In the dynamic intersection of family history and modern technology, I embarked on a captivating journey in 2021. My initial motivation was to update our family crest, not just for personal reasons but also as a meaningful symbol of our heritage. However, I faced a challenge—our existing crest was outdated, and its origins were shrouded in mystery.
This quest became an enjoyable project that I had the privilege of working on alongside my father. To begin, I delved into extensive research on our family name and discovered a description of our coat of arms in the 1844 edition of the Encyclopedia of Heraldry. Yet, to my surprise, there was no accompanying visual representation; instead, the description had been documented by an intrepid traveler who had traversed the countryside capturing various family crests.
Here’s what was recorded:
Arms: “Argent, a millrind sable, charged with four estoiles of the field.”
Crest: “An Eagle rising, proper.”
Motto: “Dominus providebit.”
While armed with this description, I lacked the certainty of how accurate or ancient our existing drawing was, as it had been passed down through generations. This led me to enlist the assistance of Dark Design Graphics, a company based in the UK. I was fortunate to collaborate with an incredibly talented artist named Jenn. Similar to my experiences in application development projects, we embarked on a process of iteration, incorporating feedback from my father and other family members.
During this exploration, I discovered that the rules and traditions surrounding coats of arms are far more intricate than I had ever imagined. For an excellent summary on the subject, I recommend visiting this resource: [https://familytreemagazine.com/heraldry/coat-of-arms-history-resources/].
Ultimately, our project took a different turn. Rather than replacing our current coat of arms, we decided to create a new one specifically for our family in the United States. We combined the definition provided in the Encyclopedia with the drawing that had been handed down within our family, amalgamating the best of both worlds into our new design. The collaboration with Jenn proved to be an exhilarating experience, with her residing in a different time zone, eagerly awaiting each morning’s email for the latest design updates.
The culmination of our efforts resulted in a magnificent representation of our family’s identity in the United States. We introduced several modernizations to reflect our present-day values and aspirations. For instance, while the original drawing likely depicted the Sea Eagle more common in that part of the world, we opted to incorporate the American Bald Eagle, a poignant symbol of our American heritage. Additionally, we included the American Flag, paying homage to the numerous family members who have honorably served in the Armed Forces. While we remain immensely proud of our Irish roots, our American identity is equally cherished.
The final product is truly captivating, and we take immense pride in it.
Originally posted on LinkedIn June 26th, 2023
Image credit – Jack McVickar