Posts tagged ‘bucket shops’

Bucket shops

It has been mentioned before on this blog that, usually, the arms follow the surname. Most people already know this and is of no surprise.

As a result of this knowledge, many come to the conclusion that if they are named, for example, “Andrews” and they find a coat of arms somewhere attributed to the “Andrews” family, then they can use those arms themselves. However, that is not entirely accurate. Some would even say that it is entirely wrong!

Unless one can prove descent (patrilineal in most heraldic traditions) from the person who bore a specific coat of arms, those arms cannot be used. If one can prove the appropriate descent, then one should use the correct mark of cadency. Finally, if one can prove descent but there aren’t any marks of cadency to show the relationship with this early armigerous ancestor, the new coat of arms must be altered enough so that there is no confusion between the two.

But, just like with everything else, there are people out there that take advantage of this lack of knowledge. You may have run into them at the mall or online after searching for “coat of arms” with your favorite search engine. These enterprises are called “bucket shops” and sell unsuspecting customers a coat of arms belonging to others with the tacit understanding (if not the explicit statement) that the customer is entitled to them.

Though, I should say I’m not condemning all of those selling these coats of arms as they may not know any better themselves.

If you have fallen victim to the erroneous belief that everyone with the same surname are entitled to the same coat of arms, it may make you feel better to know that even Ronald Reagan (before he became President) made the same mistake. This is mentioned in the excellent article on President Reagan’s arms by Joseph McMillan on the American Heraldry Society’s web site.