England and France
Coat Armor and Crest
Regardless of what
you may have heard from the 'kiosk' vendors and the junk mail
purveyors of family crests and coats of arms (from Bath, Ohio,
notably), the right to bear arms and display a crest was
always granted to a single individual, not to a family line.
For an excellent general discussion of the practices in the
16th to 18th centuries, see the write-up online at: Heraldry by Joseph C. Wolf
The right to
display a coat of arms could be 'passed down' from a father
to a son only when the father died and the son applied for
his own privilege. The son would normally be assigned a coat
of arms "differenced" from his father's -- i.e.
with some small but distinctive alteration of features -- to
identify a different individual.
Only the eldest
living son in the male line has the proper right to display
the undifferenced arms as his own. Even the son or grandson
of a rightful heir to the arms should not display them as his
own unless they are "differenced" or distinguished
with the appropriate marks to designate his rank in the
family, and registered with the College of Arms or
similar body. Similarly the eldest son of a second-born man
may never display the undifferenced arms. That right belongs
to his cousin only.
All that said,
several of our family lines run through people who did have
the right to display a coat of arms and a crest. The English
- Tuttell - Tuthill - Tuttle
of Ringstead & New Haven, 1607-1673
John Tuttle or Tuthill
of Devonshire & Boston, 1630s - c1700
of Boston, 1670-1722 (son of John, above)
of Dublin, 1816-1867
of (perhaps) Canterbury, County Kent, England,
father of four Batcheller brothers who emigrated to Massachusetts in the 1630s
and settled in Salem and Wenham.
- Combe - MacCombe - McCombs
Several closely related arms, but I don't know
exactly whose they were or if they fit in my line.
- Crouch - Crowch - Crowche
Two closely related arms, but I haven't found
the family connection (if any).