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Family Crest Symbols

Many people are interested in family crest symbols because they are traditions kept alive over the centuries. Did you know crests are something treasured not just in the United Kingdom, but all around Europe? They originated as part of the idea of the Crusades, when armor was used to help identify one another on the battlefield. For more information about family crest symbols and what these family crests mean, keep reading below.

Family Crest Symbols

What Is the Difference Between a Crest and a Coat of Arms?

Not many people are aware that these two items – a crest and a coat of arms – are two different concepts, even though they are both related to heraldry. The crest is something that goes on top of a helmet. These are usually small objects made of animals that rest on top of a coat of arms or a helmet worn in battle and they represent your family. A coat of arms is the entire symbol that represents all of your relations: the shield and other elements combined.

What Were Some Common Features of a Family Crest?

These crests were worn atop the helmet. They can be displayed within a wreath or can be drawn on top of an entire coast of arms. Some towns, cities, and counties have a special crest they use as a symbol of themselves, something they put on top of stone walls.

These are smaller objects that make sense being placed on top of the head. They used to be quite simple: little objects that were painted onto the helmet. They were also painted on the metal fans held by individuals and were painted onto the shields of soldiers as well. Next, they were made using leather and, even later, other materials were introduced to make them more complex.

Family Crest Symbols

Researchers today understand family crests come in all different styles, but the most important and noble ones were usually made of animals and human symbols. They were typically lions, birds, bird wings, weapons, or even small human figures that stood atop the helmet. Some had curved horns, especially in Germany, on top of their helmets.

What Functions Does a Family Crest Have?

Many people confuse the coat of arms and family crest because some people personally identified themselves using their coat of arms. This became a badge others recognized and respected. They can be representative of belonging to a clan in Scotland and they can be especially meaningful even to this day.

Do Families Still Use Family Crests Today?

In fact, family crests are understood to be something owned just by people with the same family name, but sometimes these crests were passed down by those who took over and took control of other people. They aren’t always shared by people with the same last name.

These crests are mostly popular in the United Kingdom, where they have become a living legend. People like to display their family’s history and do research about their homelands, discovering the meanings of these crests and what they have come to symbolize over the ages.

More Information about Family Crests

Crests are an important part of the heraldic tradition, but they were not only used to display nobility and stature. They were part of the deadly battles of the Crusades, in which many were killed ruthlessly and without much cause other than spreading religion. Today, this old meaning is often not thought of, since crests and other heraldic symbols are simply worn with pride by the descendants of those who owned them.

For more information about family crest symbols, consider working with a researcher who can help you trace back in history and see what kinds of crests were used by your family over the generations.