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HISTORY AND ORIGIN OF COATS OF ARMS (HERALDRY), FAMILY SURNAMES, GIVEN NAMES, TARTANS & BADGE CRESTS, FAMILY MOTTOS

HERE YOU WILL FIND THE HISTORY AND ORIGIN OF COATS OF ARMS (HERALDRY), FAMILY SURNAMES, GIVEN NAMES, TARTANS & BADGE CRESTS, FAMILY MOTTOS, AND OTHER INFORMATION.



THE HISTORY AND ORIGIN OF HERALDRY:

THE ORIGINS OF HERALDRY BEGAN SOMETIME IN THE ERA OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE AROUND THE 1st CENTURY A.D. THE PRACTICE OF BEARING A SYMBOL (THE COUNTRY'S NATIONAL SYMBOL) UPON THE SHIELDS OF THE SOLDIERS TO DESIGNATE TO WHICH ARMY THEY BELONGED TO, AND TO HONOR THEIR NATION THAT OF WHICH THEY WERE FIGHTING FOR. THIS PRACTICE STARTED TO SPREAD OVER THE CENTURIES TO OTHER COUNTRIES AND AGAIN TO THEIR RESPECTIVE ARMIES. VIRTUALLY, ALL OF EUROPE, SCANDINAVIA, AND THE COUNTRIES OF ASIA ALL ADOPTED THE COAT OF ARMS' PRACTICES.

DURING THE TIME OF THE MIDDLE AGES (MEDIEVAL ERA), THE PRACTICE OF BEARING PERSONAL SYMBOLS, COLORS, AND DESIGNS UPON THE SHIELDS CAME INTO PLAY. THIS WAS A MEANS TO DISTINGUISH INDIVIDUAL SOLDIERS AND TO WHICH ARMY THEY BELONGED TO; THUS, AVOIDING THE KILLING OF YOUR OWN FELLOW SOLDIERS. BY THE 14th CENTURY, THE PRACTICE WAS FURTHERED BY EMBROIDERING THE PERSONAL INSIGNIA ON THE SURCOAT WHICH WAS WORN OVER THE SUIT OF ARMOR & MAIL - THIS IS WHERE THE TERM "COAT OF ARMS" ORIGINATED.

THE 15th CENTURY BEGAN A NEW SET OF CHANGES RELATING TO PERSONAL, OR FAMILY COATS OF ARMS. KING HENRY V OF ENGLAND HAD PASSED LAWS PROHIBITING THE KNIGHTS AND OTHERS FROM FREELY DESIGNING & BEARING OF PERSONAL COATS OF ARMS (OR "ARMORIAL BEARINGS"). IN 1483, THE HERALDS COLLEGE OF ENGLAND WAS ESTABLISHED BY KING EDWARD IV OF ENGLAND TO OVERSEE AND REGULATE THE GRANTING OF COATS OF ARMS TO ALL WHO WISHED THEM. WITH THIS NEW "FORMAL" SYSTEM OF REGULATION, ALSO CAME LAWS ASSOCIATED WITH IT - SOME OF WHICH WERE DEVELOPED RELATING TO THE FACT THAT COATS OF ARMS WERE NOT ONLY FOR INDIVIDUAL IDENTIFICATION FOR BATTLE PURPOSES, BUT NOW INVOLVED INHERITED FAMILY IDENTIFICATION AND SOCIAL STATUS AS WELL. IN A SHORT SPAN OF TIME, THE OTHER EUROPEAN NATIONS ESTABLISHED THEIR RESPECTIVE HERALDS COLLEGES, OR COLLEGES OF ARMS.

SOME OF THE LAWS INCLUDE: ONLY A METAL CAN BE CHARGED UPON A COLOR, OR A COLOR UPON A METAL - NEVER A METAL UPON A METAL, OR A COLOR UPON A COLOR. AND, AS FAR AS INHERITING GOES, THE FIRST BORN MALE OF A FAMILY MAY INHERIT HIS FATHER'S COAT OF ARMS UNCHANGED, BUT ANY SUBSEQUENT SONS MUST MAKE SOME FORM OF CHANGE TO THE THEM OR ADOPT AN ENTIRELY NEW COAT OF ARMS. THE DAUGHTERS, ON THE OTHER HAND, USUALLY ONLY INCORPORATED THEIR FAMILY'S COAT OF ARMS IN WITH THEIR HUSBAND'S. THIS INCORPORATING OF COATS OF ARMS IS SEEN IN MANY PARTITIONED, OR QUARTERED COATS OF ARMS, AND AS SEEN AMONG MOST OF THE EUROPEAN ROYAL ARMORIALS.

TODAY, THE DESCENDANTS OF A PARTICULAR SURNAME MOST OFTEN ADOPTS THE COAT OF ARMS OF THEIR ANCESTRAL SURNAMES, PRIMARILY THE OLDEST AND FIRST REGISTERED. SOME AUTHORITIES SAY THIS PRACTICE IS WRONG, BUT SOME CONCLUDE THAT ASSUMING THE FAMILY SURNAME AND BEARING OF IT OVER MANY GENERATIONS IS THE SAME PRINCIPLE AND PRACTICE AS ASSUMING AND BEARING A FAMILY SURNAME COAT OF ARMS, AND THUS JUSTIFIES IT. ALTHOUGH, AN INDIVIDUAL MAY REGISTER THEIR OWN COAT OF ARMS WITH A COLLEGE OF ARMS, BUT THIS IS VERY SELDOM DONE RELATING TO THE ENORMOUS EXPENSE (+/- $5000.00).



THE HISTORY AND ORIGIN OF FAMILY MOTTOS:

THE FAMILY'S OR INDIVIDUAL'S MOTTO HAD ORIGINATED AROUND THIS TIME, AND COMING FROM THE DISTINCT "BATTLECRY" OF AN INDIVIDUAL. PERHAPS, IT CONSISTED OF A FAVORITE SAYING, OR A HEART-FELT STATEMENT THAT GAVE THE INDIVIDUAL ADDED MENTAL COURAGE GOING INTO BATTLE. THESE TOO ARE UNIQUE AND NO TWO ARE SHARED, AND WERE THUS ADORNED UPON THE COAT OF ARMS USUALLY RECORDED IN LATIN. NOT EVERY BEARER OF A COAT OF ARMS HAS A MOTTO, OR A CREST AS WELL. TODAY, MOTTOS ARE MOST OFTEN FOUND AS CORPORATE MOTTOS OR ADVERTISEMENT SLOGANS - SUCH AS OURS: "HISTORICALLY RESEARCHED, AND ARTISTICALLY DESIGNED".



THE HISTORY AND ORIGIN OF TARTANS & BADGE CRESTS:

THE ORIGINS OF THE TARTANS PRESUMABLY BEGAN IN ANCIENT TIMES FROM THE CELTIC TRIBES THAT INHABITED SCOTLAND, IRELAND, AND A MAJOR PORTION OF ENGLAND PRIOR TO THE ROMAN INVASIONS IN THE 1st CENTURY A.D. THEIR ARTFORM OF INTRICATE WOVEN DESIGNS OF JEWELRY, STONE & WOOD CARVINGS, AND BODY PAINTING ARE A CLOSE RESEMBLANCE.

THE EARLIEST DOCUMENTATION OF TARTAN KILTS, MADE OF WOOL, IS FROM THE YEAR 1660 IN THE HIGHLANDS OF SCOTLAND. FROM THIS POINT ON, THE ADOPTING OF A DISTINCT GEOMETRICAL WOVEN PATTERN BY THE VARIOUS SCOTTISH CLANS; EACH DIFFERENT FROM ONE ANOTHER, FLOURISHED THROUGHOUT SCOTLAND AND IRELAND. AND THUS, A SYSTEM OF IDENTIFYING A MEMBER OF A PARTICULAR CLAN WAS ESTABLISHED. AS MENTIONED ABOVE, THE USE OF COATS OF ARMS PRE-DATES THIS SYSTEM, SO SOME OF THE FAMILIES HAD A COAT OF ARMS & CREST ASSOCIATED WITH THEM. THIS IS PERHAPS THE ORIGIN OF THE "BADGE CREST", WHICH WAS FASHIONED OUT OF VARIOUS MATERIALS MOSTLY METALS, CONSISTED OF THE FAMILY CREST & MOTTO, AND ADORNED OVER THE BREAST UPON THE TARTAN SASH.

THE CLANS ORIGINATED ABOUT 1000 A.D. AND CONSISTED OF THE LEADER, OR CHIEFTAIN, AND THIS IS WHERE THE CLAN NAME AND DISTINCT TARTAN COMES FROM. WITHIN THE CLAN WERE AT LEAST 250 MEMBERS, EITHER MEMBERS OF THE CHIEFTAIN'S FAMILY BY BLOOD OR MARRIAGE, AND/OR INDIVIDUALS PLEDGING ALLEGIANCE TO HIM. EACH CLAN ALSO CONTROLLED THEIR RESPECTIVE TERRITORIES, AND FOUGHT OVER MANY GENERATIONS ACQUIRING AND DEFENDING IT. TODAY, THERE CONSISTS THE CLAN SOCIETIES OR ORGANIZATIONS FOR THE VARIOUS CLANS, AND MEMBERSHIP CAN BE OBTAINED INTO A PARTICULAR ONE. MANY INDIVIDUALS BEARING THE SURNAME OF THE CLANS STILL RESIDE IN THE SAME ANCESTRAL LANDS OF THEIR NAMESAKES.

THERE ARE OVER 100 REGISTERED TARTANS TODAY, AMONG THEM ARE FROM THE CLAN SURNAMES, THEIR ANCIENT FAMILY MEMBERSHIPS (CALLED "SEPTS"), SCOTTISH & IRISH DISTRICTS OR COUNTIES, NATIONAL, AND ORGANIZATIONS TARTANS. MANY INDIVIDUALS ASSUME THE TARTAN OF THEIR SURNAME ASSOCIATED WITH THEIR ANCESTRAL CLAN, SEPT, OR DISTRICT OF ORIGIN OF THEIR SURNAME OR ACTUAL RESIDENCE.



THE HISTORY AND ORIGIN OF SURNAMES & GIVEN NAMES:

THIS IS A VERY COMPLEX AND VAST SUBJECT, AND THUS CAN ONLY BE DISCUSSED SOMEWHAT BRIEFLY HERE. THE ORIGINS OF AN INDIVIDUAL'S NAME (FIRST, OR "GIVEN NAME"), BEGAN PROBABLY WITH THE BEGINNING OF THE SPOKEN LANGUAGE AS A MEANS OF IDENTIFYING A PERSON FROM ANOTHER. AS THE CENTURIES ROLLED BY, THE GIVEN NAMES ESTABLISHED A PATTERN OF NAMES REFLECTING ONE'S PLACE OF RESIDENCE ("PLACE NAMES" i.e. WOODS, HILL, etc.), OCCUPATION (i.e. SMITH, COOPER, etc.), OR APPEARANCE (i.e. BLACK, TALLMAN, etc.). THIS EVENTUALLY HAD ALSO NEEDED TO BE RE-DEFINED TO INCLUDE THE GIVEN NAME FOLLOWED BY THEIR PLACE OF BIRTH OR RESIDENCE (i.e. JESUS OF NAZARETH, etc.).

BY THE TIME OF THE MIDDLE AGES, THE MORE COMMON AND OVERUSE OF THE GIVEN NAMES WERE BECOMING, THE NEED FOR YET ANOTHER ADAPTATION WAS FOUND. THIS IS THE TIME WHEN THE SURNAME (OR "FAMILY NAME") HAD EMERGED AND WAS SPREADING THROUGHOUT THE VARIOUS COUNTRIES. THE SURNAMES AGAIN REFLECTED PLACE OF RESIDENCE, OCCUPATION, APPEARANCE, AND NOW DESCENDANCY. OFTEN THE GIVEN NAME OF THE FATHER WOULD BE PASSED DOWN AND/OR AN AFFILIATION WOULD BE SIGNIFIED (i.e. JOHNSON = "SON OF JOHN", MacDONALD = "SON OF DONALD", etc.). MOST OF THE GIVEN NAMES & SURNAMES HAVE A SPECIFIC MEANING OR ORIGIN WITHIN THEMSELVES, AND WERE AND ARE THE REASON THEY HAVE PASSED DOWN FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION YESTERDAY & TODAY.


WE HOPE THAT WE HAVE PROVIDED SOME HELP TO YOU AND THAT YOU HAVE ENJOYED AND FOUND THIS PAGE OF INTEREST. THIS INFORMATION IS INTENDED FOR OUR WEBSITE VISITORS, AND IS BY NO MEANS AN ALL CONCLUSIVE RESOURCE FOR EACH TOPIC DISCUSSED.




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last updated on: April 3rd, 2017

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