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Coats of Arms: Historic Symbols That Are Still Popular Today

While many family traditions and elements of history have fallen by the wayside, there is one practice that is still popular today. Many people are choosing to purchase and display a coat of arms or crest that was used to identify members of a particular family. A traditional form such as a plaque or signet ring is still a very popular choice but other families are opting to embroider their crest onto their clothing or use more modern methods of displaying their family's noble heritage.

The origin of family crests and shields In the past, a family shield was important especially to knights on the battle field. Because it was difficult to recognize an individual knight once he was in full armor, other methods needed to be used so that individuals could tell who they were fighting with and who they were fighting against.

Shields were often decorated with specific patterns and colors that could be used to identify who the knight carrying it was. Each element had specific meaning. The color of the background as well as the color of any decorations could be read by someone knowledgeable in heraldry. They would be able to tell what a family was known for as well as where they may have come from or where they may have fought in the past.

How shields evolved into coats of arms Over time, the decorations on a shield were taken a step further. Other elements were added. Often, there would be a helmet or other item that was placed on top of the shield and there may have been a banner at the bottom that displayed a family's motto. Each element was also governed by a set of rules that required specific conditions to be met before something could be added to a shield or a coat of arms.

Why they are still popular today While people no longer need a way of identifying themselves in battle, family crests and coats of arms are still popular today. A large number of people are becoming interested in their family or genealogical history and a crest or coat of arms is directly related to this. It can be tremendously interesting to read how certain devices and decorations were earned and what a person's ancestors did in order to receive the right to develop a crest or coat of arms.

It is also easier to find information on a family history than it has been in the past. Now, individuals can research their family history and find out more about their ancestors online. They may even be able to find an illustration of their family crest or coat of arms by checking on specific websites.

Choosing to display your family's coat of arms or crest is a great way to continue a tradition that has been around since the twelfth century. It can also be handed down from one generation to the next so that future members of the family are able to feel proud of their ancestors and their accomplishments.