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Re: Arms and Awards Murph's Law Revisited

Poster: Robert J Welenc <rjwelenc@erols.com>

At 09:55 PM 8/20/98 -0400, Brenna wrote:
>Okay....here's a question I wondered about.  If you know your family
arms, can
>you use them in the SCA (you can certainly document them, they are
yours to
>use, and they must be "heraldically correct" if they are your family
>What is the rule on this?
>(who is wondering--I have arms in the works, but I know my family
arms as

Well, to begin, just what do you mean by "family arms"?  Do you mean
the wares sold by mall 'heralds' -- "Your name is Hepzibah Tucker?
Why yes, here are your family arms, 'Azure, a chevron between three
seahorses Or.'  Would you like a lovely simulated parchment printed
with your family arms, only $24.99...?"

Such merchants work from armorials, listings by last name of mundane
arms.  They do NOT do the genealogy work which would prove that you
are the rightful owners of such arms; all they do is see if someone
with your last name ever had arms recorded.  ( I also have fairly
damning proof that if they can't find anything on your name, they
make something up.)

"Family arms" are (in most of Europe) *property*, usable only by the
heir in blood of those who originally held the arms.   They are
_your_ arms only if you are the heir (and most times, heir to the
title that usually went with them -- Lady Hepzibah Tucker, Baroness
of Nether Poppleton-on-Nidd.)

The second bar to using your family arms -- even if you _are_ Lady
Tucker -- is that who you are mundanely is not who you are in the
society.  You craft for yourself a new name, your awards are what
*you* have earned, not your
great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather.  Were Her Majesty of
England to join the SCA, she would have to earn even the title of
'Lady' just as all the rest of us do, and she would not be permitted
to register "Gules, in pale three lions passant guardant Or" even
though mundanely she has every right to such arms.

I hope this has been of use.

In service, 

Lady Alanna Volchevo Lesa
Partan Herald, Barony of Lochmere
Laurel Minion
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