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Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 2006-11 > 1164580455

From: Kenneth Scott <>
Subject: Re: [S-I] Heraldry and Arms ---- Re: Family Coat of Arms
Date: Sun, 26 Nov 2006 14:34:15 -0800 (PST)

I'd just like to add a few notes to Charles comments.

An excellent book resource is:
Bolton's American Armory - A Record of the Coats of Arms Which Have Been in Use Within the Present Bounds of the United States (Hardcover)
by Charles Knowles Bolton
Publisher: Heraldic Book Company (1964)

This is the default "Heraldry Book" found in many public libraries. This is a collection of Heraldry used by individuals. Some other writers have collected heraldry that people have "paid to register" with certain people. Mr. Bolton's book is unique and worthwhile as a collection of Arms used by prominent people who displayed them in promient places, such as tomb stones & buildings they owned. There is no attempt to qualify the arms, other than to say a certain man at a certain time in a certain place displayed those arms to be his own. There are many good references with dates going back to before the American Revolution. Usually, under each name, you will find 20 or so listings of time & place, and 4-5 different types of Arms.
One note I'd like to add as a difference between English & Scottish Arms. In Scotland, the eldest son inherited the arms of his father. While the son was alive, he would use his father's arms, with a small difference to show he was a son. In England, anyone who was issued arms, kept those arms while he lived, and did not pass on that specific coat when he died. In this way, the 10th grandson of a Scottish first son would be exactly the same as his 10th great grandfather. The 10th grandson of an Englishman would have many differences, never to be the same again. In this way, it is a little easier to look at a coat of arms from, for example a lawyer may have used in 1803, and guesstimate which Clan & which House of that Clan that American Scots-Irishman would have come to display what he perceived to be his arms.

Any website k or service which asks your surname and gives you back only one coat of arms is worthless.

Kenneth Scott

----- Original Message ----
From: Kevin Patterson <>
To: Charles and Maria Shaw <>; ;
Sent: Saturday, November 11, 2006 4:36:22 PM
Subject: Re: [S-I] Heraldry and Arms ---- Re: Family Coat of Arms


I have enjoyed your explanation immensely! Thank you for taking the time to
express it. You hit upon just the information that I was wanting.

Best Wishes

Kevin Patterson

-----Original Message-----
From: Charles and Maria Shaw [mailto:]
Sent: Saturday, November 11, 2006 10:42 AM
To: ; Kevin Patterson;
Subject: Heraldry and Arms ---- Re: [S-I] Family Coat of Arms

Dear List,

I generally don't comment too much on many of these discussions and find
almost all of the topics and discussions extremely informative and accurate.

Thanks to Linda for keeping the S-I List so active and focused. This one
topic however is perhaps one of the most abused areas related to our
Scottish and Irish Ancestry and there are some absolute travesties
perpetuated upon the public not to mention illegal activities if you live in
Scotland or Ulster.

Many people confuse Ancestry, Heraldry, and Tanistry and this
misconception is promulgated by many unscrupulous merchants. This list is
obviously devoted to our common Ulster-Scots Ancestry and should remain so.
However, ancestry is also a major component of both Heraldry and Tanistry.
I also take exception to the idea that many of our Scots forebearers who
went to Ulster and then the Colonies somehow lost their ethnicity or their
Heraldric and Clan identities. Nothing could be further from the truth for
some families. I'd also like to clarify the statement that most Ulster
Scots were largely farmers and merchants and ministers, not gentry. This
depends on the timeframe in which they migrated to Ulster and location, such
as the great Plantation beginning in 1607 who were largely tennant farmers,
laborers, and merchants. Arms were also not exclusive to the gentry
originally. My Irvine/ Irwin, Schau/ Shaw, Wylie, Craufurd/ Crawford, and
other lines family lines in Antrin as early as 1560 were almost all
Armingers aligned with the House of Drum who migrated together. They did
the same thing when accepting warrants from William Penn in the late 1600's
to leave Ulster and settle their cohorts in PA to protect the frontier.
They ultimately migrated to VA, NC, AL. MS, and TX together serving as
cohorts in the Royal Rangers (1756-1759), Ghost Legion (1780-1783), Georgia
Legion (1812-1815), 15th and 35th Mississippi Infantry Regiments
(1861-1865), etc. over some 200 years.

Tanistry is the ancient basis for our Scottish and Celtic Clan System
and there are artifacts such as Tartans, Badge Plants, Runes, Mottos, etc.
associated with these practices. Heraldry on the other hand is the legal
basis for Title and Arms in most European countries. Most European
countries have a College of Arms, appointed Chief Heralds, and actual Herald
Courts recognized by the state and empowered to pass laws or Official
Offices for records. There is no such thing as a "Coat of Arms", Arms can
only be issued by a Sovereign and/ or Herald Court to an individual based on
his position (Title) which he or she inherits or as a Knight or Squire based
on his demonstrated character and service (Arminger). Any descendent of
these Nobility and Armingers can subsequently inherit and/ or matriculate
these Arms with sufficient "Differencing" and by petition to the cognizant
Herald Court. In Scotland, Heraldry is the responsibility of the Lyon Court
and the current Lyon Herald is Sir Robin Blair. The system of Heraldry and
Arms in Scotland and Ireland has existed since at least the 13th Century
when some early rolls of warants issued by William I are recorded. The
system in Scotland and Ireland was first fully codified by Sir Alexander
Nisbet in the early 18th Century - I have an original copy of his 1718 text
in my library. It is illegal in Scotland and Ulster to display and/ or wear
another individual's arms in any form without certain permissions and
modifications - you can and will be jailed or fined for doing so and cases
have ended up in front of the Lyon Court. The system in Ireland is
something of an abhorration following instituion of the English system after
the Battle of the Boyne and latter practices of selling titles by the Irish.

It came under state control in 1943 under the National Library. They are
making significant progress toward cleaning up the Irish system under their
latest Herald.

It is important to note that the same thing is true with respect to
differencing of a Tartan in many cases and they are also submitted for
consideration and then registered in the International Tartan Index (ITI)
upon approval. The Chief and Chieftains generally have some "Differencing"
in their individual sett but then have a general sett worn by members of the

The major misconception actually began with William I following the
Battle of Hastings when the Norman/ Scottish/ English monarch used the
system of Heraldry to reward Flemish, Norman, and Scottish Knights and used
grants of land and title to mollify Clan Chiefs and Sept Chieftains in the
North and ultimately gain their allegiance. By the 15th Century, most Clan
heads were in fact of the Nobility and certainly they as well as many
followers were Armingers - hence the unofficial convergence of Tanistry and
Heraldry as viewed by many. This was quite true for my Irvine/ Irwin,
Schau/ Shaw, Wylie, Craufurd/ Crawford, and other lines from Dumfrieshire
and later Antrim. In fact, the Irvines of Drum were close allies of the
Bruces of Annan and 3rd in line to the Scottish throne at one time. In
addition, the "Cadet Lines" who inherited or matriculated arms from these
lords and knights were granted additional lands for their support and
providing militant cohorts (militia companies) in support of the noble who
was often their chief and usually a kinsman. These Armingers wore broad,
thick leather belts with a double prong buckle or "Buckler" on which hung
their claymores, axes, dirks, Rob Roy baand later pistols, telescopes, etc..

Many early rolls in Scotland and Ulster will actually list the primary arms
of each man in the cohort and carried on his "Buckler". Finally to the
point, this heraldric artifact is now commonly used as a means for followers
to show allegiance to and wear that Clan Chief's Arms. It is legal to
present Arms and/ or wear a Clan Crest based on those arms provided it is
encircled by a "Buckler" as were members of the Chief or Arminger's cohort
in the old days. The Clan Motto will often appear on the Crest or perhaps
Buckler as well.

It is also possible to petition the Lyon Court for Arms in honor of and
matriculate personal Arms in memory of an ancestor in certain cases. Many
of us here in the US, Canada, and Australia have done so and others are in
the process. If you can definitively trace back to an ancestor of Scottish
descent in the British colonies prior to November 1783 (Treaty of
Versailles), then the Lord Lyon has jurisdiction over your line's potential
Arms. Arms may be issued in honor of your ancestor and then you matriculate
those Arms with proper "Differencing" in memory of that ancestor from the
Lyon Court. A general set of references and links can be found at the
Heraldry Society of Scotland (HSS) using while a specific
discussion of Arms can be found at CAPT
(USNR) Glenn Cook of Gingerly is currently Chairman of the SSA and lives in
Utah. The corresponding English court can be found at . The corresponding Irish Office can
be found at .

Hopefully this hasn't bored anyone too much and I'll be happy to answer
any other questions, point folks to other resources, or assist anyone
interested in petitioning for and matriculating Arms on my personal e-mail
if Linda prefers this discussion go off List. Best of Luck.

Chuck Shaw

COL (USA Ret) Charles H. Shaw, III, CPL
15934 Spyglass Hill Loop
Lake Manassas
Gainesville, VA 20155
Home: 703-753-0549
Cell: 609-405-2511

Charles H. Shaw, III, CPL
Vice President
Metron, Incorporated
11911 Freedom Drive
Tower One, Suite 800
Reston, VA 20910
Work: 703-787-8700, x474
Mobile: 703-835-4553

----- Original Message -----
From: <>
To: "Kevin Patterson" <>;
Sent: Friday, November 10, 2006 11:03 AM
Subject: Re: [S-I] Family Coat of Arms

> Hi Kevin, no, generally we don't discuss it much on this list. If you
> google you'll find a lot. Or visit The reason is
> we do not have them, generally speaking. The Ulster Scots were largely
> farmers and merchants. And ministers. Not gentry. In Scotland it is
> illegal to use arms that are not yours. They do not belong to anyone with
a surname.
> Only to one person. It's not cool to snitch arms or use others.
> For Scottish arms, you need to search on the Internet or ask a Scottish
> list. This list is Ulster centric. So for Scotland, visit
> and find a Scottish list. Scotland is a different cou
> ntry from IReland, so even the arms are different. Or you can start a
> list for amerginious Scots who moved to Ulster <grin>. Or Scots who
> assumed arms in Ulster! I guess the latter would be okay here.
> The descendents of the Ulster gentry do not hang out on this list
> either, with a few exceptions. The families that ascended to the
> gentry who were of Scottish origin generally lost their Scottish
> ethicity and were Irish by the mid to late 1600s. For example, the
> When doing research in Ireland, you tend to use different records when
> tracing gentry than you do when tracing Ulster farmers. For example,
> visitations. Their marriages are more often recorded in Church of
> Ireland records. Their names are more likely to be found in the
> collections in the National Archives where extensive pedigrees were
> copied out of records that were later destroyed in the Four Courts
> fire by genealogists documenting the families of gentry for the
> purpose of coats of arms, titles, etc. Baronettes were sold under
> certain conditions that it was easy to fudge. Also O'Hart's 3 vol work
> on Irish Pedigrees is heavy on the Irish and English/gentry, and
> almost totally devoid of Ulster Scots. Vol
> 3 is full of gentry exiled to Connacht by Cromwell, but as the Ulster
> Scots were not, it's a desert.
> So as we have generally not had arms, arms are not a topic of interest
> here, any more that discussions of vistations, O'Hart's Irish
> Pedigrees, and other books that are your right hand when researching
> amerginious families. I do have one who assumed arms in the USA, for
> no reason other than they wanted them, that I've determined. Their
> pedigree is also unprovable, so far. The line appears in O'Hart, but
> largely due to ties with an English family that lost a title in
> England during the British Civil Wars and got marooned in Ireland for
> a couple generations before bugging off to America where they did very
> well. In their case their arms did get them some nice designs on their
> Linda Merle
> -------------- Original message --------------
> From: "Kevin Patterson" <>
>> Has anyone done any research into their family coat of arms? Are
>> there any good books out there that talk about the coat of arms in
>> general historical terms? Are there books that deal with Scottish and
>> Ulster-Scot history with regard to the coat of arms?
>> I know that my Patterson line came from Aryshire, Scotland to Newry,
>> County Down, Ireland
>> I'm just interested in learning more about the subject.
>> Thank you
>> Kevin Patterson
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