Family crest and coat of arms are often used interchangeably in the world of genealogy artifacts, but the truth is that this isn’t quite correct. As we detailed in a past post about the difference in meanings behind family crests and coats of arms, they are not two separate things but rather one is an essential element of the other. Most coats of arms include a “crest” above the helm, often an animal or some other symbol that’s important to the family.
What Is A Family Crest, Anyway?
Also, the term “family crest” isn’t quite accurate either. While crests are an essential elements of the coat of arms associated with a particular family, it’s common for many different surnames to choose similar crests. The crest is just one symbolic element of the coat of arms, and not necessarily unique to one family. So it’s just a “crest,” not a “family crest.”
Now that we’ve got that little bit of semantic confusion out of the way, let’s try to answer what we think the real question is here. That is, “Does every surname have its own coat of arms?” You see, when most people first contact Fine Legacy, they’re interested in recreating a coat of arms that they feel belongs to their name. They’re seeking unity and a sense of respect for their family lineage. While these are noble causes, it’s important to remember that coats of arms were historically bestowed upon individuals, not surnames. That means that two men sharing a last name could march under the banner of two very different coats of arms. It’s interesting to note, however, that even though coats of arms could vary between surnames, the crest included in each one tends to be passed down through generations.
Does My Family Have A Coat Of Arms?
It should be clear now that the answer to this question is a resounding, “maybe.” While it’s very possible that someone in your family has already gone through the trouble of researching past coats of arms used by your family, the truth is this may not have happened in centuries. Also, while it’s not what you’ll hear from the guy selling coats of arms at the mall kiosk, there’s no such thing as just ONE coat of arms for a surname. So even if your name is Brown, it’s completely possible that there are multiple coats of arms and family crests associated with your surname.
If You Don’t Like Your Family Crest Or Coat Of Arms, We Can Change It!
All of this somewhat confusing information is simply to let you know that if you can’t find a crest or coat of arms for your family tree, Fine Legacy can help you create one. Since the dawn of the practice, coats of arms have always been commissioned which means you’re completely free to tell us what elements you want in your crest or coat of arms, and we’ll design it!
Find out the unique sense of pride and belonging that can come from creating a symbol that represents your historical roots, as well as where you hope to lead your family some day. Contact Fine Legacy today.