College of Arms
As well as being responsible for the granting of new coats of arms, the College maintains registers of arms, pedigrees, genealogies, Royal Licences, changes of name, and flags. The heralds, besides having ceremonial duties, advise on all matters relating to the peerage and baronetage, precedence, honours and ceremonial as well as national and community symbols including flags.
Coats of arms belong to specific individuals and families and there is no such thing as a coat of arms for a family name. From their origins in the twelfth century to the present day arms have been borne by individuals, and by corporate bodies, as marks of identification. They have also been used to denote other characteristics, which have changed over the centuries as as society and culture have evolved. New coats of arms have since the fifteenth century been granted both to individuals and corporate bodies by the senior heralds in Royal service, the Kings of Arms.
Fairbairn’s Book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland
A book of family crests and surnames which was printed in 1905 and is available to read online or download.
Founded by John Burke in 1826, Burke’s Peerage is the definitive guide to the genealogical history of the Royal families of Europe, the aristocratic and historical families of the British Isles, and the Presidential families of the United States.
There are over one million names in more than 15,000 records including the Royal families of Europe, the peerage and gentry of the United Kingdom, historical families of Ireland, and the distinguished and Presidential families of the United States, as well as many other prominent individuals.
Is where you can find out about the traditions of heraldry in France, the UK, Eastern Europe, Central Europe, Italy, Germany and others. The site includes information from the early 17th century to the present day.
Coat of Arms Database
Search for your surname to see if it’s listed in the database of over 100,000 records.