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Kent Online Parish Clerks

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The Answer - Coats of Arms

I would be terribly remiss in my duties as a professional genealogist if I led you down the path and provided you with any arms pertaining to any family for which those arms had not been matriculated.

Most members of the public at large are not aware of the fact that arms are granted to one particular individual. They are not granted to all individuals who happen to bear a particular surname. In short, unless one of your direct-line ancestors had been given a grant of arms (with or without crest and/or motto) AND that grant stipulated in its terms that the right to bear arms was heritable in perpetuity, i.e. to be passed through to each descendant in each line of the original grantee's children, then, unfortunately, there would be no entitlement afforded to you to display an achievement of arms.

Moreover, arms are granted by different bodies in different countries. Accordingly, one would also have to know in which country the arms had been matriculated:  in Scotland it is the responsibility of the Lord Lyon;  in England and Wales, the responsibility rests with King of Arms at the College of Arms;  in Ireland the task falls to the Chief Herald's Office; in Canada it is the Governor General of Canada, and so on.

Contact with each of these offices would result, first, in a search of their files for a grant. Be warned, though, that the fees for searches are very steep. For example, a recent search on behalf of one of my clients started at GB200.00 - approximately Cdn$500.00. The process is complicated, protracted, and the results may be far less than anticipated.

If your interest is to determine how many families bearing your surname have been granted arms with a view to researching the descendants of those families in an effort to possibly overcome a lineage roadblock in your own research, then there are quite a few sources in which you might wish to look. Most of the following books can be found at a good reference library, i.e. university libraries, Toronto Reference Library (Yonge Street), St. Catharines Centennial Library, et cetera:

This, too, is a bibliography that will point you to other sources that may contain pedigrees and arms.

European sources should also be looked at such as the Armourial Generale, which can also be found in the larger libraries. Do not confuse this latter book with The General Armoury. The General Armoury is a narrative book. The Armourial Generale is a very large format book with plates of the arms that have been granted throughout Europe.

Although I can appreciate that this response is not the one you were hoping for, I do hope that I have been able to enlighten you on the subject of heraldry, even in a small way.