Find the meaning of your surname:

Does my family surname have its own specific coat of arms?

We are often asked by customers if they have their own family coat of arms.  They also ask if our surname histories relate to their own specific branch of the family name.

It helps us to understand the basics of how we create heraldry for individuals. The following is a brief guide to help you.

Family Coats of Arms

These belong to specific individuals and families, and there is not a generic coat of arms relating to all people sharing the same family name. The heraldry featured on our surname history prints relates to the earliest known bearer of the name that our research team could find, and it is for general interest and artwork purposes.

Is it possible to get my own specific coat of arms?

In some cases, this is possible. Hall of Names are not involved in this aspect of heraldry as we only provide replicas of the earliest family Coats of Arms relating to a bearer of the name. People wishing to apply for a coat of arms must do so through the College of Arms, and there is a charge made. If you have a specific coat of arms that you would like to have recreated, like the bespoke shield below, then please do contact us on 01984 632120 with your specific requirements. We can discuss the specifics of your commission.


bespoke coat of arms shield

bespoke coat of arms shield


How do I apply?

The first step is to petition the Earl Marshal. Although there is no specific list of criteria to fulfil you may take achievements such as military awards, professional qualifications, charitable works and more iinto account. You normally have to include a CV with your petition.


Can anyone else petition for a coat of arms?

Charities and not-for-profit organisations can petition for a coat of arms, as can companies. (Tesco, for example has its own Coat of Arms)


How do you design a family coat of arms?

The ‘Kings of Arms’ have discretion over the design aspect of the Coat of Arms, liaising with the petitioner to decide on the most suitable artwork, and what the petitioner would like to reflect in the Coat of Arms. That could be a particular achievement, a character trait, a reference to a family.  Or maybe a location or an aspect of the petitioner’s history for example.



Do Coats of Arms have deeper meanings?

Heraldry is imbued with rich symbolism (some of which is described in our Dictionary of Heraldry). The person designing the Coat of Arms will have a detailed knowledge of this heraldic symbolism and will be able to advise.


Can the same Coat of Arms look different?

The description of a Coat of Arms is known as the ‘Blazon’. This gives a description of the coat of arms in detail. This may represent in a variety of artistic styles, but as long we follow the description of the Coat of Arms, then artistic styles can mean that the overall appearance may vary. You might find our blog posts about colours in heraldry and artistic interpretation in heraldry useful.

Surname History

Our family coat of arms and surname history prints feature the earliest known Coat of Arms relating to a bearer of the name. They also contain 1800-2000 words, relating to the family surname. Rather than being a specific family history that relates to a single branch of a family. Each print provides a fascinating name history of a generic nature.


coat of arms personalised prints

coat of arms personalised prints



What sort of information do you include in the Surname History print?

The information includes intriguing facts and details such as the early movements of bearers of the surname, spelling variations, migration to the New World.  It also includes any notables of the name. In addition, our researchers discover convicts sent to Australia or survivors of the Titanic!


Is it easy to start building a family tree?

Of course, there are masses of information available for the would-be genealogist. Furthermore, you might find our blog on getting started helpful.

We hope this article has been a useful guide for you. Have you discovered any interesting symbolism in a specific Coat of Arms belonging to a member of your family? Let us know about it by posting a comment!

You can also find out if we have the coat of arms and surname history for the name you are interested in here.

Share and Enjoy !

Copyrighted Image