To find your family's coat of arms, visit HouseOfNames.com, and select Name Search in the top-right corner. On the next page, search for your family's history by first or last name. Family histories provided by HouseOfNames.com show geographical origination, name variations, branches of the family's battles, kinships of knights and lords, and notable living relatives. Many refer to coats of arms and family crests interchangeably; however, a crest is merely an emblem used on armor.
An example of familial history and a coat of arms for a person with the last name "Mueller" includes three different origins: Dutch, German and Jewish. The name is believed to have come into existence in the Bavarian area of Germany in the 12th century. As last names are often created as identifiers of occupations, it's believed that the name "Mueller" was derived from the common medieval occupation of a miller.
Contrary to popular understandings of familial coats of arms, they typically were not created to signify families, but rather one person in each family. The coat of arms was used to describe pictorially where the person lived, elements about his life and his achievements. These insignias could be passed on to heirs by modifying the colors or symbols.