Saturday, October 13, 2012

FAB IDEA- Creating a Family Crest!

Have you or anyone in your family traced back your ancestry?  Did you discover you were related to someone amazing or maybe not so amazing????  What about royalty???

Websites like...


Have made it fairly easy to discover who "Your People" were or where on earth you came from.

I have discovered some amazing fun facts on who I am related to and where I originated from on my mothers side.  For instance, I love to tell people that I am a WAY distant relative of Marion Morrison (a.k.a.  John Wayne).  Also my uncle has worked on our ancestry for many years to discover that we were related to those of royal blood.   WHATEVER that means.. but still kinda cool!

My husband's family just recently discovered that his descendants were on the Mayflower (both sides) and that they are distant relatives of either Meriwether Lewis or William Clark.  Amazing right??

Ok.. so If you have taken the time to research your ancestry and found that you have some royalty in your blood.. DO you have a family crest or coat of arms?

If you do and you have the ability to break down the meaning of the symbols ... please do share!!  I think it is completely fascinating and wonderful to see how families preserve these amazing crests and understand the symbolism.

If I had an amazing crest .. I would think of all the possibilities on where and how I could use it!!

For example,  every note sent to my child's teacher would have my family's crest stamped right on the top!  (ha ha ha)

I would definitely create beautiful thank you cards, notecards and return address labels with our family crest.

Wouldn't that be fabulous!!!!

NOW...if you were to create your own Family Crest or Coat of Arms... what would be your design?

Below explains how to create a Coat of Arms or Family Crest and what types of symbols to use to represent your family.

The Diagram:

Looking at number 1 on the illustration, you will see that it's pointed to the design on the shield (shields can come in a variety ofshapes, but this is one of the most common). This is the more narrowly defined "coat of arms" of your crest. The coat of arms on the shield has many potential elements that can go into its design. Things to consider are color, or "tincture" (each color signifies something), divisions of the "field" or background, lines of division, ordinaries and sub-ordinaries, furs, and more. You will find examples of many of these elements on the coat of arms in the links section below.

Number 2 points to the ordinary, which is part of the coat of arms. There are many possible ordinaries, or geometric shapes and bands that divide the shield into segments. The ordinary that you choose will depend in part on what other elements you want to appear on the shield. Or, you can choose not to use an ordinary at all, and just have your symbols on the shield as your design.

Number 3 indicates the charge, which in this case is set on the ordinary. Charges are any symbol that is represented on the shield itself. Charges can be any object, but are most commonly things such as humans, animals, fish, birds, mythical creatures, elements of nature, crosses or an implement, such as the sword you see here. A link I have provided below is very informative, in that it gives the traditional meanings for a wide variety of commonly used charges. Many of the items on this list are representations of other symbols that appear with a coat of arms, such as supporters, which we'll discuss in a moment, and the lines of division on a shield. If you're making your own coat of arms, you'll want to choose a charge or charges that represent you in some way. For example, you might want to use a bell tower, which signifies integrity, or a boar which means bravery. For a personal touch, you might choose a fountain pen if you're a writer, or tragedy and comedy masks if you are a lover of theater.

Number 4 points to the helmet, which is usually placed atop the shield, but can sometimes be a charge on the shield as well.The style of helmet an individual uses depends upon his rank in the aristocracy. Royalty, for example, are represented by a gold helmet with several bars on the front, and red or blue silk, used to pad the inside of a helmet, will show through the bars. A nobleman will use a helmet of silver, a knight one of steel with an open visor, and a squire or gentleman will have a helmet with a closed visor. As you see, the rules are quite extensive and complex. For your own purposes, you can choose a helmet to your liking, or choose not to use a helmet on your coat of arms at all. Many coats of arms use crowns or coronets instead of or in addition to a helmet.

Crests and Coats of Arms to Purchase

Celebration Family Name History Plaque
Amazon Price: $49.95
Family Coat of Arms
Amazon Price: $7.49
Number 5 is the "torse" or "crest wreath". It represents a twist of silk or fabric that encircles the top of the helmet. It is usually in two colors, each with its own meaning. You will see examples of the torse in the examples of coats of arms that follow.

Number 6 is the crest itself. These elements are usually animals, and again, are representative of the owner and carry meaning. A deer signifies harmony, a dog means loyalty and an elephant would signify strength. Again, refer to the page I will list at the end of the article for ideas for crests and their meanings.

Number 7 - The crest often holds or leans on an object, as in this example. These are often weapons, but they can be other things, such as a shepherd's crook, a walking stick, or even a gardening tool. If you're a musician, for example, you could have your crest holding a flute or a guitar!

Number 8 shows the "mantle" or "mantling", which is usually either a silk/ribbon like swathe, or a display of leaves. feathers or vines. It drapes around the helmet and flows down to the sides of the shield.

Number 9 this is your motto! Usually it is printed on a ribbon or scroll, and is written in Latin, but it can be in any language. Examples of some mottos are as follows:

A te pro te = From thee, for thee

Amo, ut invenio = I love as I find

Celer et audax = Swift and bold

Corage sans peur = Courage without fear

You get the idea! Imagine the fun you could have coming up with your own motto! It can go above the whole coat of arms, or below. Often times the name of the family is also found either above or below the coat of arms on a scroll or ribbon. (if you want to put your motto into Latin or another language, try using a language translator such as googletranslate!)

There are further elements that can go into a coat of arms, one of which is the supporters, not pictured in the diagram. Supporters are a pair of figures that stand to each side of the shield. As with the other figures and objects, these have meaning and are usually human or, more commonly, animals or mythical creatures. They usually hold or support the shield with their limbs

A Family Coat of Arms is something fun to consider for future family reunions or just to have a great symbol to represent your brood.

I think if I were to create something fabulous for my family.. the crest would have to encompass who my husband and I are as a couple and how we raise our children.  We are a very loving family that has a passion for  adventuring into the great outdoors, enjoys the simple things in life, and tries to raise our children with integrity, honesty and a little bit of humility.  

There is a fun free website that will give you the basic design to create your Family Crest.

Here is the RHOTC Coat of Arms... Check it out below!

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