Michael F. McCartney;104358 wrote:
We all get the occasional bout of armorial writer’s block; not to worry. A little time is usually therapeutic.
You’ve already got a few useful canting possibilities - two rooks, a wedge (heraldic pile), and the serendipitous wiggin tree in your back yard. You could likely find more if you want (e.g. check out the etymology of "wiggle" or "wiggly" in a good dictionary, though it’s maybe a bit of a stretch).
But you’re not limited to canting arms, or from including non-canting elements in canting arms.
You hopefully have (or will) considered how broadly you want the new arms to pertain - you & immediate family? Your parents, siblings, etc.? Your more extended family (Wiggins cousins)? All descendants of e.g. your immigrant ancestor?
One common (but optional) way to make the arms relevant to your intended armorial family is to include some reference to the wife or mother of the earliest shared Wiggins ancestor, or his old or new world residence, or to his occupation, public or military service, or other distinctive accomplishment or character. It can be especially relevant if it’s something the family already shares pride or identifies with.
One challenge will be to select, adapt or create visual images to express all this; and one paradox is that the more possible design elements you have to work with, the harder it may be to prune it all down to a clean, simple design
We might be able to help with all that, if you’re comfortable sharing the relevant pieces of your family history.
And of course this approach is optional, and the end result will be yours, not ours; but we’d enjoy and appreciate the opportunity to participate.
Yes, there are many possibilities that have been suggested, I appreciate them all. I’ve been keen on the idea of canting arms from the beginning but didn’t have any good ideas of how to do it, but there have been many ideas for it so far that I never would have come up with on my own. Lately I’ve been focusing on the wiggin tree as a cant and have come up with something that seems okay, but I could use some input on it.
The vision I have right now for the arms is to represent my family name, origin and some common link with ancestors throughout the history that I can discover, without having elements that apply to only myself. I think I would try to put that in the crest. A blazon I’m considering that would satisfy these things is Argent, 2 Wigan trees fructed proper, 3 chevronels abased Gules.
The elements would represent a cant on my name, chevrons to represent a history of military service as far back as the revolutionary war, and colors that allude to the nation of origin as far back as I can discover in England. Maybe this isn’t unique enough yet and some adjustments need to be made, but I think this is a decent enough start for my arms that I will call v2.0.
As far as what I would share, the extent of what I’ve discovered was the work of a family historian of another name working on her Wiggins branch. If you’re interested in seeing it, you can find it here:
It seems pretty straightforward through most of it, but possibly becomes a little sketchy in the most distant ancestors, drying up completely with anything beyond 1635. But this is the best information I’ve seen, and I’m not likely to research it myself in the near future, so I’ll take it for what it is. It’s more history of my lineage than I’ve ever gotten from any of my living relatives.
Good start! You have two more subtle allusions that you may not have seen—
your immigrant ancestor was Thomas, which means "twin" & you have twin Wiggin trees;
and your chevronels also suggest wedges, one of the canting charges suggested by another reader earlier.
You might look at the arms of Robert Blackard on our forum Members List which also feature three chevronels below his canting stag Sable (black hart—so no need for black hearts —and the roots of the two trees can sit in the valleys between the interlaced chevronels. Bracing the chevronels should also give more vertical space for the twin trees than stacking the chevronels as in Robert Blackard’s arms, but I could be wrong—haven’t actually drawn the two versions yet.
Whether 0.1.1 bracing the chevronels will be better or worse than 1.0 is a judgment call. In my mind’s eye both seem nice.
And of course others here may have other comments, critiques, of a fewsuggestions!
Looking through Robert Blackard’s design thread again made me start to look at words a bit differently. The way that black hart is phonetically close to Blackard is interesting. Combining words is something I’d not given enough thought to. It may be a bit frustrating, but I think I’m going to explore this for a while.
I’ve not dove into it too deep yet, but one thing that jumped out at me as obvious in retrospect is wagon. Not that I want a wagon train on my arms, it has no meaning for me, but I’m thinking that there may be other possibilities if I keep an eye out and and explore other options. Little red wagon?
I think I’ll look into the Welsh language for something, they have enough W’s and G’s that I may find something that will click into place. Maybe not, but maybe. Or maybe there’s an olde English word that will present itself somehow.
You don’t need a whole wagon, red or not; a wagon wheel would be sufficient if the whole wagon is too much. Same for your wiggin trees—a branch with the distinctive leaf arrangement and a bunch of berries could also work, though with the tree in
your back yard (you should plant another one!) the whole tree(s) might mean more to your family.
Have fun digging through the OED for etymologies!
In Scotland, a "whig" once meant a horse driver. It’s short for "whiggamore", which means the same thing. Maybe a stretch…
Here’s a quick mockup of a design idea. The trees aren’t wiggin trees but it gives an idea of how it might look. Not a big fan of proper, but i suppose I can explore other options later. I just wanted to throw this out for people to chew on. I didn’t put any thought into whether it’s unique or not either.
The trees would be wiggin trees for a pun on Wiggins. The chevron represents my military service, and the ermine represents that I like ermine.
Thoughts? Ideas? Variations?
Welcome back to the design game!
This looks promising! Simple, clean, easy to recognize and remember. I’d be amazed if it infringes any historic or contemporary arms, but I could be wrong.
On a strictly artistic level - no heraldic difference - you might try making the chevron a bit sharper (more pointy) with a bit less space for the ermine - it’s a simple, easily recognizable field pattern so long as the individual spots aren’t too small - the ones in your draft are fine, and losing a few won’t hurt. All to allow for larger trees, to make their distinctive wiggin-ness more visible.
Your symbolism is simple and clean, especially for the ermine!
IIRC there is also a second possible symbolism for the chevron earlier in the thread - something about a wig being a wedge in some language (sorry, I’ve been under the weather) - if you choose to include that in your explanation of the arms. Nothing wrong with wringing multiple meanings from one charge; I have four for the little saltires in mine, of varying importance to me if to no one else, but only cite three most of the time.
Now the standard caveat - if you haven’t already, do a refrigerator test for a month or so before making a final decision. It’s a perfectly nice design, but unless/until your subconscious mind buys in, it’s not really "you."
What do you think about flipping the trees with the ermine? Right now, visually, the ermine stands out more to me than the trees do. But if the trees are supposed to be the cant then I feel it should be the main focus of the design. I would the trees to under the chevron and just make it one large tree (rather than two). I think that could help make it stand out a little more.
Worth considering. You might elevate the chevron to allow a bit more space for the tree.
IlRC the wiggan tree is another name for the Rowan tree. You might Google for Rowan tree to see if there is artwork you could work from.