each originating country has its own rules about how coats of arms are inherited, so you should read up on the heraldry rules for the country of origin. However, generally speaking, I believe they are inherited by certain (usually) male heirs of an originating person who registered the arms. For instance, my maiden name is Nicholson, but there are many unrelated families with the surname Nicholson. My family is not entitled to any Nicholson coat of arms without proving direct (usually male) descent from the orignating ancestor.

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waltreams

I think a lot of the companies that sell coats of arms use very liberal definitions to make sure they can sell you "your" arms. One of my in-laws bought their arms. They got a certificate showing about 15 different surnames that all shared the same "origins" and a picture of the arms awarded to someone whose surname was almost, not-quite, maybe similar to theirs.

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Ed Barnard

In the 1933 book "Our Ansley Family" (my gg-grandmother is an Ansley), the Ansley title and arms are traced through several centuries. But, then, it concludes that the original American (colonial) Ansley are not proved to be tied to that line. So, the book concludes, the Ansley arms do exist (and are pictured), but OUR right to those arms is not conclusively proved.

So... yes, I agree, some are more careful about "claiming" arms than others!

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skooliano

Thanks for the replies everyone! I will definitely start to read up on this more.

I was looking at a company that sold coat of arms and underneath they had a least of notable people who carry the name "Washington". They listed Denzel Washington and Booker T. Washington and I found that kind of odd. Myself and my family are black american and our surname was probably more or less acquired, through slavery, not given or inherited so it seemed a little odd that the coat of arms would passed along to us. Seemed liked it would be kept within the original Washington family and not really apply to us who aren't within the Washington bloodline.

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Ed Barnard

I have the records now of when my uncle, decades ago, ordered the "book" about the Dierlam family. It merely contained boilerplate material about European migration patterns, followed by everyone in their database with the surname of "Dierlam." It had nothing in the way of specific Dierlam genealogy research.

So, yes, do look carefully at what you're getting!

As an African American, yes, you have some major brick walls to get past! I've discussed this with other people of Southern "colored" heritage. After the War Between the States, freed slaves took on the surname of their owner, or someone they respected. Different members of the same family took on different surnames. Do check with the Freedman's Bank resource. (U.S. government site? ancestry? I forget!) Freedmen's Bank was set up specifically by the US government as a banking facility for freed slaves in the late 1800's.

I'm also told that these families continued to "lay low." They tried to avoid being on the censuses or any other public records. The less attention they drew to themselves, the better. This is not true for ALL persons, of course. But for descendants of people who were enslaved in the USA, it seems to generally be so.

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gvdm

I was wondering how one can verify whether or not a coat of arms is accurate or not? My last name is Washington and I have found several websites that show the washington coat of arms. Do family names generally only have one coat of arms?

Hi skooliano,

Arms are not tied to surnames so in reality these companies are less than genuine in their business dealings. The only way to find if arms belong to you is through a thorough genealogical search.

Arms are passed down through male bloodline from the original person to whom the arms are recorded. The custom in continental Europe is all legitimate male children of that person and their male decendents. The United Kingdom is slightly different as they passed the arms to the oldest male child and younger males put a difference, called a label, on the arms. For instance a second son would add a crescent to the shield.

Anyway, having different arms for the same surname would be normal as not all people with a surname are related. Also not all people with a certain surname would have a coat of arms as most people do not. It would be quite obvious that not all people with the name "Smith" are related so there would be multiple "Smith" arms that some "Smith's" are entitled to and most are not entitled to any.

kind regards

George

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skooliano

George ... thanks for the reply. That makes sense to me. As a black-american it was really weird seeing the coat of arms for the surname Washington being assigned to just any washington. Seemed like that would be something reserved for a direct descendant of the Washington family.

That was great insight. Thanks!

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gvdm

George ... thanks for the reply. That makes sense to me. As a black-american it was really weird seeing the coat of arms for the surname Washington being assigned to just any washington. Seemed like that would be something reserved for a direct descendant of the Washington family.

That was great insight. Thanks!

Not a problem, Just glad it helped. That is an area I specialize in, it is a fairly complex subject.

kind regards

George

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palmspringsbum

Arms are passed down through male bloodline from the original person to whom the arms are recorded. The custom in continental Europe is all legitimate male children of that person and their male decendents. The United Kingdom is slightly different as they passed the arms to the oldest male child and younger males put a difference, called a label, on the arms. For instance a second son would add a crescent to the shield.

If you are a black American, and your father (or ancestor) was a white Washington, and you and your ancestors were the first male, descended from a string of first males, you are entitled to bear his arms.

I've never paid much attention to this, but evidently my great-grandfather, having lineage to a Scot knight, was entitled to bear his arms. I am not, since I don't have lineage. But that hasn't stopped me from flaunting it...

This is where dsp becomes important. If your ancestors dsp'd, then a woman could have become the heiress. And the rules regarding this are Byzantine. I have a number of heiresses in my pedigree, and the best discussion of that and heraldy in general that I have found is here: www.powys.org

It seems the Scots quarter the arms of an heiress and all her descendents are entitled to the quartered arms.

steptoe, are we cousins?

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Deni

I always consider the coat of arms as something that doesn't belong to me, but rather belonged to one of my ancestors. As such, it is still part of my genealogy and can be used for research into the family. Besides, they're pretty pictues. :)

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palmspringsbum

I always consider the coat of arms as something that doesn't belong to me, but rather belonged to one of my ancestors. As such, it is still part of my genealogy and can be used for research into the family. Besides, they're pretty pictues. :)

I see you have a Tewkesbury in your tree. The Garner/Keene line? I haven't explored your site yet, and if I do I won't have time to finish revising all the links and stuff in mine.

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Deni

:) I don't think I've got the Garner/Keene line. My grandmother's maiden name was Tewksbury.

When you get a chance, you're welcome to have a look. I just added a bunch of photos.

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René Besamusca

George,

Your signiture seems to be 'hayecked' (Sp?) :?::?::?:

In stead of pinting to your ..merwede.org destination one ends up on a ..merwede.net site containing a number of 'financial links', while the intended site is in fact your geneology site.

Rene

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