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Create a Family Crest

To create a family crest, you can do some research into your own family line to fill out the different aspects of the coat of arms. Perform a genealogy search to determine if your family name already has a family crest in existence. If it does, you may be able to update it with achievements or milestones in your lineage.

Create a Family Crest

Parts of a Family Crest

Before you can create a family crest, you should know the parts of one. Starting at the bottom is a ribbon or scroll, often called a wreath. The ribbon contains the family motto. Moving up, the compartment is next. The compartment is a foundation — typically rocks or a different landscape. Situated above the compartment is the order or other type of honor given by government or another recognized international organization. Also sitting on the compartment, located to the left and right of the shield are the supporters, who hold up the family crest. The supporters can be human figures or even animals. Typically, the family uses a general person of local significance, like a fisherman if the town origin is a fishing community, or an item of historical importance.

In the center of the family crest is the shield, which can have various color patterns. Many families use the family shield shape for the symbol, though other shapes can be used. Within the shield are the ordinaries (geometrical partitioning objects like a cross, bend, or chevron); charges (another ordinary or a representation of a person, place, or thing); and the field (the background of the shield).

The supporters hold up the coronet, which contains small ornaments around a ring and does not have arches. The helm is directly above the coronet, though sometimes it is superimposed on it. The helm contains the family’s social status and/or rank in society, whether that’s financial, military, or political. Another wreath, or the torse, ties around the helm and the crest, holding up the mantling. The mantling is another ribbon tired around the helm and provides a background for the whole shield. Finally, the crest (which is sometimes mistakenly referred to as the entire coat of arms) sits atop everything else. The crest can be just about anything you wish, but common crests include lions or eagles.

For a Scottish coat of arms, the motto was written on a band of ribbon at the top of the coat of arms instead of sitting at the bottom.

Create a Family Crest

You have two options if you want to create a family crest. First is to draw it yourself or have someone you know draw it for you if you don’t have artistic skills. Second, you can have a professional service that specializes in designing coat of arms create one for you.

For the former option, follow these steps, which start at the center:

  1. Design the shield. Since the shield is usually divided into two, three, or four parts, you can fill them in or just have one basic background for the shield.
  2. Draw the ribbon underneath the shield. This should include your name or the family motto, or both if you want.
  3. Next come the supporters. You can make them real or fictional characters, people, or animals. Remember, they are holding up everything, so make them something strong.
  4. Now, draw the helmet or coronet and the helm. Professions are popular topics for this part of the coat of arms, but be creative if you don’t have anything obvious.
  5. Lastly, fill in the coat of arms with color.

For good references on coat of arms, just go to your favorite search engine and type in “pictures of coat of arms.”

If you want a professional to design a family coat of arms, visit some of the following websites:

Having your coat of arms displayed on different objects can make great gifts for family members or begin a conversation about your family lineage. So get researching your family to see what should go on your coat of arms!