Celtic Culture



Family Crests

Coat of Arms

 The family crest is a fantastic way in which we can celebrate our family name and in addition, it forms an historical reminder and can give you and your children, a great feeling of family unity honesty and loyalty.

I believe that when we look at our family name and its story, it gives us a sense of where we are from and the journeys our families have made. This puts us in a position to be able to enjoy the fruits of their visions.

In schools everywhere the family crest has been used as a project for children to better understand the workings of their families. It gives them a feeling for the importance of the family unit, of which they are a significant and active part. I believe that when we perform our ancestry's family search, looking at our family name and its story, it gives us a sense of where we are from and the journeys our families have made. This puts us in a postion to be able to enjoy the fruits of their visions.

What crest do I use ?

There can be many different styles of crests in your family for example, you may be in a position to create your own crest that is more suited to your mix of family names. Or you may even have one, two or more different family crests within your immediate family.

The big question of course is what King, Queen or Knight were you connected to. This does not mean related to as in a family tree. It is more a connection to the history of the name. However, if your child creates your own, in a scrapbook format for example, then that would be a family relation and well worth the time spent together.

In my case on my mothers side, a quick look at history tells me I am connected to one of the great Kings of England - Cornwell but of Irish ancestory. On my step-fathers side he is also of Irish heritage. However, my name is different to these so my personal name Domeck, goes back to Greece. You can see the family crest from my stepfathers side of the family above - the Morrison Clan.

The truth is that we are all in some way connected to these glorious times of romance and heraldry either by mother farther grandmother or grandfather, so there is plenty for you and your family to investigate.  

How would I use my Family Crest ?

Before we look at the history behind the family crest below lets take a peek at the many varied ways people show their kinship with the past and what their family name means. Some examples would be as follows:

  • Framed family crest for the wall
  • An insignia on clothing,
  • Ceramic tiling for their home,
  • Hand Painted Plaques,
  • Mouse mats for the computer,
  • Mugs and plates,
  • In jewelry - seal rings especially.

A bit of background history

Family crests with the addition of the shield of Arms, became common in the early 12th century. Some say the emblems were used long before the time of William the conqueror in Europe and it was he that brought the idea with him to the Britons.

On or around the 12th century the common form of attack in battle was a cavalry charge using the heavy horse and Knights with lance and shield. Once the enemies lines had been broken the knights would then enter hand to hand combat. It is said by some that this is why the emblem was required due to the fact, knights could then be identified by their colours and markings.

The tournament, known as the "joust", is said to have been started by the French and then progressed to many parts of Europe including Britain and Ireland. Similar to that of the battle above, the knights who participated were identified by their coat of arms.

We have all seen the films of the black knight with the crest on the top of his helmet. The shield was marked with the ruling families, what is known as, "Shield of Arms". The combination of the two is what created the modern family crest.

The family crest was used as an indentation marker in the wax of important documents and as an ink stamp for documentary agreements. It was therefore of great significance in our historical records.

The film the "Prince and the Pauper" shows two identical boys playing the part of the prince, the only way the true Prince can prove his identity is by showing that he is in possession of the royal seal. This I believe shows the importance our ancestors gave to the protection of the family crest.

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