Author Topic: Tracing a person from Crest and Motto  (Read 3916 times)

Offline Ian79

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Tracing a person from Crest and Motto
« on: Tuesday 03 March 09 12:54 GMT (UK) »
I wonder if you can help, I am trying to find out if I can trace the owner of a Bengal Artillery Officer's sword by the family crest and motto.  This is the very first time I have ever attempted any family history (although it is not my family) research.  I have no knowledge of heraldry and have tried to find out what I can from the library and the internet but don't understand a lot of the terminology and am therefore more than a little stuck.
 
I have managed to find out from a copy of Burke's General Armoury (published 1884 I think) that the crest and motto appears to be:
 
Crest: A griffin sergeant az. holding a swrd
Motto: Malo mori quam foedari
 
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 occurs in Burke's Armory several times but only once in conjunction with a crest that fits the description above.
 
In Burke's General Armory this is linked to "George Ryan of Inch House, Co. Tipperary".  I have found out that the Bengal Artillery list has two Ryan's in 1857, Thaddeus Richard (from Scarteen House, Limerick) and Edward Henry (born in Bengal possibly the grandson of Sir Edward Ryan who I think was English), both lived into the twentieth century.  My question is who, in the 1850's , would have been allowed to use this crest and motto and if it is possible to link it to one/both or neither of the people that I think it is?
 
I really hope that you can help or give me some pointers as to what I can do now as I am at a complete loss.  Thanks for taking the time to read this.
 
Kind Regards
Ian

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Offline km1971

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Re: Tracing a person from Crest and Motto
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday 03 March 09 15:07 GMT (UK) »
Hi Ian

If the sword is numbered and with a maker's name there are databases that exist that will tell you who bought it.

Ken

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Offline Ian79

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Re: Tracing a person from Crest and Motto
« Reply #2 on: Tuesday 03 March 09 15:49 GMT (UK) »
Hi Ken,

Thanks for the help.  Unfortunately there is no serial number on the sword.  It is an 1821 light cavalry/artillery officers sword,  I have got to the 1850's date from the fact it has the East India Company lion (pre 1858) on the blade which is of the fullered Wilkinson variety.  The makers mark on the blade appears to be from a gentleman's outfitters rather than a cutler (at least I can't find a cutler of that name) and the proof slug is not very clear.  Sadly the owners initials are not on the blade, just the crest, motto and regimental device (with "Bengal Artillery").

Thanks again.

Ian

Offline Ian79

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Re: Tracing a person from Crest and Motto
« Reply #3 on: Tuesday 03 March 09 19:32 GMT (UK) »
Do you think it possible to pin ownership on a Ryan based on the information that I have outlined above?  From the features on the sword (dating from 1850 ish to 1858) and the Burke's Armory linking of the crest and motto to George Ryan I have been looking for a Ryan in the Bengal Artillery.
 
Unfortunately they are two, both cadets in 1856 who enter service 1857 (from the East India Register and Army List), Thaddeus Ryan (from Scarteen House, Ireland) and Edward Ryan (who I think was born in Bengal and was possibly a grandson of Sir Edward Ryan). 

Does the crest and motto apply to both as they have the surname Ryan, or would it be attached to one person or family only?  This is possibly a very daft question but I haven't been able to figure out an answer!

Thanks for the help

Offline behindthefrogs

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Re: Tracing a person from Crest and Motto
« Reply #4 on: Tuesday 10 March 09 22:29 GMT (UK) »
The motto which means death rather thandisgrace was used by a number of families:

Adams, Athlone, Barnewell, Barnewall,  Beale, Doeg, Ffrench, French, Ginkell, Harty, Higginson, jackson, Lister, Menzies, Mulley, Murray, Payne, Strode, Surtees,

I have failed to match the crest with any family.  However many of the above used a Griffin's head as did the Irish Ryan family.

David
Living in Berkshire from Northampton & Milton Keynes
DETAILS OF MY NAMES ARE IN SURNAME INTERESTS, LINK AT FOOT OF PAGE
Wilson, Higgs, Buswell, PARCELL, Matthews, TAMKIN, Seckington, Pates, Coupland, Webb, Arthur, MAYNARD, Caves, Norman, Winch, Culverhouse, Drakeley.
Johnson, Routledge, SHIRT, SAICH, Mills, SAUNDERS, EDLIN, Perry, Vickers, Pakeman, Griffiths, Marston, Turner, Child, Sheen, Gray, Woolhouse, Stevens, Batchelor
Census Info is Crown Copyright from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Offline veeblevort

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Re: Tracing a person from Crest and Motto
« Reply #5 on: Monday 20 December 10 22:47 GMT (UK) »
Hi Ian,

I have tried to look into this a little for you, but please
bear in mind that I am new to heraldry, and you should be guided
by the wiser heads at this board, who will hopefully add their comments.

I have looked up the arms of the Inch and Scarteen Ryan families,
and they are similar as follows.

The Ryans of Inch, Tipperary:

Arms - Gules, three griffins heads erased Or.
Crest - A griffin segreant Azure, holding in dexter claw a dagger.
Motto - Malo mori quam foedari.

The Ryans of Scarteen, Limerick:

Arms - (RYAN bearing an escutcheon of pretence for PURCELL),
       Azure, three griffins heads erased Or,
       on an escutcheon of pretence Or,
       a saltire Sable between four boars heads couped of
       the last armed Gules.
Crest and Motto - Not mentioned - Please can anyone say if
                                  this means none were used?


The escutcheon did not come into being until 1919 upon marriage
to a Purcell heiress which leaves the tincture of the field as
the only difference, in your timeframe.
.
In 1857, the Scarteen armiger was John Ryan, Thaddeus Richard's father.
As first-born son Thaddeus was to inherit the arms upon the death of
his father on 6 May 1863. There are no biographical details for John
or Thaddeus, otherwise it might have been possible to imagine that he
perhaps had the use of his father's sword.

Source for the above was Burkes Irish Family Records, 2008 facsimile of
the 1976 edition.

Re:

Edward Henry Ryan born 18 Oct 1837, Bengal, India to
Edward Burke Ryan and Emily Letitia. Christened Calcutta 18 Oct 1837.

I can not find either of these men in the Inch or Scarteen descents,
or anywhere else as Nobility or as Landed Gentry.