The following heraldic research services are available.

Preliminary Coat of Arms Search

This is a quick search that will tell if a coat of arms exists for the surname of interest.

Detailed Coat of Arms Search

If you know that there are relevant coats of arms out there, this detailed search will return details of these arms (as blazons - text descriptions - only).

Preliminary Coats of Arms Search
If you order a Preliminary Coat of Arms Search, we will scan all the reference material available to us and advise you if any coats of arms exist for the surname you specify and how many. The search will include any variant spelling of the name that you provide or that we can find. If no hits accrue in the country / area you specify, then we will automatically extend the search further afield. The more specific you enquiry, the more relevent will be our response. If your search criteria show up just a single match then we will provide all the detail available.
Below are some sample queries and responses to give you an idea of what you can expect when you order a preliminary search.

Sample 1.
The client ordered a search for the surname Halsey from Gaddensden Park, Hertfordshire, England. Because there was an exact match to his request he received the maximum informtion for that specific record.
Response
Thank you for your order for a preliminary coat of arms search.
There are six coats of arms recorded in our references for the name Halsey in England. One is indeed recorded in Gaddensden Park, Hertfordshire as follows . . .
Ref: B444/65 Halsey (Gaddessden Park, Hertfordshire, England) Arms: Argent on a pile Sable three griffins' heads erased of the first. Crest: A dexter hand proper sleeved Gules cuffed Argent holding a griffin's claw erased Or. Motto: nescit vox missa reverti [a word once uttered cannot be recalled].
Of the other five, four show similar symbolism and are therefore probably related.
Here are the explanations of the heraldic terms used.
Argent: (Ar'-jent) White. The silvery color on coats of arms.
Dexter Hand: The right hand
Dexter: The right; situated on the right. The dexter side of the shield is that opposite the left hand of the spectator.
Erased: (e-ras'd) A term applied to the head of an animal or other bearing having the appearance of being forcibly torn off, leaving jagged or uneven ends.
Griffin: A fabulous beast, generally drawn with the body, legs and tail of a lion, the head of a cock or an eagle, a pair of wings and long, sharp claws. When represented on his hind legs he is segreant.
Gules: (guelz) Red. This color on engraved escutcheons is represented by vertical lines.
Of the first: Coloured of the first mentioned colour. Heraldic convention requires that a blazon (text description) only records a tincture (colour) name once in describing a heraldic device. Subsequent mention of the colour requires the use of the conventions 'of the first', 'of the second', 'of the field', etc. This rule is sometimes broken by using the modifier 'also', for example 'Argent a lion rampant gules armed and langued azure between three mullets of the second' might also be written 'Argent a lion rampant gules armed and langued azure between three mullets also gules'
Or: Gold. It is generally represented by yellow in printing. In engraving it is denoted by small dots or points spread all over the bearing or field.
Pile: One of a honorable ordinaries, having the form of a wedge, issuing from the chief, with the point ending with the lower point of the shield. When borne plain it contains one-third of the chief in breadth; when charged, two-thirds. The pile is a very early bearing, and its origin is obscure.
Proper: Represented in its natural color. Said of charges; as, "a lion proper."
Sable: The tincture black. In engraving it is represented by perpendicular and horizontal lines crossed. In black and white illustrations it is shown as solid black.
If you would like to order a more detailed report for all the coats of arms found, or if you would like to order graphics, prints or other items bearing a coat of arms, please visit www.araltas.com
Best wishes
<Researcher>

Sample 2.
The client ordered a search for the surname Schwartzenberger in Germany. As there was just a single hit he got the maximum information.
Many thanks for your order. Here are the results of the preliminary search for coats of arms for the surname(s) Schwartzenberger
Surname: Schwartzenberger
Known or suggested Variants: Schwarzenberger
There is 1 record of coats of arms in my references for this surname in Germany.
Ref: R745/49 Schwarzenberger or Schwartzenberger (Gaildorf, Wurtembourg, Germany) Arms: Argent the head and shoulders of a Moor in profile proper habited Gules. Crest: The head and shoulders of a Moor as in the arms. Motto: None recorded. Mantling: Argent and Gules
Here are the explanations of the heraldic terms used.
Argent: (Ar'-jent) White. The silvery color on coats of arms. In the arms of princes it is sometimes called lune, and in those of peers pearl. In engravings it is generally represented by the natural color of the paper.
Gules: (guelz) Red. This color on engraved escutcheons is represented by vertical lines.
Habited: clothed.
Or: Gold. It is generally represented by yellow in printing. In engraving it is denoted by small dots or points spread all over the bearing or field.
Proper: Represented in its natural color. Said of charges; as, "a lion proper."
If you would like me to create prints or graphics, or if you are interested in purchasing any items offered through the Araltas website, please visit http://www.araltas.com
I sincerely appreciate your custom.
Best wishes
<Researcher>



Sample 3.
The client ordered a search for the surname Barth without specifying a location.
Response

Many thanks for your order. Here are the results of the preliminary search for coats of arms for the surname(s) Barth
There are 5 records of coats of arms in my references for this surname in Germany.
There are 2 records of coats of arms in my references for this surname in Switzerland.
There are 3 records of coats of arms in my references for this surname in Austria.
If you would like to order a more detailed report for all the coats of arms found, or if you would like to order graphics, prints or other items bearing a coat of arms, please visit www.araltas.com
I sincerely appreciate your custom.
Best wishes
<Researcher>


Sample 4.
The client ordered a search for the surname Mulvaney in Ireland. There is no coat of arms on record for that name.
Response
Unfortunately, our references do not include any record of a coat of arms for the name Mulvaney the variant(s) Mulvany, O'Mulvaney or any variants I could find or imagine.
Please note that I searched under all variant spellings that I could find or imagine and also extended the search beyond the areas and countries indicated.
I am sorry that the search proved negative. There are several reason why this can happen.
1) There simply may not be any. Coats of arms tend to found among the gentry and nobility. There is a huge number of names for which no coat of arms was ever granted or used.
2) It may not be recorded in my references. My sources include approximately 200,000 coats of arms. However, this is by no means an exhaustive collection. There are many more recorded in the archives of heraldic authorities in countries all over the world. Links to some of these are included on my website at http://homepage.eircom.net/~donnaweb/links/ and some of them I know are prepared to perform research. However, I would expect this to be relatively expensive and not very fast.
3) The arms may be recorded under a different variant spelling of the name. While I endevour to check all known and obvious variants, some names have changed dramatically over the centuries. You may be convinced that your spelling has been in use for a long time, but don't forget that many coats of arms have been around for many hundred of years and in that time the surname may have changed dramatically. It's also important to remember that names were particulary subject to change among emigrants. For example, here are some that I have encountered: Craybill (originally Krahenbuhl), Shamblin (originally Chamberlain), Gheen (originally Geoghegan) and Meecham (originally Muschamp).
I sincerely appreciate your custom.
Best wishes
<Researcher>



From the above examples you will see that the more specific your requested the more detailed will be our results.
I would also like you to note that we cannot offer a refund for negative searches. It often takes longer to verify that no coat of arms exists than it does to find one.

Detailed Coats of Arms Search
If you order a Detailed Coat of Arms Search, we will scan all the reference material available to us and extract the text listings of coats of arms for the surnames / locations you specify. The number of extracts depends, of course, on the number you order. If you have previously ordered a preliminary search from us, you will already know how many coats of arms are on record. If you don't then we suggest you start by ordering five (which is the minimum). We will tell you if there are more available. You may also specify up to three surname to be researched, that way if there is just one record for one of them, your money will not be wasted and we can apply the balance to the other surnames you specify. You will be given the opportunity to specify whether we should concentrate on one particular surname and only deal with the others if you have remaining credit. Because of the limitations of the ordering system, you must order in multiples of 5 records (specifically 5, 10, 15 or 20). The quality of the information you receive will vary depending on the level of detail that was recorded in the original source. This may be as little as just a surname and blazon (text description of a coat of arms) or as much as a partial pedigree. Here are two contrasting examples.
Minimal Information

Ref: B600/07 Lem (an unrecorded location in England, Scotland Wales or Ireland)
Arms: Argent on a bend Gules three lions passant Or.
Crest: None recorded
Motto: None recorded

Lots of information

Ref: B873/62 Rothe (Co. Kilkenny, Ireland. An ancient family desc. from John Fitz William Rothe of Northon Rothe, Lancashire, England, who came to Ireland in the reign of Henry II. They had their chief residence at Ballyraughtan and Tulloghmaine [Kilkenny] and a branch resided at New Ross [Wexford]. Robert Fitz David Rothe of Ballyraughtan, lived in the reigns of Henry VII and VIII and married Ellen the daughter of Walter Butler of Polestown [Kilkenny]. They had seven sons. David Fitz Robert Rothe, the eldest, succeeded his father and his direct descendant and representative, Robert Rothe, of Tulloghmaine was Colonel in the army of James II. He forfeited his estate and followed his sovereign to France. John Rothe of Ballyevan, the fifth son of Robert and Ellen, was ancestor of the New Ross branch of the family)
Arms: Or on a mount in base proper a stag trippant Argent attired Gules in front of an oak tree Vert.
Crest: On a mount proper a stag lodged Argent
Motto: virtute non vi [by virtue not force]

Below are some sample queries and responses to give you an idea of what you can expect when you order a detailed search.

Sample 1.
The client ordered a search for the surname Kaiser.
Response
Many thanks for your order for a detailed coat of arms search. Here are the results.

Ref: R1059/25 Kaiser (Prussia, 2 June 1868) Arms: Per fess Gules and Azure in chief two swords in saltire Argent pommels and hilts Or and in base a fess Argent. Crest: Out of a (ducal) crown proper a lion's head couped Azure langued Gules. Motto: None recorded. Remark: Mantling Argent and Azure
Ref: R1059/27 Kaiser (Bavaria) Arms: Or two arms vested Azure in saltire. Crest: An arm vested per fess Or and Azure holding a chisel in fess proper. Motto: None recorded.
The heraldic terms used in the descriptions are
Argent: (Ar'-jent) White. The silvery color on coats of arms. In the arms of princes it is sometimes called lune, and in those of peers pearl. In engravings it is generally represented by the natural color of the paper.
Azure: Blue. Used especially in describing the escutcheons of gentlemen beneath the degree of baron. The same color on a nobleman's coat is called sapphire, from the stone, and that on the coat of a sovereign prince Jupiter, from the planet of that name. Engravers represent azure in heraldry by horizontal lines.
Couped: (koop'd) Said of an animal having the head or any limb cut clean off from the body. A head couped is a head having the appearance of being cut off with a sharp knife.
Fess: (fes) One of the ordinaries. A strip or band placed horizontally across the shield, occupying one-third of the field. Its diminutives are the bar, the barrulet and the closet.
Gules: (guelz) Red. This color on engraved escutcheons is represented by vertical lines.
IN CHIEF: At the top of a shield
In base: At the bottom of the shield
Langued: (langd) Tongued; having the tongue visible. Applied to the tongue of a bird or beast when of a different tincture from that of the body.
Lion: The lion is the most popular beast in heraldry. He appears in the arms of Great Britain, Denmark, Spain, Holland, Bohemia, Saxony and numerous lesser countries. As early as 1127 Henry I used the lion as an ornament on a shield. Of the 918 bannerets of Edward II, 225 bore lions. The early English heralds seem to have confused the lion with the leopard. While never drawn spotted as the real leopard, he was described in most attitudes as leo-pardé, or a lion as a leopard. The lion is drawn in about 30 attitudes, but it is seldom he is seen in other than rampant or passant.
Or: Gold. It is generally represented by yellow in printing. In engraving it is denoted by small dots or points spread all over the bearing or field.
Out of: Signifies rising from, as "out of a ducal coronet an eagle."
Proper: Represented in its natural color. Said of charges; as, "a lion proper."
Saltire: (sal'-teer) One of the honorable ordinaries. It is made in the form of a St. Andrew's cross, or the letter X. Its breadth should be one-third of the field. The saltire is popular in Scottish heraldry.
In Saltire: In the shape of an X

If you would like me to create prints or graphics, or if you are interested in purchasing any items offered through the Araltas website, please visit http://www.araltas.com
I sincerely appreciate your custom.
Best wishes
<Researcher>

Sample 2.
The client ordered a search for the surname Rose.
Response
Many thanks for your order for a detailed coat of arms search. Here are the results.
Ref: B871/10 Rose (London, Nicholas Rose temp. Henry VII. and Henry VIII., his daughter Martha married John Haydon, Alderman and Sheriff of London. Visit. London, 1568). Azure a falcon volant Or, a double tressure flory counterflory of the last, on a canton Argent a rose Gules.
Ref: B871/11 Rose (Cransley Hall, co. Northampton). Sable a fess Or, between three roses barbed and seeded proper. Crest - Out of a mural crown a demi lion rampant.
Ref: B871/12 Rose (Wolston Heath, co. Northampton). Argent on a chevron Azure between three roses Gules a water bouget between two mullets of six points pierced of the field, quartering Holden, viz., Vert a fess ermine between two pheons point upwards in chief, and, a buglehorn in base Argent. Crest - A cubit arm erect vested Sable cuffed Argent holding in the hand a rose slipped and leaved proper.
Ref: B871/13 Rose (The Ferns, Sussex). Or, a chevron between three water bougets Azure, quartering Holden. Crest - A lion holding a rose in his paw. Motto - Non sine sente Rosa
Ref: B871/14 Rose (London; Alderman Sir William Anderson Rose, Lord Mayor of London, 1862-3, Col. Royal London Militia). Argent a lion passant guardant Azure between three water bougets Sable a crescent for difference. Crest - a harp Or, stringed Argent. Motto - Constant and true.
Ref: B871/15 Rose (Abingdon, Berkshire, formerly of Grest Yarmouth, Norfolk; the late Richard Rose of Abingdon, who was killed at the seige of Attoor, in India, in 1768, left an only child, James Dowsett Rose). Sable on a pale Argent three roses Gules seeded and slipped proper. Crest - A rose Gules seeded and slipped proper between two wings ermine.
Ref: B871/16 Rose, Or Rosse (Waddesden, Buckinhamshire). Azure a chevron ermine between three water bougets Argent. Crest - A buck trippant Argent.
Ref: B871/17 Rose (Harland, Derbyshire). Sable on a chevron Argent three roses Gules seeded and barbed proper in the dexter chief point a close helmet of the second.
Ref: B871/18 Rose (London). Azure a falcon volant within a double tressure flory counterflory Or, on a canton Argent a rose Gules.
Ref: B871/19 Rose (East Gate, Sussex; granted 16 Feb. 168l). Ermine an eagle displayed Sable beaked and membered Gules debruised with a bendlet componee Or and Azure.
Ref: B871/20 Rose. Sable on a pale Or, three roses Gules. Crest - A rose Gules between a pair of wings proper; another, Gules on a chevron Or, between three horseshoes Argent as many roses of the first; another, Sable a chevron between three roses Argent; another, Gules a chevron Argent between three rose leaves Argent; another, Argent an eagle Sable depressed with a bemd gobonated Or and Gules.
Ref: B871/21 Rose (Montreal, Canada, and Queen's Gate, London, bart.). Or, a boar's head couped Gules armed and langued Azure between three water bougets Sable on a chief of the second three maple leuves of the first. Crest - A harp Or, stringed Azure. Mottoes - Above the crest, Audeo; and below the shield, Constant and true.
Ref: B871/22 Rose (Rayners, co. Bucks, bart.). Azure a chevron invected erminois between three water bougets in chief and one in base Argent. Crest - A stag Argent collared, and resting the dexter foreleg on a water bouget Azure. Motto - Probitate ac virtute.
Ref: B871/23 Rose (Ireland). Sable on a chevron Argent three roses Gules barbed Vert, seeded Or. Crest - A peacock in his pride proper beaked Or.
Ref: B871/24 Rose (Nairn, Scotland). Or, a boar's head couped Gules between three water bougets Sable. Crest - A harp Azure. Motto - Constant and true.
Ref: B871/25 Rose (Markinch, Provost of Inverness, Scotland 1679). Or, a boar's head couped Gules between three water bougets Sable within a bordure indented Gules. Crest - A dexter hand holding a slip of a rose bush proper. Motto - Quo spinosior fragrantior.
Ref: B871/26 Rose (Ballevit, co. Ross, Scotland). Or, a boar's head couped Gules between three water bougets ssable a bordure Azure charged with three garbs and as many boars' heads couped alternately of the field. Crest - A rose Gules stalked and leaved proper. Motto - Armat spina rosas.
Ref: B871/27 Rose (Insch, 1680). Or, a boar's head couped Gules between three water bougets Sable a bordure of the second, charged with six mullets of the first. Crest - A rose Gules stalked and barbed Vert. Motto - Magnes et adamas.
Ref: B871/28 Rose (James Rose, Knight of the Swedish Military Order of the Sword, 1814). Azure three water bougets Or, on a chief wavy Argent the badge of the Royal Swedish Military Order of the Sword pendent from a mural crown Gules between a sword erect proper and an anchor in pale Sable. Crest - Out of a mural crown Or, an eagle's head proper charged on the neck with a rose Gules. Motto - Pro patria. (note: I am unable to make up this coat of arms as I don't know what the badge referred to looks like).
Ref: B871/29 Rose (Huntingdon, Canada, 1872). Or, a boar's head couped Gules between three water bougets Sable on a chief of the second three maple leaves of the first. Crest - A harp Or, stringed Azure. Mottoes - Over the crest, Audeo; below the arms, Constant and true.
Ref: B871/30 Rose (Foxhall, co. Tipperary, Ireland; confirmed by Betham, Ulster, to Wellington Anderson Ross, Esq., of Foxhall, son of Richard Anderson Rose of Foxhall, grandson of Thomas Maunsel Rose, Esq., of Aghabeg and Rathkeal, great-grandson of Richard Rose, Esq., of Limerick, by Mary, his wife, daughter of John Anderson, Esq., of Foxhall, great-great-grandson of George Rose, Esq., of Limerick, by Suanna, his second wife, daughter and co-heir of Richard Stephens of Newcastle, co. Limerick, and Barnstaple, Devonshire, and to the deseendants of their ancestor, Thomas Rose, of Morgans, co. Limerick). Quarterly, 1st and 4th, per pale Argent and Or, a chevron Gules between three water bougets Sable, for Rose; 2nd, per chevron Argent and Gules in chief two eagles displayed Azure, for Stephens; 3rd, Argent a saltire between two mullets in chief and in base Gules and two boars' heads erased in fess Sable, for Anderson. Crest - 1st: A demi lion rampant Argent holding in the dexter paw a rose Gules slipped Vert.;
Ref: B871/10 Rose (London, Nicholas Rose temp. Henry VII. and Henry VIII., his daughter Martha married John Haydon, Alderman and Sheriff of London. Visit. London, 1568). Azure a falcon volant Or, a double tressure flory counterflory of the last, on a canton Argent a rose Gules.
Ref: B871/11 Rose (Cransley Hall, co. Northampton). Sable a fess Or, between three roses barbed and seeded proper. Crest - Out of a mural crown a demi lion rampant.
Ref: B871/12 Rose (Wolston Heath, co. Northampton). Argent on a chevron Azure between three roses Gules a water bouget between two mullets of six points pierced of the field, quartering Holden, viz., Vert a fess ermine between two pheons point upwards in chief, and, a buglehorn in base Argent. Crest - A cubit arm erect vested Sable cuffed Argent holding in the hand a rose slipped and leaved proper.
Ref: B871/13 Rose (The Ferns, Sussex). Or, a chevron between three water bougets Azure, quartering Holden. Crest - A lion holding a rose in his paw. Motto - Non sine sente Rosa
Ref: B871/14 Rose (London; Alderman Sir William Anderson Rose, Lord Mayor of London, 1862-3, Col. Royal London Militia). Argent a lion passant guardant Azure between three water bougets Sable a crescent for difference. Crest - a harp Or, stringed Argent. Motto - Constant and true.
Ref: B871/15 Rose (Abingdon, Berkshire, formerly of Grest Yarmouth, Norfolk; the late Richard Rose of Abingdon, who was killed at the seige of Attoor, in India, in 1768, left an only child, James Dowsett Rose). Sable on a pale Argent three roses Gules seeded and slipped proper. Crest - A rose Gules seeded and slipped proper between two wings ermine.
Ref: B871/16 Rose, Or Rosse (Waddesden, Buckinhamshire). Azure a chevron ermine between three water bougets Argent. Crest - A buck trippant Argent.
Ref: B871/17 Rose (Harland, Derbyshire). Sable on a chevron Argent three roses Gules seeded and barbed proper in the dexter chief point a close helmet of the second.
Ref: B871/18 Rose (London). Azure a falcon volant within a double tressure flory counterflory Or, on a canton Argent a rose Gules.
Ref: B871/19 Rose (East Gate, Sussex; granted 16 Feb. 168l). Ermine an eagle displayed Sable beaked and membered Gules debruised with a bendlet componee Or and Azure.
Ref: B871/20 Rose. Sable on a pale Or, three roses Gules. Crest - A rose Gules between a pair of wings proper; another, Gules on a chevron Or, between three horseshoes Argent as many roses of the first; another, Sable a chevron between three roses Argent; another, Gules a chevron Argent between three rose leaves Argent; another, Argent an eagle Sable depressed with a bemd gobonated Or and Gules.
Ref: B871/21 Rose (Montreal, Canada, and Queen's Gate, London, bart.). Or, a boar's head couped Gules armed and langued Azure between three water bougets Sable on a chief of the second three maple leuves of the first. Crest - A harp Or, stringed Azure. Mottoes - Above the crest, Audeo; and below the shield, Constant and true.
Ref: B871/22 Rose (Rayners, co. Bucks, bart.). Azure a chevron invected erminois between three water bougets in chief and one in base Argent. Crest - A stag Argent collared, and resting the dexter foreleg on a water bouget Azure. Motto - Probitate ac virtute.
Ref: B871/23 Rose (Ireland). Sable on a chevron Argent three roses Gules barbed Vert, seeded Or. Crest - A peacock in his pride proper beaked Or.
Ref: B871/24 Rose (Nairn, Scotland). Or, a boar's head couped Gules between three water bougets Sable. Crest - A harp Azure. Motto - Constant and true.
Ref: B871/25 Rose (Markinch, Provost of Inverness, Scotland 1679). Or, a boar's head couped Gules between three water bougets Sable within a bordure indented Gules. Crest - A dexter hand holding a slip of a rose bush proper. Motto - Quo spinosior fragrantior.
Ref: B871/26 Rose (Ballevit, co. Ross, Scotland). Or, a boar's head couped Gules between three water bougets ssable a bordure Azure charged with three garbs and as many boars' heads couped alternately of the field. Crest - A rose Gules stalked and leaved proper. Motto - Armat spina rosas.
Ref: B871/27 Rose (Insch, 1680). Or, a boar's head couped Gules between three water bougets Sable a bordure of the second, charged with six mullets of the first. Crest - A rose Gules stalked and barbed Vert. Motto - Magnes et adamas.
Ref: B871/28 Rose (James Rose, Knight of the Swedish Military Order of the Sword, 1814). Azure three water bougets Or, on a chief wavy Argent the badge of the Royal Swedish Military Order of the Sword pendent from a mural crown Gules between a sword erect proper and an anchor in pale Sable. Crest - Out of a mural crown Or, an eagle's head proper charged on the neck with a rose Gules. Motto - Pro patria. (note: I am unable to make up this coat of arms as I don't know what the badge referred to looks like).
Ref: B871/29 Rose (Huntingdon, Canada, 1872). Or, a boar's head couped Gules between three water bougets Sable on a chief of the second three maple leaves of the first. Crest - A harp Or, stringed Azure. Mottoes - Over the crest, Audeo; below the arms, Constant and true.
Ref: B871/30 Rose (Foxhall, co. Tipperary, Ireland; confirmed by Betham, Ulster, to Wellington Anderson Ross, Esq., of Foxhall, son of Richard Anderson Rose of Foxhall, grandson of Thomas Maunsel Rose, Esq., of Aghabeg and Rathkeal, great-grandson of Richard Rose, Esq., of Limerick, by Mary, his wife, daughter of John Anderson, Esq., of Foxhall, great-great-grandson of George Rose, Esq., of Limerick, by Suanna, his second wife, daughter and co-heir of Richard Stephens of Newcastle, co. Limerick, and Barnstaple, Devonshire, and to the deseendants of their ancestor, Thomas Rose, of Morgans, co. Limerick). Quarterly, 1st and 4th, per pale Argent and Or, a chevron Gules between three water bougets Sable, for Rose; 2nd, per chevron Argent and Gules in chief two eagles displayed Azure, for Stephens; 3rd, Argent a saltire between two mullets in chief and in base Gules and two boars' heads erased in fess Sable, for Anderson. Crest - 1st: A demi lion rampant Argent holding in the dexter paw a rose Gules slipped Vert.;

The heraldic terms used in the descriptions are

Alternate: Alternate quarters: A term applied to the first and fourth quarters on an escutcheon, which are generally of the same kind. Also applied to the second and forth , which also similarly resemble each other.
Anchor: In heraldry the anchor is an emblem of hope.
Argent: (Ar'-jent) White. The silvery color on coats of arms. In the arms of princes it is sometimes called lune, and in those of peers pearl. In engravings it is generally represented by the natural color of the paper.
Armed: (1) Furnished with arms. (2) Adding to anything that which will give it greater strength or efficiency. (3) The term armed of applies to a beast of prey when his teeth and claws are differently colored from the rest of his body. It applies also to predatory birds when their talons and beaks are differently colored from the rest of the body. (4) Armed at all points, in days gone by, meant a man covered with armor except his face.
Azure: Blue. Used especially in describing the escutcheons of gentlemen beneath the degree of baron. The same color on a nobleman's coat is called sapphire, from the stone, and that on the coat of a sovereign prince Jupiter, from the planet of that name. Engravers represent azure in heraldry by horizontal lines.
Bar: An ordinary which crosses the shield horizontally. It differs from a fesse in that it occupies only one-fifth of the field. There is room for but four bars on a shield. BARS GEMEL: Bars placed parallel to each other. A bar with closets placed in couples. IN BAR: Charges arranged in two or more rows. It differs from in fesse in that the latter term signifies charges in a single row.
Barbed: Bearded. Usually specifically of the arrow; also, of the five leaflets in the compound leaf of some roses.
Base: The lower part of a shield. Specifically, the width of a bar parted off from the lower part of the shield by a line horizontally drawn. (Sometimes called basc-bar, baste and plain point.)
Beaked: When the beak and legs of a bird are of a different tincture from the body it is said to be beaked and membered of that tincture.
Bend: One of the ordinaries. It is formed of two lines, and is drawn from the dexter chief to the sinister base point of the escutcheon. It generally occupies one-fifth of the field; but formerly it was one-fifth only when plain, and one-third when charged. The bend is said to have been derived from the border on a woman's cap known as a bend. It is possible that its origin was a representation of the baldric. According to some, the origin was a scaling ladder. In the beginning of heraldry the bend was a mark of cadency, but later became an honorable ordinary. "The diminutives of the bend are the bendlet, garter or gartier, which is half its width; the cost or cottice, which is one-fourth; and the riband, which is one-eighth.": (Gloss. of Her.) BEND SINISTER: An ordinary resembling the bend in form, but extending from the sinister chief to the dexter base. The diminutives of the bend sinister are the scarpe, which is half its width; and the baton, half as wide as the scarpe and couped.
Bendlet: A diminutive of the bend. Generally it is half the width of the bend; but sometimes it appears much narrower. In ancient heraldry a bendlet azure on a coat was a mark of cadency.
Boar: The boar is one of the ancient charges of heraldry. With the exception of the lion, it is the only beast borne in the roll of Henry III.
Bordure: (Bor'-dure) The border of an escutcheon, occupying one-fifth of the shield. It is sometimes the mark of a younger branch of a family; and, again, when charged, may refer to maternal descent, especially in ancient heraldry. When used in an impaled coat the bordure is not continued around the inner side.
Bouget: (Bou'-jet) A bucket for carrying water. It is an early charge, and is identified with the names of Ros and Rose.
Canton: (Can'-ton) A division of the field placed in the upper dexter corner. It is classed by some heraldic writers as one of the honorable ordinaries; but, strictly speaking, it is a diminutive of the Quarter, being two-thirds the area of that ordinary. However, in the roll of Henry III the quarter appears in several coats which in later rolls are blazoned as cantons. The canton, like the quarter, is an early bearing, and is always shown with straight lines.
Chevron: (shev'-ron): One of the honorable ordinaries. It is rafter shaped, and its breadth is one-fifth of the field. Its diminutives are the Chevronel, which is one-fifth of its breadth; and the Couple-close, one-quarter.
Chief Point: The uppermost part of the shield, and can be either dexter, middle or sinister.
Chief: The head or upper part of the shield, containing a third of the field, and is divided off by one line, either straight or crenellé (indented). When one chief is borne upon another it is called surmounting.
Close: The wings of a bird close to the body.
Cock: This fowl is generally borne as a crest, but occasionally appears on the shield. When the beak, comb, wattles and spur are given, he is said to be beaked, wattled (or jewlapped) and armed.
Collared: A charge around the neck
Compone: A border, bend, etc., composed of a row of squares consisting of colors and metals.
Counter: In an opposite direction; contrary to the usual position. Sometimes used to denote an animal facing the sinister side of the shield.
Couped: (koop'd) Said of an animal having the head or any limb cut clean off from the body. A head couped is a head having the appearance of being cut off with a sharp knife.
Crescent: A bearing resembling the half moon with the points turned up. When used as a mark of cadency it denotes the second son. When the points of the crescent face dexter it is increscent; toward sinister, decrescent.
Cubit Arm: An arm cut off at the elbow.
Debruised: (de-bruzd") Applied to a bend when placed over an animal in such a manner as to seem to restrain its freedom.
Demi: Said of any charge borne half, as a demi-lion. (Also written deny.)
DEXTER CHIEF POINT: A point in the upper right-hand corner of the shield.
DEXTER HAND: The right hand
Dexter: The right; situated on the right. The dexter side of the shield is that opposite the left hand of the spectator.
Difference: Some figure or mark added to a coat of arms to distinguish one family from another. Modern marks of difference, or Marks of Cadence are: 1. Label 2. Crescent 7. Rose 3. Mullet 8. Cross Moline 4. Martlet 9. Octofoil 5. Annulet 6. Fleur-de-lis
Displayed: Said of any bird of prey borne erect, with the wings expanded. Applied especially to the eagle.
Eagle: The eagle plays an important part in heraldry in almost every part of the globe. Its earliest rise to popularity, however, was in Germany, where, after it became the emblem of the empire, it was adopted by some of the princes and many of the nobles. A double-headed eagle is also the emblem of Russia and Austria. On the roll of Henry III the eagle appears but twice, but in the roll of Edward II there are forty-three examples of it. Nobles of the Holy Roman Empire place their shields on the breast of an eagle, examples of which may be seen in the arms of the Duke of Marlborough , the Earl of Denbigh and Lord Arundel of Wardour. The imperial eagle is invariably represented as two-headed, the origin of which is obscure. Charlemagne is said to have used it to signify that in his hands was the government of both the Roman and the German empires. The eagle is generally borne displayed; that is, upright, breast to the front, and legs, tail and wings expanded (commonly called a "spread eagle"). The Bald Eagle,
Erased: (e-ras'd) A term applied to the head of an animal or other bearing having the appearance of being forcibly torn off, leaving jagged or uneven ends.
Ermine: A pattern representing the skin of the ermine and is white with black spots
Erminois: A pattern representing the skin of the ermine and is gold or yellow with black spots
Falcon: The Falcon makes its appearance frequently in heraldry. When it is borne with jesses (leather thongs about its legs), a hood and bells, it is said to be "jessed, hooded and belled." When represented as feeding, it is "at prey." The falcon is also known as a gerfalcon, peregrine falcon and tiercelet.
Fess: (fes) One of the ordinaries. A strip or band placed horizontally across the shield, occupying one-third of the field. Its diminutives are the bar, the barrulet and the closet.
Field: The surface of a shield upon which the charges or bearings are blazoned; or, of each separate coat when the shield is quartered or impaled.
Flory: A bearing adorned with fleur-de-lis, trefoils, etc. (Also written flory, floretty, flury and fleurettee.)
Garb: A sheaf of wheat. This was a popular bearing, especially in Cheshire. Sometimes it is banded of a different color. When the garb is used to designate any other grain this must be specified.
Guardant: Applied to a beast represented full-faced, or looking at the spectator, whether the animal be rampant, passant or otherwise. A beast of the chase: such as the hart, stag or hind: when depicted in this attitude is described as at gaze.
Gules: (guelz) Red. This color on engraved escutcheons is represented by vertical lines.
Harp: The harp is the emblem of Ireland. Its origin as the badge of Erin is obscure, but probably alludes to the instrument of Brian Boroimhe.
IN CHIEF: At the top of a shield
Indented: Notched like the teeth of a saw. Applied to partition lines, as well as to some of the ordinaries. It differs from the dancette in that the notches in indented are smaller and apply only to the outer edge, whereas dancette affects the whole ordinary.
Invected: (-vek'-ted) The opposite of engrailed. Having a border or outline with the points turning inward toward the ordinary and the convexity toward the field.
Langued: (langd) Tongued; having the tongue visible. Applied to the tongue of a bird or beast when of a different tincture from that of the body.
Lion: The lion is the most popular beast in heraldry. He appears in the arms of Great Britian, Denmark, Spain, Holland, Bohemia, Saxony and numerous lesser countries. As early as 1127 Henry I used the lion as an ornament on a shield. Of the 918 bannerets of Edward II, 225 bore lions. The early English heralds seem to have confused the lion with the leopard. While never drawn spotted as the real leopard, he was described in most attitudes as leo-pardé, or a lion as a leopard. The lion is drawn in about 30 attitudes, but it is seldom he is seen in other than rampant or passant.
Membered: A term applied to a bird when its legs are of a different tincture from that of the bird itself.
Mullet: A bearing resembling a five-pointed star. It is sometimes called a spur rowel, but it was in use long before the rowelled spur. When used as a difference it denotes the third son.
Or: Gold. It is generally represented by yellow in printing. In engraving it is denoted by small dots or points spread all over the bearing or field.
Out of: Signifies rising from, as "out of a ducal coronet an eagle."
Pale: One of the nine honorable ordinaries. It is a vertical line, set upright in the middle of the shield and occupying one-third of the field. It seldom contains more than three charges.
Passant: (pas'-sant) Walking; said of any animal, except beasts of the chase, when represented as walking, with the dexter paw raised. The same attitude in the case of a stag, hart, etc., would be trippant.
PER PALE: Divided by a perpendicular line.
Pheon: (fee'on) A bearing representing the head of a broad arrow or javelin, with long barbs which are engrailed on the inner edge. The pheon was, like the modern mace, carried before royalty by a sergeant-at-arms. It became a royal mark, and is still used in Great Britain to denote crown property, being termed the Broad R, or broad arrow.
Pierced: Applied to any bearing which is perforated so as to show the field under it.
Pride: A term applied to the peacock, turkey cock and other birds which spread their tails in a circular form and drop their wings; as, "A peacock in his pride."
Proper: Represented in its natural color. Said of charges; as, "a lion proper."
Quartering: The arrangement of two or more coats of arms on one shield to form one bearing, as for instance, the royal arms of England, where those of the several countries are conjoined; when a man inherits from both father and mother the right to bear arms; when an alliance of one family with the heiress of another is to be perpetuated. When only two coats are quartered on one shield, as in the case of marriage, the first and fourth quarters display the arms of the husband; the second and third, those of the wife. In quartering arms, the shield may be divided into as many squares as necessary, and the first coat (that of the bearer) may be repeated or not to make up an even number.
Quarterly: Placed in quarters; an escutcheon divided into quarters.
Rampant: (ramp'-ant) Said of a beast of prey, as a lion, rising with fore paws in the air., as if attacking. The right fore leg and the right hind leg should be raised higher than the left. Unless otherwise specified, the animal faces dexter.
Ringed: Provided with a ring or rings. (Said of the falcon.)
Rose: The Rose, which is popular in English heraldry, is generally borne singly and full-faced, with five petals, barbs and seeds.
Sable: The tincture black. In engraving it is represented by perpendicular and horizontal lines crossed. In black and white illustrations it is shown as solid black.
Saltire: (sal'-teer) One of the honorable ordinaries. It is made in the form of a St. Andrew's cross, or the letter X. Its breadth should be one-third of the field. The saltire is popular in Scottish heraldry.
Seeded: Represented with seeds of a different tincture, such as the rose, lily, etc., when it is said to be seeded of that color.
Slipped: Applied to a flower or branch depicted as torn from the stalk.
Tressure: (tresh'-ur) A kind of border or hem, being, in fact, a diminutive of the orle, of which it is one-half its breadth. It passes around the field, following the shape and form of the escutcheon, whatever shape it may be;usually borne double. Being used in the royal arms of Scotland, it is naturally popular in Scottish heraldry. TRESSURE FLEURY: A tressure ornamented with fleur-de-lis on one side, with their ends inward. TRESSURE FLEURY-COUNTER-FLEURY: A double tressure ornamented with fleur-de-lis on both sides, the flowers being reversed alternately. In the arms of Scotland, as in nearly all examples, the flower is divided by the border.
Trippant: (trip'-pant) Having the right forefoot lifted, the other three remaining on the ground, as if trotting. This term is applied to beasts of chase, as a buck, hart, etc., and is the same as passant, which is applied to beasts of prey.
Vert: (verrt) Green. It is represented in engraving by diagonal lines from dexter to sinister.
Vol: A pair of wings, often seen in the crest of continental European coats of arms

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The following is a listing of some of the reference material we use when researching coats of arms.
"Irish Families" Edward Mac Lysaght - First Chief Herald of Ireland, Irish Academic Press, 4th Edition 1985, reprinted 1991
"The General Armory (of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland)", Sir Bernard Burke - Ulster King of Arms Heraldry Today, 1884, Reprinted 1996.
"Ordinary of British Armorials" by John W. Papworth, completed by Alfred W. Morant. 1874 reprinted 1985
"Armorial General" J.B. Rietstap, 1884, Heraldry Today, Reprinted 1988
"Bolton's American Armory" by Charles Knowles Bolton.
"Crozier's General Armory" - William Armstrong Crozier
"Virginia County Records. Vol. V: Virginia Heraldica A Registry of Virginia Gentry Entitled to Coat Armor" - William Armstrong Crozier
"Fairbairn's Book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland" - James Fairbairn
"Complete American Armoury and Blue Book" - John Matthews
"An Ordinary of Arms: Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland" - Sir James Balfour Paul
"America Heraldica" Edited by E. de V. Vermont, 1965
"The Irish Book of Arms" by Michael C. O'Loughlin, reprinted 2000
"Scottish Clan and Family Names - Their Arms, Origins and Tartans" by Roddy Martine revised edition 1992.