Author Topic: Family Crest Identification Help Please!  (Read 19176 times)

Offline Ian79

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Family Crest Identification Help Please!
« on: Wednesday 04 March 09 08:55 GMT (UK) »
I wonder if you can help, I am trying to identify who had the right to a crest and motto in the 1850's.  This is the very first time that I have ever attempted any family history research and I have a very limited knowledge of heraldry (gleaned over the past few days from the internet and local library) and don't understand a lot of the terminology so feel that I have got as far as I can without some kind soul helping me.

Although I have no idea of the correct terms the crest shows what I would describe as a griffin standing in profile looking to the left and holding a swrd, the motto is "Malo mori quam fodaria".  I have managed to find from a copy of Burke's General Armory (published 1884 I think) and from that think the crest and motto are

Crest: A griffin sergeant az. holding a swrd
Motto: Malo mori quam fodaria

Although the motto appears several times there is only one crest that sounds like the one I can see.  From Burke's the crest and motto appears to belong to George Ryan of Inch House, Co. Tipperary.  Unfortunately the item that holds the crest and motto is dated 1850 - 1858 and this is to late for George Ryan.

Basically I have no idea who this crest and motto belonged to but would like to know if it is possible to trace the person or people who had the right to use it (or if it is generic to the Ryan name)?  I appreciate that there is probably a simple answer but I don't understand about the process of granting crests or if it is possible to trace an individual from one.

The person who carried the crest in the 1850-1858 period was an officer in the East India Company's Bengal Artillery, but in that period there was more than one Ryan serving, hence my desire to know if the crest/motto can be linked to one person (Thaddeus Richard Ryan of Scarteen House, Limerick and Edward Henry Ryan, born in Bengal but possibly of Irish descent are my two contenders).

Sorry for the rambling question but I wanted to get as much information down as I have to find out if there is more available.  Apologies for any cross posting as I initially posted a different question in the Military section but on reflection I think my real question is one of heraldry (I think), so I hope that I have put this in the right place (moderators please feel free to close my other post if you think it appropriate).  Any help at all would be gratefully received.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope that I have made some sense.

Ian

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Offline Linda_J

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Re: Family Crest Identification Help Please!
« Reply #1 on: Wednesday 04 March 09 12:50 GMT (UK) »
Hi Ian

I can't help much but a ref to Malo Mori Quam Foedari - (Death before Disgrace)
See http://www.swabia-teutonic.org/index.htm
also
http://home.att.net/~numericana/arms/lister.htm


Linda
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Offline Stephen J F Plowman

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Re: Family Crest Identification Help Please!
« Reply #2 on: Thursday 02 April 09 09:52 BST (UK) »
Ian

The full Coat of Arms for Ryan of Inch House are listed in Burke's General Armory as;

"Arms: Gules three griffins’ heads erased Or. 
Crest: A griffin sergeant Azure holding a sword erect proper.
Motto: Malo mori quam foedari."

A very approximate rendition can be seen here;

http://www.araltas.com/features/ryan/ryan.jpg

However, the griffin heads on the shield should be gold/yellow and the griffin on the crest should be blue.

As to who can use the Arms, that is limited to the male descendants of George Ryan.  It would appear that the current armiger is now resident in New Zealand - see http://booleweb.ucc.ie/search/subject/archives/ryaninch.htm

Hope that this assists.

Regards

Stephen

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Offline behindthefrogs

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Re: Family Crest Identification Help Please!
« Reply #3 on: Thursday 02 April 09 13:43 BST (UK) »
The difference between the coat of arms described in the blazon (the colour differences pointed out by Stephen) and those on the link clearly illustrate the problems of trying to establish the ownership of a particular coat of arms without having the full description.

I suspect that the arms on the link are probably derived from those of another member of the family who was aclose relative and granted his own arms including the differences noted. 

While the full coat of arms pass down the heriditary line the various parts can follow various paths.  The shield usually follows a male line even when there are small differences.  However it is not unusual for the crest and motto to be granted to someone who is related on the female rather than the male line.     Thus your crest and motto could show just a common ancestor with the Ryan line and could belong to a family with a different surname  It may have been inherited from a female Ryan or the Ryans may have inherited it through a female line from another family.  The latter is however much less likely in this case as the griffins on the crest also appear on the shield which indicates that they probably originate together.

David   
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Offline Ian79

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Re: Family Crest Identification Help Please!
« Reply #4 on: Thursday 02 April 09 18:14 BST (UK) »
David and Stephen, thank you both for the help, I wasn't aware of the current holder of the arms or the information from Booleweb.

Since posting I have found that there is another branch of the Ryan family, also from Ireland but not from Inch House, who are has a different coat of arms but the same crest and motto.  Ryan (William) of Ballymackeogh, Co. Tipperary, is listed in Burke's Landed Gentry of 1864 with the same motto and crest.

Where do you think I should start in trying to find out the original owner of my sword?  I am a complete novice at researching geneology but know that the sword I now own was made for an officer serving in the Bengal Artillery and must date between 1850 (but most likely 1854) and 1858.  In my novice I initially thought that it must belong to a Ryan and established through the East India Register and Army List (available on google books) that an Edward Henry and Thaddeus Richard Ryan received commissions into the Bengal Artillery in 1857 and 1856 respectively. 

However I can't link either officers (TR or EH Ryan) with either estate mentioned above although this may well (and probably is) because I don't know where to look.  After reading the above two posts I am not entirely sure I was heading along the right lines to begin with and would appreciate any guidance at all. 

Once again thank you for your help.

Ian

 

Offline Stephen J F Plowman

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Re: Family Crest Identification Help Please!
« Reply #5 on: Thursday 02 April 09 19:09 BST (UK) »
The London Gazette is a good tool to identify officers in the British and British Indian Armies. (I too appear in there  ;D ).  All appointments, promotions and awards are published in the Gazette - http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/search

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Offline Ian79

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Re: Family Crest Identification Help Please!
« Reply #6 on: Monday 06 April 09 20:31 BST (UK) »
Hi Stephen,

Thanks for the information, the London Gazette search function is a very useful tool.  I have also found out that the East India Company Register and Army List (pre the 1858 Indian Mutiny and the absorbtion of the H.E.I.C into the Crown) is available in full view online on google books (seaching 'East India Company Register and Army List', I am sorry I don't know how to post a link).  The East India Company Register and Army List is the H.E.I.C equivilant of Hart's Army list and gives full details of the officers of the Company in their respective presidencies (Bengal, Madras and Bombay) by regiment.

I am really not sure how to begin linking the crest to the owner beyond the assumptions I started with.  I am attempting to attach an image of the Crest and Motto for  comments, is there any significance to the 'band' like device and knot surrounding the crest, or is it just a decorative way of bordering the image on the blade? 

Offline Stephen J F Plowman

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Re: Family Crest Identification Help Please!
« Reply #7 on: Monday 06 April 09 20:47 BST (UK) »
Ian

The link to the East India Company Register and Army List of 1857  is here;

Click here.

With regard to the crest on the sword, I'm afraid I cannot see anything to take us any further forward.
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Offline Ian79

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Re: Family Crest Identification Help Please!
« Reply #8 on: Thursday 09 April 09 12:28 BST (UK) »
Thanks for the help.

I have had a look through the papers quoted in the link that where donated by the current holder of the arms of George Ryan and can find no reference to service in the Bengal Army shortly before the Mutiny of 1857-59.  Can I then assume that the crest and motto is linked to Ryan (William) of Ballymackeogh, Co. Tipperary (the other person mentioned in Burke's Landed Gentry as holding the crest and motto that I have pictured) rather than Inch House?

As I am hopelessly out of my depth with geneological research could somebody point me in the right direction for finding out if male descendants of Ryan (William) of Ballymackeogh, Co. Tipperary could have had service in the Bengal Army?  For example, despite the answer being posted above I have no idea how to find out who (and where) the current holder of the arms resides.

Thanks for the help.

Kind Regard

Ian