Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Our FAQs are included below. Please do contact us if you have any questions not addressed here or anywhere else on this website.
Question: Which coat of arms do you use once ordered?
Answer: We use the leading ancient sources when creating coats of arms (sometimes called family crests) images. This includes Burke’s General Armory, composed in 1842 by Sir Bernard Burke, King of Arms to Queen Victoria. The updated second edition we use was published in 1884. Fairbairn’s Book of Crests by James Fairbairn is another ancient source, first published in 1859 with updated editions up to 1892. Please note that a ‘crest’ is the smaller image above the helmet on a coat of arms.
For European coats of arms we use Riestap’s Armorial Général by J. B. Riestap, which was first published in 1861. There are many other heraldic sources which we refer to for accuracy and information when creating coats of arms images.
Also, there may be several different coats of arms for a specific surname. Some have upwards of 100, whereas others may only have one or a few or none at all. We should also point out that coats of arms were not granted to a surname but to a person instead. The coats of arms display their particular surname (as originally done for identification purposes). This is why there can be many different coats of arms bearing the same surname. However, it is considered perfectly acceptable to display (but not claim to ‘own’) a coat of arms associated with the same surname you have.
Generally speaking, we use the oldest coat of arms most associated with the surname. You can also specify any particular coat of arms when ordering, if required.
Question: Are the coats of arms images computer-generated?
Answer: The images we create are made on a computer but they are not ‘computer-generated’, neither are any of our surname histories automatically generated. A computer-generated coat of arms normally places the shield, may or may not display a crest (the smaller image above the helmet), the surname and a motto or other text onto the mantling. If any of the content (i.e. shield or crest) is incorrect then every time the image is created you will get the same errors. They are also prone to quality issues.
We manually create our own coats of arms images based on anciently published blazons (full and accurate descriptions) using the leading sources described above. Because we create these manually, we can make sure every one is checked, accurate, and contains no quality issues or errors. Please note that we don’t ‘register‘ or ‘grant‘ coats of arms but we can create existing ancient coats of arms, often from scratch, and normally spanning back many centuries.
Question: Why does the coat of arms image I ordered from you show a black background?
Answer: You may see a black or other coloured background if the transparent .png image is opened in an image viewer on a computer or other device, but there is no black or other coloured background in the actual image and it’s not a fault or problem with the image, it’s just the way they are shown on some devices. This can certainly be changed though. More details can be found on our Downloads page.
Question: Do you have the surname….?
Answer: We are often asked if we have a particular surname (or first name). With so many names in existence it’s always a good idea to check this with us. You can check yourself using our Name Search page. However, not all names can be listed on this website. Many names are spelling variants of others, some sources use phonetic searching and other times we may need to research rare names or name histories not already created.
We have more than a million first names, surnames (including known variants), coats of arms and crests, so we should have the name you’re looking for. If we don’t, we should be able to research this for you at no extra charge. However, please note that we do not provide a research service and there might not be enough information for a surname history, but we can still check this for you.