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Eric Nower




Location: Upstate NY
Joined: 22 Dec 2004

Posts: 174

PostPosted: Thu 12 May, 2005 9:43 am    Post subject: What's your Heraldry?         Reply with quote

Hello all,

While at work the other night, I was talking to my co-workers and found out that they didn't have a family crest or knew what their heraldry was. My family researched ours a while ago and found( what we think to be ours, as ours was also lost over time) ours as well as our geneology. I understand that family legacy is unimportant to some, but to others it is important. I belive it is important to remember who your family was and where they came from............It is who you are Happy
I've posted my family crest in the hopes others will post theres. I find the topic to be interesting. If you don't have one perhaps you will research yours, and maybe add to your family's knowlegde of its self.

P.S. If anyone knows a book our resource that would help me find the colors of my crest, I would be indebted to you. Happy

Thanks

May God have mercy on my enemies, for I shall have none.
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Aaron Schnatterly




Location: New Glarus, WI
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PostPosted: Thu 12 May, 2005 10:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Eric-

How did you locate this? Was there any information with it? A description that may have seemed code-like would describe it (colors, shapes, everything) in a manner that can be "translated" easily enough.

To answer your other question, I have tried to research mine (the historical one). No luck. Not every family had one, of course.

-Aaron Schnatterly
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Eric Nower




Location: Upstate NY
Joined: 22 Dec 2004

Posts: 174

PostPosted: Thu 12 May, 2005 10:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Aaron,


My great aunt researched it, I'm not sure how. I will ask her and pass the info on to you. I'm sure the crest has meaning, but I'm not sure what it is. I do know that the peasant populace tended to be named after the area in which they lived around ie: John Church- the family lived close to or nearby a church. I might be wrong....but it's what I've be told. I know our name first showed in English documents saying that our ancestors were living in Norfolk in 1199AD. The name Nower is also derived from the old English word "ofer" which means: seashore, riverbank, or slope, bank, or ridge.

I will check with my great aunt and let you know how she found it.

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Steve Fabert





Joined: 03 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: Thu 12 May, 2005 11:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It should not be surprising that most of your co-workers knew nothing of their family coats of arms. Only a small percentage of family names from Western European backgrounds are associated with any personal heraldry. And even where there is some heraldry associated with a surname, it is most common for the arms to belong only to some remote cousin.

There are both German and English arms for persons named Fabert, for example, but I am positive that I am not related to the English family at all, and I could be related only very distantly to the original grantee of the German arms. But it was fun for my daughter to do a sixth grade project to produce a shield with a family coat of arms, without having to simply make one up from nothing.

A man named Francis Nower co-authored a book entitled "A Display of Heraldry" in 1645 according to a library listing at http://www.sog.org.uk/library/libraryacc-200412.pdf . So there is likely to be something related tto the name Nower going back at least that far.



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Last edited by Steve Fabert on Thu 12 May, 2005 11:40 am; edited 1 time in total
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

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PostPosted: Thu 12 May, 2005 11:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Heraldric crests are a huge modern money maker. The heraldry of old often changed from generation to generation. Signets and badges were often longer lasting designs.
My avatar is a snippet of the Percy badge (no relation).

Surnames were not commonplace through much of history. To the best of my knowledge, my last name could have been a response while boarding ship. A person might well have resonded with a Christian name followed by a location. Even following my ancestors, well recorded, history in this country shows variation of spelling and literacy. I still can't be sure if the fellow who boarded in Wales wasn't saying James of Cleeton instead of James Cleeton.

Kudos to those that can trace to heraldry with assurance. If you go back far enough, we're all related.
Even some tartans are relatively new adoptions by lesser families.

It's a fascinating study and the web is full of pay for play sites.
Some are just after an easy profit but many useful geneology sites cost as well.

Cheers

GC
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 1,803

PostPosted: Thu 12 May, 2005 12:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Land records can be helpful in filling gaps. This particular resource can be very helpful for those with interest in English and Welsh history.

http://www.domesdaybook.co.uk/index.html

While "my" family manor is listed in this list, it was not held by a person with that name.

In my case, I turn to the hisotry of the name as a definition of location and occupation. Easily and often confused with Clayton, my search is diverse. Communicating with the world is less complex these days and I have made some great connections abroad.

The name is certainly ancient but where did it come from and how did it get to Briton? Oddly enough, Kleeman is still a common name around the Baltic region. The original area associated with the name in Wales has been covered by the sea but Cleeton/St.Mary survives, along with the Clee hills and remnants of hillforts.

Cleeton, Cleoton, Cleaton, Cleighton, so on and so forth. As a surname associated with my family, I can only track it back to the late 17th century in the Carolinas.

Whether James Cleoton, bound for Jamacia in 1621, brought the name over first, I can't be sure. There sure are a lot of James and Williams in my family's American record.

I've communicated with a fellow named Dennis Cleaton, in Wales, with a great family story back to medieval times but it doesn't seem to fit.

Cheers

GC
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Russ Ellis
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PostPosted: Thu 12 May, 2005 12:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've also been fascinated with heraldry. Unfortunately as far as I can go back on any one branch is the 1300s in Switzerland and judging from that I seem to be descended from a long proud line of... peasants. No coats of arms there. That's not to say that somewhere or other there isn't a coat of arms in the old family tree but so far no luck. As has been noted by Glen there's only a small number of families in relative terms that had a coat of arms to begin with. Many of those have been lost over time I would suspect, and currently only coats of arms registered with a college of Heraldry (the one in England being the most well respected I believe) are "recognized." It's also my understanding that even if you do manage to trace your geneology back to someone who bore a coat of arms you still aren't necessarily allowed to carry or display it by the "rules" that govern such things.
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Michael Sigman
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Location: New Glarus, WI
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PostPosted: Thu 12 May, 2005 12:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here is what I have come up with as far as our name.....

Sigman Name History

The old Teutonic name Sigmundr, compounded of Sieg(victory) and mundr(protection) formed the names of a king of Burgandy (France) in 516, a king of Germany in 1368-1437, two kings of Poland in 1506 and 1508 and a king of both Poland and Sweden 1600. It also formed the names Sigman (d) and Sigmon (d). In the first census of the US in 1790, there were 13 families of the Sigman's in North Carolina and two in Pennslvania...Source Atlanta Journal & Constitution Sunday Nov. 21 1976

I do have a book with the family tree somewhere that dates pretty old. I know that there is a cemetery in Germany that is full of Sigman's. My Great Aunt has done a lot of "digging" on this.

I am pretty sure that my father has our family crest. I am going to see if I can get a hold of it. I have thought about it from time to time but every time I talk with him I forget to ask. Thanks for the post Eric. It just sparked that I need to do that.

Mike Sigman
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Aaron Schnatterly




Location: New Glarus, WI
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PostPosted: Thu 12 May, 2005 1:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Russ Ellis wrote:
As has been noted by Glen there's only a small number of families in relative terms that had a coat of arms to begin with. Many of those have been lost over time I would suspect, and currently only coats of arms registered with a college of Heraldry (the one in England being the most well respected I believe) are "recognized." It's also my understanding that even if you do manage to trace your geneology back to someone who bore a coat of arms you still aren't necessarily allowed to carry or display it by the "rules" that govern such things.



Looks like a lot of interest in this topic thus far. It's one I have a lot of interest in, but not much expertise. I believe Russ is correct - the rules are quite strict, both in who is entitled, as well as how these are represented. I've briefly perused one of my newest acquisitions - Porny's Elements of Heraldry, 4th ed., printed in 1787. It describes in great detail a lot of these specifics, at least as they stood then. No guarantees on when I might be able to pull it together, but, if people are interested, I could put together an article for the site that goes into this topic. Anyone in the Readership or Moderators interested?

-Aaron Schnatterly
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Bob Uhl




Location: Denver, Colo.
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PostPosted: Thu 12 May, 2005 2:54 pm    Post subject: Heraldry         Reply with quote

Well, one thing to remember is that heraldry is not owned by a family but rather by a person--that is, the fact that one's last name is Windsor doesn't give one the right to bear the arms of the QEII. It was, I believe, not uncommon for cadet members of a family to use arms differenced in one way or another from the heir's.
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Patrik Erik Lars Lindblom




Location: Göteborg Sweden
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PostPosted: Thu 12 May, 2005 4:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Sigman wrote:
Here is what I have come up with as far as our name.....

Sigman Name History

The old Teutonic name Sigmundr, compounded of Sieg(victory) and mundr(protection) formed the names of a king of Burgandy (France) in 516, a king of Germany in 1368-1437, two kings of Poland in 1506 and 1508 and a king of both Poland and Sweden 1600. It also formed the names Sigman (d) and Sigmon (d). In the first census of the US in 1790, there were 13 families of the Sigman's in North Carolina and two in Pennslvania...Source Atlanta Journal & Constitution Sunday Nov. 21 1976

I do have a book with the family tree somewhere that dates pretty old. I know that there is a cemetery in Germany that is full of Sigman's. My Great Aunt has done a lot of "digging" on this.

I am pretty sure that my father has our family crest. I am going to see if I can get a hold of it. I have thought about it from time to time but every time I talk with him I forget to ask. Thanks for the post Eric. It just sparked that I need to do that.


I am on my knee, Mike! Happy
just some pictures of sigismund III vasa.

http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigismund

Frid o Fröjd!
Patrik
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
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PostPosted: Thu 12 May, 2005 4:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Heraldry         Reply with quote

Bob Uhl wrote:
Well, one thing to remember is that heraldry is not owned by a family but rather by a person--that is, the fact that one's last name is Windsor doesn't give one the right to bear the arms of the QEII. It was, I believe, not uncommon for cadet members of a family to use arms differenced in one way or another from the heir's.

This brings up a difference between crests and coats of arms. Crests are kind of thought to be forever and coats of arms incorporated elements from them, but not always.

Take Percy as but an example. The family designs from Normandy (pre 1066) had no place on the coat of arms from the 14th century that incorporated the blue lion argent and some fishies. Then again, you will see the blue lion argent associated with Robert Bruce and even the current submission for a flag of Northumbria. Back in the Normandy days, Percy was happy with a few diamonds (fusils). Willem de Percy was thought to have been Flemish, adopting the name Percy from the town he ruled (see, even then, no real surname).

The badge of Percy (my avatar) was from the crusades era and adopted by the 11th century.

Heraldric crests continue to be submitted and approved by the English. Very often this is for a city, town or region.

The bulk of commercial sites are for profit but there are still clues to be found there.

Cheers

GC

edited to add this tid-bit of the fate of one Percy circa 16th century

"The Government tried to prove that he had died by his own hand, but there were circumstances pointing to murder, ie. there were 3 bullet holes in him."
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Joel Whitmore




Location: Simmesport, LA
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PostPosted: Thu 12 May, 2005 6:04 pm    Post subject: My family tree         Reply with quote

I have just recently pieced together my family history adn traced it back to 11th Century England in a direct line. After that things get a little fuzzy as few people had surnames back then and bloodlines are difficult to verify. Anyways here is a pic of my family crest:


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Steve Grisetti




Location: Orlando metro area, Florida, USA
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PostPosted: Thu 12 May, 2005 7:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Heraldry         Reply with quote

Glen A Cleeton wrote:
edited to add this tid-bit of the fate of one Percy circa 16th century

"The Government tried to prove that he had died by his own hand, but there were circumstances pointing to murder, ie. there were 3 bullet holes in him."

Maybe he was just a poor shot?
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Nate C.




Location: Palo Alto, CA
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PostPosted: Thu 12 May, 2005 9:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is an interesting subject and one that I have wondered about for quite a while. There are a couple additional things to consider. From what I understand, only the heir inherited the arms of the father. The other sons would have had devices that indicated their status as "lesser" sons. While the father lived, even the first son had a device [crescent?] that indicated he was heir. With important families on both sides of a marriage, the sons would sometimes include their mother's family crest/arms in their own.

One thing I've wondered is which line do you follow? My mother is an only child of the eldest son (my grandfather). My dad is the eldest as am I. So, I have 4 surnames with possibilities for crests/arms, at least 2 of which I know have crests although I'm not sure how close I am to the family lines that carry them. Seems to me that this gets confusing really quick.

So what I'm getting at is this: Can we really know exactly what our arms are? Especially after such a long time? Is there any place where information like this would be kept? A heraldry library as it were?

Cheers,

Nate C.

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Bob Uhl




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PostPosted: Thu 12 May, 2005 9:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nate C. wrote:

So what I'm getting at is this: Can we really know exactly what our arms are?


A good rule of thumb is that if you don't know that you've a right to it, you almost certainly don't. Why? Well, since arms are inherited from one's father, surely you would know that your father will give you them when he dies, and he would have known the same when his father died, and so on back forever. Essentially, it's just like property of any other sort.

I've no idea if there's any provision in the heraldic laws of various countries regarding what to do if somehow one's great-grandfather was ignorant of his right to particular arms, and thus that one only recently discovered it. There probably is, of course.

Fortunately, those of us who live in the US can just assume whichever arms we care to, so long as we don't use them to defraud. So if you've no right to any existing arms, just assume your own. That's what I plan to do (although I'm also having them vetted by an organisation I belong to for use therein).
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G. Scott H.




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PostPosted: Fri 13 May, 2005 2:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Glen A Cleeton wrote:
Heraldric crests are a huge modern money maker.


Along these same lines, I urge people not to trust the various websites that sell family crests. In most cases, I believe these are just made up by people out to make a buck. I've looked on several of these sites, and found that not only did the crests for my family name vary from site to site, but none of them matched the crest shown on the frontispiece of a book written on our family's history in America, printed around 1800, which appears to be the true one. My first ancestor on my father's side came to New Amsterdam (now New York City) in 1643 from Holland (The Netherlands), that much is well-documented. My father and I have traced the family history back as far as the late 1400's in Holland, and the same crest appears several times. Sorry, didn't mean to go into all that, just don't trust the websites! Eek! Happy
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Helen Miller




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PostPosted: Fri 13 May, 2005 5:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have no idea about my family heraldry. Here are some websites
I found. I like the first website listed the best. It's more straight foward.

http://www.digiserve.com/heraldry/symbols.htm
http://www.britam.org/genealogy/heraldry.html

and

http://www.geocities.com/pheon.geo/heraldry.htm
(warning: with popups and music)
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Russ Ellis
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PostPosted: Fri 13 May, 2005 6:15 am    Post subject: Re: Heraldry         Reply with quote

Bob Uhl wrote:
Well, one thing to remember is that heraldry is not owned by a family but rather by a person--that is, the fact that one's last name is Windsor doesn't give one the right to bear the arms of the QEII. It was, I believe, not uncommon for cadet members of a family to use arms differenced in one way or another from the heir's.


A good point. This is the major problem with these "pay us and we'll give you your coat of arms web sites." You give them your last name and they go come up with a coat of arms (which may or may not match any real coat of arms as far as I can tell) associate it with your last name and then charge you handsomely for the privilege. The point being that just because your last name matches in no way entitles you to bear a particular coat of arms and even if you can trace a direct line unless it is the primary line i.e. eldest son to eldest son you still have no claim on a coat of arms. Even THEN you need to make an application to the college of heraldry as I understand it. So you see it's not a trivial exercise and typically requires a LOT of research and probably no small expense to technically get it right. That's why the "pay us and we'll give you your coat of arms web sites" are out there, it's fast, easy and not nearly so much hassle as being accurate...

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Russ Ellis
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PostPosted: Fri 13 May, 2005 6:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bob Uhl wrote:
[
Fortunately, those of us who live in the US can just assume whichever arms we care to, so long as we don't use them to defraud. So if you've no right to any existing arms, just assume your own.


Ironically that's what probably happened originally. Devices after all were initially designed to help combatants tell who was who in the heat of combat when you didn't want to go attacking folks who were supposed to be on your side. It was only later that we got all formal and stodgy about it.

Even today coats of arms are still being granted although some of the newer ones are pretty sad it my opinion. I've seen them incorporate things like computer mice and keyboards...

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