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Free Family Crests Research

Free family crests, heraldry and coats of arms research is what this site is known for.

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Family Crest Coat of Arms Family Crest Colors
How Heraldry is Inherited Beasts and Birds on Family Crests and Coat of Arms
Family Crests and Coat of Arms Modern Heraldry and Family Crests
Last Name History and Coat of Arms Blazonry on Family Crests and Coat of Arms
Human and Miscellaneous Charges on
Family Crests and Coat of Arms
The Ordinary Heraldry Charges

This web site contains rich information on the history and descriptions of heraldry, family crests and coat of arms including: Armorial charges, family crest colors, symbolism of birds and beasts, and coat of arms blazonry.

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History of family crests, heraldry and coats of arms


The word Heraldry has long attached itself to that which in earlier times was known as armory, the science of armorial bearings. In all ages and in all quarters of the world distinguishing symbols, or family crests have been adopted by free family crests imagetribes or nations, by families or by chieftains. Greek and Roman poets describe the devices borne on the shields of heroes, and many such painted shields are pictured on antique vases. Rabbinical writers have supported the fancy that the standards of the tribes set up in their camps bore figures devised from the prophecy of Jacob, the ravening wolf for Benjamin, the lion’s whelp for Judah and the ship of Zebulon.

In the East we have such ancient symbols as the five-clawed dragon of the Chinese empire and the chrysanthemum of the emperor of Japan. In Japan, indeed, the systematized badges borne by the noble clans may be regarded as akin to the heraldry and family crests of the West, and the circle with the three leaves of the Tokugawa shoguns has been made as familiar to us by Japanese lacquer and porcelain as the red pellets of the Medici by old Italian fabrics.

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Before the landing of the Spaniards in Mexico the Aztec chiefs carried shields and banners, some of whose devices showed after the fashion of a phonetic writing the names of their bearers; and the eagle on the new banner of Mexico may be traced to the eagle that was once carved over the palace of Montezuma. That mysterious business of totemism, which students of folk-lore have discovered among most primitive peoples, must be regarded as another of the forerunners of true heraldry, family crests and coats of arms. The totem of a tribe supplying a badge which was sometimes displayed on the body of the tribesman in paint, scars or tattooing. Totemism so far touches our heraldry that some would trace to its symbols the white horse of Westphalia, the bull’s head of the Mecklenburgers and many other ancient armories.