A Definition of Heraldry
Heraldry is, in its simplest form, a means of identification.
It is an art that involves creating, granting and emblazoning arms.
Heraldry is practised by state-appointed Officers of Arms,
who preside over armorial matters, including the interpretation
of heraldic and genealogical records to rule on uncertainties
regarding rank or protocol. Family heraldry then,
is this practise of designing, describing and
displaying a coat of arms particular to a family or families.
The Language of Heraldry
Heraldry has its own language for describing coats of arms.
The act of describing armorial bearings is called ‘blazoning’ and the description a ‘blazon’.
The verb derived from the Middle English blasoun, which came from the French word blason, ‘shield’.
It was termed this because the blazon describes those symbols enclosed in the arms’ shield, crest,
motto and other components of a coat of arms. This art is strictly regulated and controlled by the
appointed Officers of Arms.
Heraldry’s Origins and Today’s Usage
Heraldic emblems were developed in the Middle Ages as an identifier of combatants,
whose visages were obscured by their helmets. Heraldry, born nearly 900 years ago, is still in effect today.
Countries still make use of armorial bearings, or coats of arms, to reflect their personal values and
display a unique symbol that represents them and honours their heritage. Institutions, such as universities,
have coats of arms created for this same purpose. These arms contain heraldic elements, such as crests and shields.
These heraldic symbols still serve the practical purpose they were originally created for;
but also carry with them historical significance, ideals, notions of patriotism and honour.
Proudly Display Your Armorial Bearings
Heraldry, originally created to identify individuals, came to identify families and clans.
Family heraldry today is an important practise. Coats of arms and their insignia retain special meaning
for both those past and present; and this meaning, often subjective, has come to change and evolve over time.
Family heraldry was an art that began appearing on a variety of media, such as family seals and rings.
You can celebrate your family heraldry and its significance in both times gone by and currently by proudly
displaying your family coats of arms, shields, crests and rings.
Heraldic badges allow individuals and groups to make their own stamp on history.
For centuries, they have helped historians unearth historical truths.
As unique insignia they act as a personal identifier that conveys status, power and identity.
A Coat of Arms is sometimes also called a Family Shield, Family Seal or Family Crest.