Author Topic: Looking for “Your” Coat of Arms - A few pointers  (Read 3645 times)

Offline Stephen J F Plowman

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Looking for “Your” Coat of Arms - A few pointers
« on: Tuesday 19 October 10 16:22 BST (UK) »
One of the most asked question is “What is my Coat of Arms?”.  My glib answer would be “If you have to ask you probably have not got one”.  It must be remembered that in the heraldic traditions of Western Europe there is no such thing as a generic Coat of Arms for a given surname.  Basically a Coat of Arms is specific to an individual and their legitimate descendants.  The actual flexibility/rigidity of usage will vary from nation to nation.

One of my particular interests is the “One Name Armorial”.  There I try to identify all the “valid” Coats of Arms recorded for a particular British surname (www.heraldry-online.org.uk).  Working on the assumption that you would know about any grant of Arms in the 20th century, my suggested route to look for “Your” Arms on the Internet is as follows:

1)   Burke’s General Armory  (BGA)- http://www.archive.org/details/generalarmoryofe00burk

This will give an indication if Arms have been recorded/noted for the surname in question.  HOWEVER, BGA is not reliable.  The quality of the information ranges from the cast iron to the flight of fancy.  Generally, the more personal details given, dates, names and locations, the more reliable the entry.  Unfortunately that in itself cannot be guaranteed.  From personal experience I have found one detailed entry to be for invalid Arms.

2)   The Harleian Society’s Grantees of Arms:
Grantees of Arms to the end of the 17th century - http://www.archive.org/details/granteesofarmsna00fost
Grantees of Arms 1687 to 1898 Volume I - http://www.archive.org/details/granteesofarmsna66fost
Grantees of Arms 1687 to 1898 Volume II - http://www.archive.org/details/granteesofarmsna68fost

The Grantees of Arms will not give you a description of the Arms granted but it will give the name and some personal details of the grantee.  With luck the entries may tie in with entries in BGA or Armorial Families (see below).

3)   The Scottish Ordinary Vol 1 - http://www.archive.org/details/ordinaryofarmsco00paul

Scottish Arms granted/matriculated from 1672 to 1893 are recorded in the online version of the Scottish Ordinary.  This will provide details of the Arms recorded but in “components”.  Where Arms are quartered each quarter is listed according to the charges displayed upon the shield.  In some of the most complex Arms you can be looking in a dozen different places to get the whole picture.  The personal details are quite minimal.

4)   Fox-Davies’ Armorial Families:
Armorial Families 5th Edition 1905 - http://www.archive.org/details/armorialfamilies00foxd
Armorial Families 7th Edition 1929 Vol I - http://www.archive.org/details/armorialfamilies01foxd
Armorial Families 7th Edition 1929 Vol II - http://www.archive.org/details/armorialfamilies02foxd

Fox-Davies “guarantees” that those listed in his Armorial Families are genuinely armigerous.  The entries are very detailed but the 1929 edition can be a bit confusing when it lists the family details.  You may have to refer to an earlier edition to clarify who is who. 

Plowman - Dorset
Gollop - Dorset
Taunton - Dorset
Carver - Norfolk
Oyns - all
Tweedy - all
Also British Heraldry (www.heraldry-online.org.uk)

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Offline Stephen J F Plowman

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Re: Looking for “Your” Coat of Arms - A few pointers
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday 19 October 10 16:24 BST (UK) »
Part 2

For more “ancient” English Arms there are the various Heralds’ Visitations of the 16th and 17th centuries.  Not all these Visitations have been transcribed or, those that have been, are on the Internet.

5)   Armigerous Ancestors Search - http://www.achievements.co.uk/services/arm/index.php
This allows you search by surname or variations to see if it is recorded in any of the Visitations or other pedigrees compiled by Cecil Humphery-Smith.  The Visitations currently available online are as below:

Visitation of Berkshire 1532 - http://www.archive.org/details/visitationofberk00benorich
Visitation of Berkshire 1566  - http://www.archive.org/details/visitationberks00hervgoog
Visitation of Berkshire 1664-1666  - http://www.archive.org/details/visitationofberk00ashmrich
Visitation of Buckinghamshire 1566  - http://www.archive.org/details/visitationofbuck00harvrich
Visitation of Cheshire 1580  - http://www.archive.org/details/visitationofches00glov
Visitation of Derbyshire 1662-1663  - http://www.archive.org/details/visitationofderb00dugdrich
Visitation of Devon 1620 - http://www.archive.org/details/visitationofcount00stge
Visitation of Dorset 1623  - http://www.archive.org/details/visitationofcound00stge
Visitation of Dorsetshire 1565  - http://www.archive.org/details/visitationofdors00harvrich
Visitation of Herefordshire 1569  - http://www.archive.org/details/visitationofhere00cookrich
Visitation of Huntingdonshire 1608 - http://www.archive.org/details/visitationcount00camdgoog
Visitation of Kent 1619  - http://www.archive.org/details/visitationcount00howagoog
Visitation of Middlesex 1663 :   - 1820 - http://www.archive.org/details/visitationofmidd00rylerich
Visitation of Northumberland 1615 - http://www.archive.org/details/visitationofnort00sainrich
Visitation of Nottingham 1569 & 1614  - http://www.archive.org/details/visitationsofcou00flow
Visitation of Rutland 1618-1619  - http://www.archive.org/details/visitationofcoun00camd
Visitation of the County of Yorke  - http://www.archive.org/details/visitationcounty36surtuoft
Visitation of the County Palatine of Lancaster 1613  - http://www.archive.org/details/visitationofcoun00sainrich
Visitation of the Northern Counties 1530 - http://www.archive.org/details/heraldicvisitati00tongrich
Visitation of Wiltshire 1565  - http://www.archive.org/details/visitationofwilt00harvrich
Visitation of Wiltshire 1623  - http://www.archive.org/details/visitationofwilt00sain
Visitation of Worcestershire 1682-1683 - http://www.archive.org/details/visitationofcoun00maytrich
Visitation of Yorkshire 1563-1564  - http://www.archive.org/details/visitationofyork00flow
Visitations of Suffolk 1561,1577,1612 - http://www.archive.org/details/visitationsofsuf00harvuoft

The above is by no means a definitive method nor is it exhaustive but, hopefully, it should assist with your initial enquiries.

Yours aye

Stephen
www.heraldry-online.org.uk
Plowman - Dorset
Gollop - Dorset
Taunton - Dorset
Carver - Norfolk
Oyns - all
Tweedy - all
Also British Heraldry (www.heraldry-online.org.uk)

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Offline Stephen J F Plowman

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Re: Looking for “Your” Coat of Arms - A few pointers
« Reply #2 on: Friday 15 March 19 08:55 GMT (UK) »
An update;

It appears that the Armigerous Ancestors Search at Achievements no longer works.  I understand that there has been a change in ownership/management.

However, with the assistance of James Dempster, a fellow member of the Heraldry Society of Scotland, we have compiled a list of Online Heraldic Resources which includes more Visitations - http://www.heraldry-online.org.uk/archivebookslinks.html

There is also a list of the publications by The Harleian Society with links to those that are available online ; http://www.heraldry-online.org.uk/harleian.html


Plowman - Dorset
Gollop - Dorset
Taunton - Dorset
Carver - Norfolk
Oyns - all
Tweedy - all
Also British Heraldry (www.heraldry-online.org.uk)