15 August 2012

FAMILY COAT-OF-ARMS MYTH

Few people who use a coat-of-arms and/or so-called family crest today have any right to do so. Armorial bearings do not belong to all persons of a given surname but belong to and identify members of one particular family who has the legal right to the coat-of-arms.

It is a popular misconception that there is a coat-of-arms for each surname and that everyone bearing that surname is entitled to use those arms. Nothing could be further from the truth. To lay claim to an existing authentic coat-of-arms by inheritance, one must be able to prove direct lineal descent from an ancestor known to have lawfully borne those arms. The applicant's place in the line of descent is also of great importance. A mere similarity in surname is totally irrelevant and even kinship, as opposed to descent, does not give one any claim to a specific coat-of-arms.

Coats-of-arms are a form of property and may rightfully be used only by the male-line descendants of the individual to whom they were first granted or allowed. Such grants were and are made by the appropriate heraldic authority.

Coats-of-arms were used by knights and the nobility. In some countries coats-of-arms were used by bishops, cities and merchants. These were granted to an individual or to the city.

Unfortunately, over the centuries, many families have simply assumed arms and/or crests belonging to other families of the same name, usually without authority and without demonstrating any relationship between the families. This is especially true in South Africa. Mere usage of a coat-of-arms, even over a long period, does not necessarily indicate a descent from the family for whom it was first granted. More often than not, there is no such connection. Even in the days when a tax was levied on the use of armorial bearings, those paying the tax by no means always had an established right to arms.

The erroneous and widespread practice of adopting the arms of a family of the same surname is to be deplored. It detracts from the basic purpose of coats-of-arms and/or crests, which is to provide hereditary symbols by which particular families may be identified.

Grants of new arms have been made to applicants, on payment of fees, since the 15th century. The practice continues to this day.

Many people like to purchase gifts that are supposedly their family coat-of-arms. There is only one problem: they are bogus! In many shopping malls, you will see vendors selling reproductions of coats-of-arms. Similar "businesses" exist on the Web.

The study of coats-of-arms is called heraldry. Those who control the issuance of arms are heralds. Typically, each country in Western Europe as well as in England, Scotland, Ireland, and South Africa, has an office of the Heralds. The Heralds are empowered to decide who is authorized to display a certain coat-of-arms. If you do not have authorization from the Heralds, you are not authorized to display any coat-of-arms. The rules are a bit different in the Netherlands and in some eastern European countries. The United States of America does not have an office of heralds, although the American College of Heraldry will register a coat-of-arms for individuals or businesses.

In South Africa, as in the British Isles, Europe and elsewhere, nobody may usurp someone else's arms as their own. Those who cannot prove their claim to ancestral arms are free to apply for the registration of new arms in their name, if they so wish. Arms so registered are protected by the full force of the law.

Application for registration of arms can be made in terms of the provision of section 7(1) of the Heraldry Act, 1962. Sections 7(5) and 7(6) of the Act further provides for the registration of arms for descendants (including adopted children).

The public should thus be wary of offers to provide them with their "family coat-of-arms" - inevitably reproduced from some heraldic article or publication, but without any proof whatsoever that the person to whom the offer is made is a direct descendant of any person who might have borne those arms, or indeed that they are even remotely related.

In terms of section 23(a) of the Heraldry Act, it is an offence in South Africa for any person to furnish a "family coat-of-arms", unless the supplier has been able to satisfy the State Herald as to the authenticity of the arms in question and is in possession of a certificate to this effect, issued by the State Herald. This provision became necessary in order to protect gullible members of the public from the activities of unscrupulous hawkers who offer “family” coats-of-arms in computer-generated or other forms.

There is no such thing as a "family coat-of-arms." A coat-of-arms is issued to one person, not to a family. After that person is deceased, his primary heir (normally the oldest son) may apply for the same coat-of-arms. Again, when he dies, his heir may apply. The rules for determining who is eligible to display a coat-of-arms are very similar to the rules for becoming King or Queen of England. However, even the proper heir cannot display the coat-of-arms until he or she has received authorization (been confirmed) by the Heralds. At any one time, only one person may rightfully display a coat-of-arms. The next time someone offers a copy of your "family's coat-of-arms," ask them for the official documentation.

If you still insist on using a coat-of-arms that does not belong to you, the following have photos:

http://www.oocities.org/hugenoteblad/fam-wapens.htm

http://webspace.webring.com/people/ph/huguenot/lys

"Die Groot Afrikaanse Familienaamboek" by C. Pama, 1983, Human and Rousseau Uitgewers - It has more than 3000 South African families listed, approximately 450 "family crests and coats-of-arms", and 350 signatures of early ancestors.

Please do not ask me to research or send you your "coat-of-arms".

02 August 2012

SURNAME LISTINGS UPDATED

The surname listings here were updated on 13 May 2013. There are now 3741 surnames listed.

Please note that this blog is a reference blog only - listing surnames, and information on sources and methods. For my articles on South African history, families and places, see Bygones and Byways and Routes and Roots.

24 June 2012

SOUTH AFRICAN GUIDE BOOK FOR FAMILY HISTORY RESEARCH

Over my 29 years of family history research I have come across many resources, sometimes well-known, sometimes obscure. Keeping track of all these resources can be quite a task on its own. I have now reached the stage where I am busy writing a book on South African resources for family history research. The current draft has over 4000 pages, and obviously needs a lot of editing to produce what I hope will be the definite guide book to South African research. Once ready, I will announce it here.

27 April 2010

SOUTH AFRICAN SURNAMES - Z

PLEASE NOTE: This is ONLY a listing of who is interested in which South African families. I maintain the list. You e-mail me the surnames you are interested in, and I send you the e-mail address(es) of the person(s) who are researching these surnames for their own family history. You contact them to see if you share the same families, and if you do, you share your information with each other. You will not receive your family history all done for you. These are not professional researchers. To get the contact details of the particular surname researcher, please click here to e-mail Anne

To ADD surnames click here to e-mail Anne and list your surnames in the e-mail.

Z
ZAAIMAN
ZAAYMAN / SAAIMAN
ZABOW
ZAGERS
ZANDBERG
ZEEDERBERG
ZEELIE
ZEEMAN
ZEGERS / SEGERS
ZEHMKE
ZEILER
ZELLER
ZERWICK
ZIEDEMAN
ZIEHL
ZIETLOW
ZIETSMAN
ZINN
ZWEIG

SOUTH AFRICAN SURNAMES - Y

PLEASE NOTE: This is ONLY a listing of who is interested in which South African families. I maintain the list. You e-mail me the surnames you are interested in, and I send you the e-mail address(es) of the person(s) who are researching these surnames for their own family history. You contact them to see if you share the same families, and if you do, you share your information with each other. You will not receive your family history all done for you. These are not professional researchers. To get the contact details of the particular surname researcher, please click here to e-mail Anne

To ADD surnames click here to e-mail Anne and list your surnames in the e-mail.

Y
YATES
YEATMAN
YELL
YELVERTON
YONKERS
YOUNG
YZELLE
YZELLE / EYSELL

SOUTH AFRICAN SURNAMES - W

PLEASE NOTE: This is ONLY a listing of who is interested in which South African families. I maintain the list. You e-mail me the surnames you are interested in, and I send you the e-mail address(es) of the person(s) who are researching these surnames for their own family history. You contact them to see if you share the same families, and if you do, you share your information with each other. You will not receive your family history all done for you. These are not professional researchers. To get the contact details of the particular surname researcher, please click here to e-mail Anne

To ADD surnames click here to e-mail Anne and list your surnames in the e-mail.

W
WADE
WADMAN
WAGENAAR
WAGENER
WAGNER
WAHL
WAINWRIGHT
WAIT
WAKEFIELD
WAKEFORD
WALBRUGH
WALDECK / WALDEK
WALDEN
WALDPOT / WALDBOTT
WALKER
WALKERS
WALKEY
WALLACE
WALLER
WALLINGER
WALLIS
WALSH
WALTER
WALTERS
WALTON
WANDRAG
WARD
WARDEN
WARDLE
WARNER
WARNICH
WARREN
WARRINGTON
WARWICK
WASSERALL
WASSERMAN
WASSUNG
WATERFALL
WATERMEYER
WATERS
WATHALL
WATHES
WATLING
WATNEY
WATSON
WATT
WATTLEY
WATTS
WAUGH
WEAKLEY
WEARNE
WEBB
WEBB
WEBBER
WEBBER / PEIRSON-WEBBER
WEBDY
WEBER
WEBSTER
WEDDERBURN
WEDEL
WEDGE
WEEBER
WEEDY
WEEKS
WEESBERG
WEGE
WEGENER
WEHMEYER
WEHR
WEIDEMAN
WEIDEMAN / WYDEMAN / WEIDEMANN
WEILERT
WEINTHAL
WEIR
WELBY-SOLOMON
WELCH
WELCHE
WELDING
WELGEMOED
WELLBELOVED
WELLEN
WELLER
WELLS
WELMAN
WELMAN / WILLEMANS
WELSFORD
WELSH
WENNICK
WENNING
WENTZEL
WEPENER
WEPPENAAR
WERNER / VERNER
WESSELS
WESSON
WESTLAKE
WESTLEY
WESTON
WESTRAAD
WETHERELL
WEWEGE / WEWEJIE
WEYERS
WHALL
WHEATER
WHEELDON
WHEELER
WHEELOCK
WHELAN
WHIBDY
WHILEY
WHILEY / WYLIE
WHIPSTOCK
WHITE
WHITEHEAD
WHITEHORN
WHITELAW
WHITFIELD
WHITLOCK
WHITTAKER
WHITTEL / WHITTLE
WHITTINGTON
WHITTON
WHYBURD
WHYTOCK
WICHMANN
WICKS
WIEDERHOLD
WIEGAND
WIESE
WIESNER / WIESENAAR / WIESSNER
WIFFEN
WIGGETT
WIGGILL
WIID
WILD
WILDING
WILDSMITH / WILESMITH
WILHELM
WILKEN
WILKIN
WILKINSON
WILKSON
WILL
WILLARD
WILLCOCK
WILLCOCKS
WILLEMS
WILLEMSE
WILLIAMS
WILLIAMSON
WILLIS
WILLMERS
WILLMORE
WILLOUGHBY CROSS
WILLS
WILMAN
WILMOT
WILSENACH
WILSON
WILTSHIRE
WINCKLER
WINDELL
WINDER
WINGHAM
WINKELHAUZEN
WINNAAR
WINNICOTT
WINO
WINOGRODSKY
WINSON
WINTER
WINTERBACH
WINTHER
WIPPENAAR
WITCHELL
WITHINSHAW
WITTEBOL
WITTEN
WOCKE
WOLFAARDT
WOLFFERUM
WOLHUTER
WOLSTENCROFT
WOLVAARDT
WOOD
WOODHEAD
WOODHOUSE
WOODLAND
WOODMORE
WOODS
WOODWARD
WOOKEY
WOOLHOUSE
WOOLLEY
WOOLSEY
WOOTTON
WOOTTON / WOTTON / WOOTTEN
WORDON
WORMAN
WORTHINGTON
WORTMANN
WOUDBERG
WRENSCH
WRIGHT
WRIST
WROE
WUCHERPFENNIG
WURDEMANN
WYATT
WYBROW
WYETH
WYLDE
WYLDE-BROWNE
WYNGAARD

SOUTH AFRICAN SURNAMES - V

PLEASE NOTE: This is ONLY a listing of who is interested in which South African families. I maintain the list. You e-mail me the surnames you are interested in, and I send you the e-mail address(es) of the person(s) who are researching these surnames for their own family history. You contact them to see if you share the same families, and if you do, you share your information with each other. You will not receive your family history all done for you. These are not professional researchers. To get the contact details of the particular surname researcher, please click here to e-mail Anne

To ADD surnames click here to e-mail Anne and list your surnames in the e-mail.

V
VAL DAVIES
VALCARCEL
VALENTIN
VALENTINE
VAN AARDE
VAN AARDT
VAN ANTWERP(EN)
VAN ANTWERPEN
VAN AS
VAN AS(S
VAN ASWEGAN
VAN BAALEN
VAN BEULEN
VAN BILJON
VAN BLERCK
VAN BLOMMENSTEIN / BLOMMENSTEIN
VAN BOESCHOTEN
VAN BOVILLON
VAN BREDA
VAN COLLER
VAN COPPENHAGEN
VAN DALEN
VAN DE HAAR
VAN DE PAVOORDT
VAN DE VENTER
VAN DE(R) LINDE
VAN DE(R) MOOSDIJK
VAN DEN BERG
VAN DEN BERGH
VAN DEN BRINK
VAN DEN BURGH
VAN DEN HEEVER
VAN DEN HEUWEL
VAN DER BANK
VAN DER BERG
VAN DER BERGH
VAN DER BIJL
VAN DER BYL
VAN DER GRIJP / GRYP
VAN DER HAM
VAN DER HEAVAL
VAN DER HEEVER
VAN DER HEUVEL
VAN DER HOEVEN
VAN DER HORST
VAN DER HOVEN
VAN DER KLASHORST
VAN DER LINDE
VAN DER LINGEN
VAN DER LITH
VAN DER MERWE
VAN DER MESCHT
VAN DER MEULEN
VAN DER NEST
VAN DER POEL
VAN DER RIET
VAN DER SANDT / VAN ZANDT / VAN ZANDEN
VAN DER SMIT
VAN DER SPUY
VAN DER VEEN
VAN DER VIJVER / VAN DER VYVER
VAN DER VYVER
VAN DER VYWER
VAN DER WAL
VAN DER WALT
VAN DER WATH
VAN DER WATT
VAN DER WEELE
VAN DER WESTERHUYZEN
VAN DER WESTHUIZEN
VAN DER WESTHUYSEN
VAN DEVENTER
VAN DEVENTER / VAN DE VENTER
VAN DIEMEL / DIEMEL
VAN DIJK
VAN DUUREN
VAN DYK
VAN ECK
VAN EDEN
VAN EEDEN
VAN ELLEWEE
VAN EMMENIS
VAN ES
VAN EX / VAN EXT / VAN ECK
VAN EYSSEN
VAN GASS
VAN GEEMS
VAN GRAAN
VAN GREUNEN
VAN HANSEN
VAN HANZ(S)EN
VAN HEERDEN
VAN HELSDINGEN
VAN HELSGINGEN
VAN HOETING
VAN HUYSSTEEN
VAN JAARSVELD
VAN JAARSVELDT
VAN KRAAYENBURG
VAN KRADENBURG
VAN LEEUWEN
VAN LEEVE
VAN LELYVELD
VAN LINGEN - not VAN DER LINGEN
VAN LOCHENBURG / VAN LOCHENBERG
VAN LOGGERENBERG
VAN MAMEREN
VAN NIEKERK
VAN OLDEN
VAN OLLEFEN
VAN ONSELEN
VAN OORDT
VAN OUDSHOORN
VAN REEDE VAN OUDTSHOORN
VAN REENEN
VAN REENEN / VAN RENEN / VANRENEN / VON RHENEN
VAN RENSBURG
VAN RENSBURG / JANSE VAN RENSBURG / JANSEN VAN RENSBURG
VAN RHEDE STRUWEG
VAN RHEEDE VAN OUDTSHOORN
VAN RHYN
VAN ROOY
VAN ROOYEN
VAN ROOYEN / VAN ROOIJEN
VAN SCHALKWYK
VAN SCHALWYK
VAN SCHOOR
VAN SOELEN
VAN STADEN
VAN STADEN / VAN STADE / VAN STAADEN
VAN STANDEN
VAN STRAATEN
VAN STRATEN
VAN STRATEN / VAN DER STRAAT
VAN STRYP / VAN STRIJP
VAN TAAK
VAN TONDER
VAN TROMP
VAN TUBBERGH
VAN VUREN
VAN VUUREN
VAN WIJCK
VAN WINKEL
VAN WYK
VAN WYNGAARDT
VAN WYNGATEN
VAN ZIJL / VAN ZYL
VAN ZWEEL
VAN ZYL
VARRIE
VAUSE
VEAL
VEALE
VEERENS
VEITCH
VELDMANN / VELDTSMAN / VELDSMAN
VELDSMAN
VELS
VENABLES
VENN
VENTER
VERBEEK
VERBURGH
VERDOES
VERGOTTINI
VERHAGE
VERMAAK
VERMAAS
VERMEULEN
VERONI / VERONIE / VERONIQUE
VERRALL
VERRYNE
VERSCHURON
VERSTER
VERSVELD
VERWEY
VERWOERD
VESSEY
VEYSIE
VICE
VICKERS
VICTOR
VIGLIENO
VIGNE
VIKTOR
VILJOEN
VILLET
VINCENT
VINE
VINER
VINES
VINK
VIPPOND
VISAGIE
VISSEN
VISSER
VITOUT
VIVIER
VIVIERS
VIVIERS / VIVIER
VLASKAMP
VLOK
VOCKERODT
VOGEL
VOGES
VOGTS
VOIGHT
VOLBRECHT
VOLKER
VOLSCHENK
VOLTELIN
VON ABO
VON ALLEMANN
VON BACKSTROM
VON BERG
VON BERNHARD
VON BUDDENBROOK
VON DAM
VON DER HEYDEN
VON LELIEVELD / LELIEVELD
VON LUDWIG
VON MOLLENDORFF
VON MOLTKE
VON PUTTKAMMER
VON RHENEN
VON SOLMS MARTIN
VON STADEN
VON WEICHARDT
VON WIELLIGH
VORSTER
VOS
VOSLOO
VOSTER
VREY
VROOM