College of Arms
As well as being responsible for the granting of new coats of arms, the College maintains registers of arms, pedigrees, genealogies, Royal Licences, changes of name, and flags. The heralds, besides having ceremonial duties, advise on all matters relating to the peerage and baronetage, precedence, honours and ceremonial as well as national and community symbols including flags.
Coats of Arms
Coats of arms belong to specific individuals and families and there is no such thing as a coat of arms for a family name. From their origins in the twelfth century to the present day arms have been borne by individuals, and by corporate bodies, as marks of identification. They have also been used to denote other characteristics, which have changed over the centuries as as society and culture have evolved. New coats of arms have since the fifteenth century been granted both to individuals and corporate bodies by the senior heralds in Royal service, the Kings of Arms.
Founded by John Burke in 1826, Burke’s Peerage is the definitive guide to the genealogical history of the Royal families of Europe, the aristocratic and historical families of the British Isles, and the Presidential families of the United States.
There are over one million names in more than 15,000 records including the Royal families of Europe, the peerage and gentry of the United Kingdom, historical families of Ireland, and the distinguished and Presidential families of the United States, as well as many other prominent individuals.
European Hearldry is where you can find out about the traditions of heraldry in France, the UK, Eastern Europe, Central Europe, Italy, Germany and others. The site includes information from the early 17th century to the present day.