Coats of Arms - A WarningEdit

The following may be of interest to those people who are tempted to have dealings with companies that offer Coats of Arms etc. for sale.

Here is a statement issued some years ago by the American Board for Certification of Genealogists: [1]

"If your male line immigrant ancestor from England was entitled to use a coat of arms, then you have a right under English law to use this same coat of arms. If he had no such right, then neither do you (unless you buy a grant of arms for yourself from the College of Arms). Thus, to establish the right under English (or German, French, Swiss, etc.) law to a coat of arms, it is necessary to prove your uninterrupted male line descent from someone who is legally entitled to use this coat armor. No "heraldry institute" or "heraldic artist" can look up a surname and provide the correct arms for you without first proving your descent. If they say they can do so, then they are guilty of fraud."

There is nothing to stop you from buying a coat of arms and use it to 'decorate' your on-line group etc. However, you cannot claim it as your own unless you can prove, conclusively, that you have direct descent to the family those arms represent.

In other words, you cannot put them on official documents etc. and claim that you are the Earl of 'whatever' without that proof. Just because you share the same surname is not proof enough.

Within my own name, I know of 3 Molyneux families with their own arms, the most well known being the Earls of Sefton. You will not believe the number of times I have to tell my fellow Molyneuxs, that just because they share the same surname as the Earl, does not mean that they can claim direct descent and use his arms without proof.


  1. Genealogy Today Article - Coats of Arms
  2. Genealogy Today Article - Fraud

See Also:Edit

Coat of arms

Molyfar 08:08, December 11, 2010 (UTC)

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