Where do we get our information?
On the back of every print is a bibliography which includes some of the sources we use for creating the surname histories. We use all sorts of early records including, tax records, census records, and sources such as the Domesday Book. The team has been researching names and their earliest associated coats of arms for more than 40 years!
Where do the Coats of Arms come from?
Arms are granted to individuals and we do not we do not grant them to our customers (see our blog post ‘Does my family name have a coat of arms?’). The coat of arms we have on record for each surname is the earliest one we can find for that name at the College of Arms which has been registering Coats of Arms since 1484.
The COA is different to one I’ve seen before/one I have?
This is quite possible and is also fairly common. Most surnames will have more than one coat of arms associated with it. A coat of arms was passed from father to son, and it would have to be ‘differenced’ (or changed) to distinguish it from previous coats of arms. Whilst you may have seen a different coat of arms, it doesn’t mean that either is incorrect, it just means they have been registered to different people at different points in time. The Coat of Arms we have on our records is the oldest one for the name, registered at the College of Arms.
Does every name have a Coat of Arms?
Not every name has a coat of arms. However, coats of arms have been registered at the College of Arms since 1484, therefore it’s likely that most names will have a coat of arms registered in the years since.
Why is there no motto on my Coat of Arms?
Mottoes were optional components of Coats of Arms. Also, before 1600 coats of arms didn’t really have mottoes. In general, if there is no motto it is likely that the coat of arms was registered pre-1600.
So, is this my Family Tree?
No, this is not your family tree. It is a history of your surname. Instead of tracing your family tree back, we work forwards from the earliest records that can be found with your name. For example, a lot of names were registered in the Domesday Book, the earliest Census records of 1086.
Why don’t you have my name?
We have more than a million surnames on our database. Although that sounds like a lot, we haven’t yet researched them all! There is still much more research to be done. Every name that is ‘not found’ gets added to the system and we send this information back to the researchers. We get updates once a year, so keep trying as we will get there eventually!