How Do You Find Your Family's Coat of Arms for Free?

How Do You Find Your Family's Coat of Arms for Free?

How Do You Find Your Family's Coat of Arms for Free?

There are many Internet sites that offer a free coat of arms based a family's surname. However, there is no such thing as a family coat of arms because coats of arms were awarded to individuals, not families, according to About.com.

Coats of arms generated for free or purchased on the Internet based on a surname may have no actual relation to the person's family. To a person to find a genuine coat of arms for his family, he must find out if he has an ancestor that was awarded a coat of arms from an official source. To do this he must research his family tree. If he finds a relative who was issued a coat of arms, he can contact the College of Arms of the country that issued it, and request a records search.

Coats of arms originated as ways to identify knights in the 1100s. King Henry I of England gave his son-in-law a blue shield with four golden lions in 1127. This is the first recorded example of a coat of arms on a battle shield. By the 1400s, a knight had to have a coat of arms to be allowed to participate in tournaments, and the coat of arms became a symbol of noble status.