Then And Now: How Coats Of Arms Could Be Used To Signify A Marriage

 By: Mark White
In the middle ages, coats of arms were an important tool that was used to determine who a person was. It told a story about their family and what their accomplishments were. It was useful for identifying someone in battle and was often a place where recognition for extraordinary deeds was displayed for everyone to see.

A coat of arms could be very personal as well and using a coat of arms that you were not entitled to use was a serious legal offense. Individuals even used their coats of arms to authenticate legal documents in addition to their signature.

Coats of arms could pass from one generation to the next

A coat of arms was often handed down from one member of a family to the next with only minor changes. For example, the charges were usually much the same with the addition of another symbol that represented birth order. But what could someone do in order to show that they were married?

In the case of a marriage, it was not uncommon for a new coat of arms to be created. In such a case, the original coats of arms for both families were displayed on a new coat of arms with the man's family coat of arms on the left side and the woman's on the right. The new design was then used by the man in the family as his official coat of arms.

How you can reflect a marriage in your own coat of arms

If you like the idea of reflecting a marriage between two families in your coat of arms there are a few things that you can do. The first is to research the coats of arms or crests of both families. You can then apply to have a new coat of arms or crest created that follows the tradition of displaying both crests on a single shield. This can be time consuming and expensive.

The second is to have a plaque created that shows both crests side by side. This can be a fantastic way to celebrate a marriage and can be a wonderful gift to give the couple on their special day. They can display it in their home and it can serve as a special memento that represents the joining of two families.

Where to find information on your family's coat of arms

There are many different places that you can look in order to find your family's coat of arms. Many companies will do the research for you and will come up with a crest or coat of arms that is commonly associated with your family's last name. This does not mean that it belonged to your ancestor. Instead, it may have been used by many different members of the family.

Taking your time and looking back through your family history can be a wonderful way to identify the precise coat of arms that belonged to your ancestor. You can find many websites and records that will help you do this although it may take some time for you to find the information you are looking for.
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