Quite by chance, I recently made a discovery of a good asset for genealogy that I had previously been unaware of. It is the College of Arms in London, United Kingdom.
From the website of the College of Arms you can read their mission: The College of Arms is the official repository of the coats of arms and pedigrees of English, Welsh, Northern Irish and Commonwealth families and their descendants. Its records also include official copies of the records of Ulster King of Arms the originals of which remain in Dublin. The officers of the College, known as heralds, specialize in genealogical and heraldic work for their respective clients.
Now you may think that heraldry is no more than a pretty design (as I did), but it is far more and there is more to the assets available at the College of Arms than this!
In speaking with a Herald by the name of William Hunt, I learned that if you have a Coat of Arms in the family or a Knight, there just might be some excellent genealogy information available to you from the College of Arms.
In my personal case, I have recently discovered that I have a Knight in our Phillipps family tree. Sir Jonathan Phillipps. I have happened upon quite a bit of information on Sir Jonathan, but not the Coat of Arms. So I did some research on heraldry and discovered the College of Arms.
They offer a quite lovely e-newsletter as well! You can see a copy of the newsletter here and you can subscibe to the newsletter here. A wondeful feature of the newsletter for genealogists and for family history is that they list, in each issue, any new family peidgrees that have been submitted to the College! A wonderful opportunity!
So back to Herald William Hunt. In my discussions, I was informed that after some preliminary research, Herald Hunt was able to tell me that: yes, there was a Coat of Arms for Sir Jonathan Phillipps! That there was also a Royal License petition and grant for a cousin to assume the name of Phillipps and continue to use that Coat of Arms, and he gave me the blazon of Sir Jonathan’s Coat of Arms and Crest.
The blazon is described as follows:
“The Arms that were duly recorded in the College of Arms on 18 January 1799 (Grants 20.265) are blazoned as follows:
Arms: Or a Lion rampant Sable collar and chain Gold supporting between the paws an Escutcheon Gules charged with a Bucks head couped Or
Crest: Upon a Helm with a Wreath Or and Sable A Lion passant tail extended Sable supporting with the dexter forepaw a Shield Argent charged with a Chevron engrailed Sable.
Motto: RENOVATO NOMINE”
Now I imagine the next thing you might be thinking is ‘where is a picture?’
In spite of the volume of coats of arms that appear all over the internet, are for sale, and purport to be a coat of arms for a surname, it is not true.
Herald Hunt informed me that they do not allow photos of Coats of Arms, imaging, etc, but the ONLY way to get a real copy of your Coat of Arms is by having an approved artist come to the College of Arms and paint one! So I shall be having that done and will report in on that.
So while some of the Coats of Arms might be cute and nice on the internet, they are not accurate nor are the surname general. So just beware if you buy one what you are buying. It might be something nice. It might be something pretty. It very well will be something inaccurate.The Coat of Arms is for a person, not an entire surename. It is for direct descendants, not just anyone in the tree. For instance no other Phillipps can lay claim to the use of Sir Jonathan’s Coat of Arms than his direct line. It is not a ‘clan’ Coat of Arms. They just aren’t!
Then I was treated to the best part of my conversations with Herald Hunt. He said to me that they had just done some more research on Sir Jonathan Phillipps and might I be interested in a 5 generation pedigree done in 1799?
Gee, do you think I might? OH YES!
I strongly suggest you check out the College of Arms.
There might be a Coat of Arms for some person in your family or there might be a pedigree available that will help you out!
It can be a great resource and for me they are providing nothing be stellar service and assistance!
Onward To Our Past,