Public Register of Arms
Public Register of Arms
What is the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland?
The Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland contains all recordings of Coats of Arms in Scotland from 1672 to the present day and it is added to daily. Coats of Arms cannot be used legally in Scotland unless they are recorded in that Register. The Register is maintained by the Court of the Lord Lyon, the office responsible for heraldic matters in Scotland.
The Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland is a register of legally held Arms although some entries can contain a considerable amount of genealogical material. In general the early recordings contain little genealogical detail although by the mid 19th century many contain an individual's descent from his grandfather, even when it is a new Coat of Arms which is being granted and there is no need to prove a link to a forebear who had a Coat of Arms. The amount of genealogical information contained in entries varies from a mere recitation of the name of the petitioner through a narration of two or three generations to a fuller record of ancestry when it is necessary to link one person with an ancestor living in a earlier century.
Coats of Arms
For recordings between 1672 and 1804 there are few pictorial representations of Coats of Arms. The Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland is a legal record of which Coat of Arms is borne by which person and the verbal description, included in each entry, is the relevant feature for this recording process and remains to the present day the way in which a Coat of Arms is registered. From 1804 most entries in the Register are accompanied by a illumination of the Arms although the text may contain elements which are not painted such as badges or flags. There are gaps in volume one where space was allowed for a peer to record his Arms but he did not come forward within the prescribed period to do so. It is usual for people to have some knowledge of whether an ancestor had a Coat of Arms.
The Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland is thus not a register of genealogical account and the Court of the Lord Lyon has a large collection of family trees, family histories and other genealogical material and questions may be made to that office in writing.
Examples of records relating to a Coat of Arms