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coat of arms research (fwd)

Poster: clevin@ripco.com (Craig Levin)

> Poster: krztina@mindspring.com
> I have a copy of my coat of arms from my family but it is in black and white
> and haven't a clue to know what the colors are. Any suggestions of how to
> find out? The only reference listed was from Mathew's Complete American
> Armoury which I can't find :(

Without going into the issue of armorials (the reference books in
which coat of arms are listed by their holders' names), I'm
usually pretty leery about doing the "family arms" thing, for a
couple of reasons:

1) Many people share a particular surname, like Brown or Johnson.
However, not all Browns or Johnsons come from the same line of
descent. Coats of arms are granted to individuals and their
heirs, which is not the same thing as "all people named Brown."
Mundanely, in many nations, there are two ways to prove
legitimate use of a coat of arms-either have them granted to you,
or prove that your paternal ancestor was a grantee or was
descended from people who had been using that coat of arms since
"time out of mind." The people selling "Your Family Arms" are
just going along through an armorial, plucking one coat of arms
out that was granted or used by another family with the same name
as yours, and claiming it's yours. It's a form of theft in
England and Scotland.

2) Even if legit, a post-period coat of arms might include
certain things that we'd probably not register (landscape
heraldry, slot-machine, etc.). That, however, is a design thing,
and a herald and a submitter can work on modifying an OOP and/or
returnable coat of arms to suit the SCA.

In Service,

Dom Pedro de Alcazar
Barony of Storvik, Atlantia
Drakkar Pursuivant
Argent, a tower purpure between 3 bunches of grapes proper

Craig Levin
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