Genealogy Wise

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Please refrain from promoting so-called Family Crests and Coats of Arms. The misuse of heraldry has hurt genealogists for decades. The notion that a family has rights or any real connections to one is foolish, especially for American families. The related creation of “heritage books” is still a scam online. Many are based on stolen genealogical pedigrees, often supplemented by names from random telephone directories. The reputation of the community of genealogists has also been damaged by those who pursue elitism.

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Hey, someone is playing my tune! I have been banging on about false Crests and Coats of Arms for years. Unless, such things have been granted by the Heralds, then they are total make believe. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a fool, and ignorant as to how such things are issued. I agree, do not promote them for any reason.
Yet GenyWise has asked for anyone who can acquire large sets of Coats to use as images!
We they would cease & desist.

This is just one more point in the current quantity vs. quantity fee scheme debate on GW.
Amen to this. It has really got a lot of people confused about their own families.
Here ! Here! the desire to use them or use of them usually stems from ignorance or lack of confidence :-)

There are far too many ineligible and unauthorized Coats of Arms here. This is what they should llook like, if they want to use a form of a crest for an image.
In other words, they are nonsense.
I'm not sure what your intent is in this graphic, this is one form of shield that was used, in some renderings mostly on the continent. The illustrations use different lines to denote colors, when painting or other application of color wasn't possible. The text is virtually illegible, and unintelligible. How could this possibly be a preferred representation. As long as the blazoning (description of the markings) is accurate, its up to the heraldic artist how that shields image is portrayed, no two artists renderings are alike, even when illustrating the same arms. This is a fact accepted throughout the world of heraldry. Of course the primary features and tinctures have some general rules that must be adhered too, but there is great latitude in the illustration itself. And there are a multitude of books published from the rolls of battles and other sources that enumerate the blazoning of a given individuals arms. I don't see anything special about this illustration that would make it prefered over many many more attractive methods that are just as accurate.
Correct - it is European. If you are one of the rare few who are entitled to heraldic titles, then you and your posterity can be proud.

The intent of the clearly damaged illustration is to persuade GenyWise to stop calling for a commercial site of Coats and Crests so they won't encourage their false use for surname sites here.
Truly, I'm not trying to be difficult. I think we agree in most regards. I don't think there needs to be another website hawking generic family crests or coats of arms, in that regard I would support you in this thread. I also disapprove of people claiming the rights to use a coat of arms that is not clearly granted them by a heraldic authority, and would actively oppose any site that encouraged such use. If that is the point of this thread, what else can I do to help.

I don't have the rights to use any particular coat of arms, like most Americans, and I don't use them in any of my American ancestors profiles. However, if someone can 'jump the pond' with their history, or if a rightful descendant immigrated himself, I have no problem with someone using an accurate coat of arms, credited to the proper family or individual, to tag a particular branch of a family that was entitled to use the arms. I think this use is only to illustrate relationship of the line, and isn't an attempt to claim rights to use the blazon improperly. As time goes on many of the line will have developed arms of their own that will differ from the original, but until those are discovered and credited to the proper person, I think its an acceptable use, in a personal genealogy, indicating a line of descent, not the rights to the use of the arms themselves.

I'm sorry if I've seemed aggressive in this thread, but I read it as an attack on people who have used coats of arms in the profiles as well as the wholesale distribution provided by the family crest companies.
I agree with your comments when it comes to Coats of Arms. As you know a Coat of Arms belongs to the individual who has had it matriculated.

However, in Scottish heraldry a family crest is another matter. As a MacGillivray I am permitted to display the Chief's Crest as long as it is encircled by a belt and that is what I have shown on my profile.

Yes, you are one of the very lucky few in an exclusive band of brothers.
Most Americans cannot trace lines to an authentic Crest, and when they try it is usually inaccurate. Most, when they 'jump the pond' in colonial research, have no valid documentation of their pedigree.
My internal response was similar when I saw that. I didn't publicly comment, as I didn't want to offend, but now that it's been brought up I will add my voice of support.
I guess I need to chime in. I must agree that the uncontrolled / uneducated use of Coats of Arms, and particularly 'Family' Crests is a problem. Generally for the reasons discussed in the posts so far. Most Coats of Arms are registered for an individual, most Americans have no right to claim a Coat of Arms, we are generally descended from a class of individuals in Europe who would never have been entitled to bear such arms, Virtually all of the "Family Crest" businesses are sham's promoting the improper use of arms that, as has been said, are often in error, or just plain bogus. Most users displaying coats of arms have no knowledge or care about Heraldry.... But having said that, there are thousands of accurate coats of arms for individuals, that are identify in ancient rolls, displayed in church windows, and other sources that have been identified with the proper individuals, and when identified for that specific individual, have a full and proper place in genealogical research. When properly used and studied, they provide wonderful insights into the generations and links between families. Many of the ancient families were granted arms that where inherited through the male line, and sometimes although rarely through the females of the line. When a husband married such a family, the wife's families arms were often adopted by the man, or incorporated into his own, as a new line of arms quartering, and re quartering the original family arms into a graphic display of the history of his branch of the family and the families with which that line was associated. The study of Heraldry has always been a branch of the study of genealogy, and very rightly so. The problem is not the study and use of heraldry, Its the individuals who pursue the use of such symbols without the proper study, and understanding of the art.........I for one would approach these individuals with the intent to educate and foster greater understanding, not simply disavow their right to use the symbols. After all, it is the pride of their ancestry they are attempting to display, which is a wonderful thing. I don't have too much of a problem with individuals displaying an ancient coat of arms or crest that was rightfully associated with an ancestor of the line, most are only using the graphic to illustrate that ancestral connection, I would agree that those individuals who take it a step beyond and claim the right to use it as their own should be properly thrashed.



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