Olde English Genealogy: What Does Heraldry Mean?

Heraldry refers to the symbol a chieftain or lord used to identify his fiefdom. This symbol was displayed in a banner, on his coat, on his soldier’s coats and on their armament. This is where the expression “coat of arms” originated. During these medieval ages, they called a messenger a “herald.” Because messengers wore their lord’s symbol on their coats and probably on their horse’s saddle and maybe carried a small banner with their insignia, the castle guards would look down and recognize the herald’s symbol. When there was a marriage between families, each having their own coat of arms, they were combined.

The use of a coat of arms began with the era of William the Conqueror. Although William was of Viking descent (a man from the north, a Norman) he had settled in northern France (Normandy) so you’ll se a lot of French words in coats of arms and in their mottos. Viking, French, English… genealogy is not so simple.  Suellen Ocean is the author of the historic novel The Celtic Prince Available here:


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Suellen Ocean

With a Bachelor of Arts degree from Sonoma State University, Suellen Ocean does her writing from the hills of Northern California. She began writing professionally for print and radio broadcasting in the late 1980's. Her first self-published book led to her becoming "officially" published, when in 1998 she was asked to participate in the anthology, "The Simple Life" through Berkley Books, New York. She is the author of sixteen books on diverse subjects.

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