Heraldry in the USA




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Heraldry is a vibrant part of American life. It came to our country with the first European settlers, was used and appreciated by Revolutionary patriots, and continues to flourish today.

In practically any American community, one finds heraldry put to good use. States, counties, and cities use heraldic badges, crests and shields to identify themselves and often incorporate important symbols of their local histories in these designs. Police and fire departments display heraldic arms on vehicles and uniforms. Most colleges have adopted coats of arms, with high schools and elementary schools following suit. Coats of arms are widely used by American religious bodies and their clergy (especially the Roman Catholic and Episcopal churches). In our nation’s capital, heraldry is widely used by government agencies. The armed forces use heraldry to identify bases, troops, missions, aircraft and ships; the U.S. Army maintains an office of heraldry to design and promote heraldry in the services.

Many families use armorial bearings. Some use the arms brought to America by their early ancestors, while others use arms of more recent creation. The enthusiasm for heraldry among American is so high that many businesses have sprung up to sell “surname” coats of arms to thousands of Americans each year. Unfortunately, in the vast majority of cases customers have no direct ancestral connection to the owners of the arms and are buying someone else's property -- just as if they purchased someone else's ancestry.

The American Heraldry Society was founded to study and promote the proper use of heraldry in America. The Society seeks to educate the American public about the art and practices related to personal and organizational heraldry.

"The heraldry of America is a terribly inviting, irresistibly tempting subject." The Society’s website and forum are the focal points of member communications. The forum provides a congenial setting for the discussion of American heraldry and the website has a growing collection of articles discussing heraldry and its use in America.

The members of the Society hail from across the United States and around the globe. Anyone who is interested in heraldry may join the Society. Yearly membership dues are $20 for individuals, $30 for families, and $10 for students (individuals who are not more than 25 years old and who are a full-time student at an accredited institution of higher education).

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Page last modified on September 28, 2014, at 12:02 PM