Heraldry

wappenaumannJohann Georg Aumann, who was born in Hanau, Germany in 1653 and died in Babenhausen, Germany as Lord Major in 1728 (ref. Genealogy), sealed in the year 1698, along with other persons, a testament with his coat of arms.

His coat of arms can be found on several other documents leading up to the year 1712. He herewith established a common symbol for the previous generations and the descendants to follow which enables them for the future to maintain strong family ties.

General Information

Whenever we research the history of the people of the old world, we encounter coats of arms which have been found on historical walls, stained glass windows, portals, grave stones, in the history of cities and counties and Exlibris of old books and family chronicles. They demonstrate a necessity far into the Medieval Ages for symbols used to distinguish one person from another, demonstrate their family ties and establish their unmistakable identity.

The peak of heraldry took place in the 11th and 12th century. It is probably based on the fact that the fighting knights had to protect their entire body with a suit of armor thus making them unrecognizable to their friends or enemies. For identification, colorful symbols were painted on shields and other parts of their suits, thus creating the Coat of Arms.

ritterDuring the historical evolution of knighthood and their tournaments, heralds oversaw the rightful bearing of the coat of arms. They began with the registration of the arms, established rules for the symbols used and developed their own terminology which is reflected in the books that were kept on the tournaments. These books are still in existence today.

Great masters like Albrecht Duerer and others were instrumental in taking the coat of arms of the burghers to the highest level. Evidence exists that at the beginning of the 13th century clergymen, peasants and commoners also possessed a coat of arms.

heroldeBusiness agreements and commercial trades were secured by sealing
them with a coat of arms crest not only by members of royalty but common citizens and peasants as well. The coat of arms became the identification mark of a person, a family or the Lords and their domain.
During the French Revolution heraldry experienced a downfall but was quickly revived during the second half of the 19th century.

 

 

- Who is allowed to bear a coat of arms?
- Legal possession
- Protection

An existing coat of arms may only be held by a person who can prove that he is a descendant of a male line which originally created or possessed a coat of arms. Women may bear the coat of arms of their fathers or husbands or both.
Bearing the same name as a coat of arms family does not entitle that person to possess this particular coat of arms (ref. Dr. Andreas Kalckhoff, Heraldry of nine centuries).

In order to identify a coat of arms by family name or trade name or trade symbol, German law established a basic rule. Each symbol must differentiate itself greatly from an existing coat of arms. In the event that 2 persons possess an identical coat of arms, a dispute will arise and the rightful bearer is the person who can proof the earliest existence of the coat of arms.
Proper registration of the coat of arms in the "Wappenrolle" is used as proof of rightful ownership.