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About Coats of Arms and Family Crests

Many people erroneously refer to coats of arms as family crests. The ccoat of arms is the shield with the images, symbols and devices on it. The crest is object that sits on the top of the helmet. The crest was usually an animal, wings, horns, human figures and even feathers.

A Little Advice About You and Coats of Arms

Let’s say you find a coat of arms posted here for your surname. Perhaps Taylor or Smith or whatever. Is this your coat of arms? No. Can you make a print and hang it on your wall or slap it on a mug or whatever and call it your coat of arms? Yes and no. Yes, you can do whatever you want with it but no. it’s not your coat of arms.

Let me explain. Let’s say your name is Taylor. There are about 60 different Taylor coats of arms listed in Burke’s General Armory, probably the most popular source of authentic coat of arms from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Each was granted to a different individual named Taylor. The Taylor coat of arms I have placed on this web site is only one of them. According to Burke, it was granted (or recorded ) to some guy named Taylor in London, September 11, 1502.

Coats of arms are granted to and belong to individuals. They are inherited by their sons, often with differences, or slight changes, and can be registered, for a fee, in those countries that still care.

Do You Have a Coat of Arms?

Do you have a right to a coat of arms? Probably not. The only way you can prove your right to a coat of arms is to trace your genealogy back in a direct male line to an arms bearing ancestor. This is mostly a fruitless endeavor. The good news is that there are no laws in this country regarding coats of arms. You can do what you like with the Taylor coat of arms you find here.

Basically, the Taylor coat of arms you find here is not yours. It was granted to someone with the same surname as you. Was he a relative of yours? Probably not.

The bold colors and simple charges on a shield and how they contrast with each other are small works of art that sometimes also tell a story.

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