[ANSTHRLD] family crests

Ron Knight RKNIGHT at kumc.edu
Wed Jan 2 05:02:16 PST 2002

Greetings from Modar!

Teceangl wrote:

> Here's the SCA's absolute expert at registering the armory
> one owns in the real world.  He's come close to doing just
> that.  He can also help you sort out ownership and discuss
> why families don't have armory, individuals do:
> Baron David of Moffat - email: amoffatamoffat at juno.com
> Go talk to him.  He'll welcome it.  :)

Here's what I current have in my Heraldic Myths article:

1. I can register my family's coat-of-arms because it already belongs to me.

This is false. If you are in fact entitled to arms in the real world, you can't register those exact arms. This is per the Administrative Handbook of the College of Arms (III.A.9.). However, any blazonable difference, even if it isn't worth a CD, clears it of this problem. (As per the 8/97 LoAR concerning the device of David of Moffat, from An Tir.)

Section III.A.9. of the Admin Handbook reads as follows:
9. Name or Armory Used by the Submitter Outside the Society
- No name or device will be registered to a submitter if it is
identical to a name or device used by the submitter for
purposes of identification outside of a Society context.
This includes legal names, common use names, armory,
trademarks and other items registered with mun dane
authorities that serve to identify an individual or group.
This restriction is intended to help preserve a distinction
between a submitter's identity within the Society and his
or her identity outside of the Society. A small change is
sufficient for registration. For example, Alan Miller could
not register the name Alan Miller but he could register the
name Alan the Miller. Similarly, armory must also have some
small difference in final blazon to be registered. Any change
that causes a blazonable difference between mundane and
Society arms is sufficient to allow registration by Laurel.
Further, a submitter may register a close variation of his
name or his arms but not both.

A side note concerning family coat-of-arms that is quoted
from the article, "Genealogical and Heraldic Research Sources"
produced by the Academy of St. Gabriel and webpage
maintained by Jim Trigg (Blaise de Cormeilles):

Arms are property. The first person to carry a coat of arms
passes that coat to his descendants, who pass in on to theirs,
and so on. Different countries have used different rules for
the transmission of heraldry. Traditionally the right to bear a
rms has been transmitted through the male line only. In some
places, all sons of an armiger (someone who bears arms)
inherit the arms; in others only the oldest male inherits the
arms and all other sons must change the arms in some way to
show that they are a junior member of the family. (British law
was recently changed to allow women to inherit arms, but this
is such a recent change that it will not affect genealogical

Thus, finding arms attributed to your surname does not mean
that you have the right to carry those arms; it means that
someone with your last name once had the right to carry them.
The same surname is often borne by unrelated people, and
you have to show a direct male line of descent to a person
who is known to have arms. Demonstrating this relationship
can be a major task.

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