Meaning of Symbols. About Irish Surnames. You should be aware that there may be more than one family crest for the same name. For example, the Irish name O'Connor has dozens.
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Many non-Gaelic names were brought into the country especially during the seventeenth century. Kavanagh became Cavanagh and this became Cavanaugh, etc. Still other Irish names may be of Anglo-Norman origin. Articles about Irish Surnames. Irish Surnames Origin Irish names have a number of derivations, including those of native Gaelic, Norman and Anglo origin.
Learn more right here. There are more possible elements that can go into the coat of arms, but many of these are only permitted for nobility or granted to knights. We will stick to covering the basic elements for now. In the diagram below, you can see where the various elements are located. We will describe them one by one. If you are considering creating a crest of your own, be thinking about what you would choose for each element. Be creative! There is no limit to what you can use for the elements! Rather than confusing you with links in the text, I will provide all links at the bottom so that you can check out some examples of the various elements that we will cover.
The elements for which you can find a link will be in bold face in the text. Not all the elements are present on all crests. Rather, the crest is designed, using the elements most useful to the individual, country, city or family that it represents. Some are always, or most always present, such as the shield itself obviously , and the crest. Looking at number 1 on the illustration, you will see that it's pointed to the design on the shield shields can come in a variety of shapes , but this is one of the most common.
This is the more narrowly defined "coat of arms" of your crest. The coat of arms on the shield has many potential elements that can go into its design. Things to consider are color, or "tincture" each color signifies something , divisions of the "field" or background, lines of division, ordinaries and sub-ordinaries, furs, and more.
You will find examples of many of these elements on the coat of arms in the links section below. Number 2 points to the ordinary, which is part of the coat of arms. There are many possible ordinaries , or geometric shapes and bands that divide the shield into segments. The ordinary that you choose will depend in part on what other elements you want to appear on the shield. Or, you can choose not to use an ordinary at all, and just have your symbols on the shield as your design. Number 3 indicates the charge , which in this case is set on the ordinary.
Charges are any symbol that is represented on the shield itself. Charges can be any object, but are most commonly things such as humans, animals, fish, birds, mythical creatures, elements of nature, crosses or an implement, such as the sword you see here. A link I have provided below is very informative, in that it gives the traditional meanings for a wide variety of commonly used charges. Many of the items on this list are representations of other symbols that appear with a coat of arms, such as supporters, which we'll discuss in a moment, and the lines of division on a shield.
If you're making your own coat of arms, you'll want to choose a charge or charges that represent you in some way.
For example, you might want to use a bell tower, which signifies integrity, or a boar which means bravery. For a personal touch, you might choose a fountain pen if you're a writer, or tragedy and comedy masks if you are a lover of theater. Number 4 points to the helmet , which is usually placed atop the shield, but can sometimes be a charge on the shield as well.
The style of helmet an individual uses depends upon his rank in the aristocracy. Royalty, for example, are represented by a gold helmet with several bars on the front, and red or blue silk, used to pad the inside of a helmet, will show through the bars. A nobleman will use a helmet of silver, a knight one of steel with an open visor, and a squire or gentleman will have a helmet with a closed visor. As you see, the rules are quite extensive and complex. For your own purposes, you can choose a helmet to your liking, or choose not to use a helmet on your coat of arms at all.
Many coats of arms use crowns or coronets instead of or in addition to a helmet. Number 5 is the "torse " or "crest wreath". It represents a twist of silk or fabric that encircles the top of the helmet. It is usually in two colors, each with its own meaning. You will see examples of the torse in the examples of coats of arms that follow.
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Number 6 is the crest itself. These elements are usually animals, and again, are representative of the owner and carry meaning. A deer signifies harmony, a dog means loyalty and an elephant would signify strength. Again, refer to the page I will list at the end of the article for ideas for crests and their meanings. Number 7 - The crest often holds or leans on an object, as in this example.
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These are often weapons, but they can be other things, such as a shepherd's crook, a walking stick, or even a gardening tool. If you're a musician, for example, you could have your crest holding a flute or a guitar! It drapes around the helmet and flows down to the sides of the shield. Number 9 this is your motto! Usually it is printed on a ribbon or scroll, and is written in Latin, but it can be in any language.
Imagine the fun you could have coming up with your own motto! It can go above the whole coat of arms, or below.
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Often times the name of the family is also found either above or below the coat of arms on a scroll or ribbon. There are further elements that can go into a coat of arms, one of which is the supporters, not pictured in the diagram. Supporters are a pair of figures that stand to each side of the shield. As with the other figures and objects, these have meaning and are usually human or, more commonly, animals or mythical creatures. They usually hold or support the shield with their limbs.
So, let us look at an example of a real coat of arms and go over its elements. As you can see, it is quite complex. Notice that it has multiple charges on the shield. Each charge will have its own meaning that pertains to this municipality.
Rather than a helmet, this coat of arms features two crowns, and the mantle is an elaborate robe-like drape. There are supporters to either side of the shield, a bull and what looks like some kind of a winged mythical creature. The purple and gold one is another example. This is the coat of arms of the Canadian town of Pitt Meadows, and was only recently granted.. It is somewhat simpler than the other, using only three main colors, and featuring geometric shapes as its charges, a helmet with a torse and coronet on it, and a feather-like mantel.
The supporters here are herons, which symbolize the rich riverside wildlife of the area. The crest is an eagle, which is meant to honor the Native Americans of the area. The horizontal figures in the charge represent the railway that runs through the town, while the coronet is symbolic of the nearby mountain peaks, visible from this town. There are even sprigs of blueberry and cranberry beneath, which are the town's main agricultural products, and this coat of arms has a motto under those. The wavy bars in the base are representative of two rivers that converge at this location.