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coat of arms

The above picture is a coat of arm that my father ordered many years ago from one of the places that sell coat of arms for surnames. He ordered this and a so called family name history, thinking it was the real deal. It is not.

(1)It was customary to grant a coat of arms to individuals, not to families. The notion that one coat of arms belongs to everyone sharing that same surname is a falsehood.
I know and understand that companies sell Coat of Arms to people and that everyone wants to know what our Coat of Arms is but the truth is our SURNAME has not been issued a Coat of Arms by the Herald's Office. The one in the above picture is a generic one made up by one of the companies that sell things for profit. If you want a coat of arms you can apply for one at the cost of about 3000.00 dollars.
In order for a Coat of Arms to be granted, a person had to meet qualifications, then applied for a coat of arms. If the qualifications were meat, the Herald's Office would create a design and draw up official papers, called a grant, which gave the individual that had applied for the ARMS the legal right to "bear" or display the coat of arms for their personal use and identification. It was considered, tacky,in bad taste, and sometimes illegal to display or use a coat of arms that was not granted to you personally. Sometimes close relatives who were granted arms would have similar designs, but each was different. When a person who had been issued a coat of arms died, the arms was retired.
Armorial bearings are hereditary. They can be borne and used by all the descendants in the legitimate male line of the person to whom they were originally granted or confirmed. To establish a right to arms by inheritance it is necessary to prove a descent from an ancestor who is already recorded as entitled to arms in the registers of the College of Arms.

Read more about Coat of Arms at the College-Of-Arms site

More on the subject of mass-produced coats of arms and surname books can be found at the National Genealogical Society page Consumer Protection
1. An Heraldic Alphabet by J.P. Brooke-Little Clarenceux King of Arms 1996 edition by Robson books Ltd.
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Copyright 1998-2001 Parnell Genealogy by Cathy (Parnell) Vance
Created May 15 1998, update March 27 2001