GEN-MEDIEVAL-L ArchivesArchiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 2000-04 > 0954900009
From: "D. Spencer Hines" <>
Subject: Re: Coats of Arms
Date: Wed, 05 Apr 2000 02:00:09 GMT
I've had similar experiences with many people.
They just want the ruddy Coat of Arms so they can put it on their
gateposts, their glory wall, their swimming pool and their bath towels.
They often become quite angry when told the truth.
D. Spencer Hines
Lux et Veritas et Libertas
"General propositions do not decide concrete cases. The decision will
depend on a judgment or intuition more subtle than any articulate major
premise." ---- Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. [1841-1935] ----
Lochner vs. New York, 198 U.S. 45, 75 
D._Spencer_Hines_TD [at] aya.ballast.yale.edu
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"k1w1k" <> wrote in message
| "Andy" replied to JR:
| >I understand your statement below to be true, however, I would think
| >most folks just want a copy of what the Coat of Arms was for some
| >ancestor, not display it as that individuals(theirs).
| But that's the major point. People who've been misled by commercial
| come-ons (including machines in shopping malls that spit out 'your
| of arms!' when you feed in a bill and a surname) quite widely believe
| that EVERY surname, including their own, 'has' its own heraldic coat.
| KNOW this -- at least a dozen a month come to the facility at which I
| work, saying they want to 'look up THE [Smith, Jones, Brown] coat of
| arms.' Not only isn't there any such thing (singular), *per se*, but
| invariably emerges that they DON'T descend from any individual, so
| surnamed, to whom arms were ever granted -- or if they do, they don't
| know it. If these people actually were asking for the coat of arms of
| definite ancestor to whom arms were definitely granted -- even an
| ancestor in the female line -- I could and would help them; but the
| question they've asked is, as it stands, absolutely meaningless, and
| demands -- unless I feel like 'humoring' them, which I don't (unless
| VERY tired) -- a careful (and tedious) explanation. That, in turn,
| some to believe that I'm either condescending, making mock, or being
| deliberately difficult; they've never heard of the concepts involved,
| may even think I'm making it up. Which leads, as doth day to night,
| aggrieved complaints to the Director. So heraldry's a great big pain
| the ass for all concerned -- especially me.
| Please don't understand me to be taking an attitude of aloof contempt
| toward people who labor under that particular commercially induced
| delusion. They don't know any better, and -- more to the point --
| there's no reason why, given the circumstances, they should be
| to. I'm just frustrated.
| While I'm on the subject ... I have a friend -- Farsi (Iranian) on his
| father's side -- whose surname is "Farzan." He once received a
| computer-generated mailing from a heraldry mill that offered to send
| for $25, "a bound history of the proud SCOTTISH family of Farzan
| [emphasis supplied]," along with "the Farzan coat of arms," and "the
| distinctive tartan of clan Farzan." While we both laughed, mine was
| rather more rueful.
|Re: Coats of Arms by "D. Spencer Hines" <>|