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Strange Whims of Crest Fiends: Marketing Heraldry in the United States, 1880–1980

  • FORREST D. PASS (a1)


The display of a “family crest” to signal family identity is prevalent in the contemporary United States. However, during the Gilded Age of the late nineteenth century, many American commentators perceived the widespread use of heraldry by the high bourgeoisie as at best a mark of social pretension and at worst a symptom of an un-American predilection for aristocracy. Over the course of a century, heraldic entrepreneurs sought to broaden the market for family crests, and in doing so Americanized heraldic practice. The early projects of Albert Welles, Frank Allaben and Frances M. Smith linked heraldry with new approaches to genealogical research and encouraged its use by a broad cross section of American society. In the late twentieth century, entrepreneur Gary Halbert sold millions of heraldic mementos that epitomized the modern commodification of history and identity. The result of a century of marketing is an American heraldry that is both more accessible than its European antecedents and less closely tied to verifiable genealogical relationships.



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1 Metta Victoria Fuller Victor, Mrs. Rasher's Curtain Lectures (New York: J. S. Ogilvie and Co., 1884), 1415 .

2 “The Craze for Crests,” Globe (Toronto), 22 Dec. 1883; “Strange Whims of Crest Fiends,” St. Paul Globe (St. Paul, MN), 8 Jan. 1905. Reflecting the usage in my sources, I use the terms “coat of arms” and “family crest” interchangeably. However, to the scholar of heraldry they are not synonyms. “Coat of arms” refers to a distinctive shield, often displayed with other emblems, such as a helmet, a motto, and supporters; together, these emblems constitute an “achievement.” “Crest” denotes an emblem, often an animal, bird, or mythical monster, displayed on top of a helmet. See Fox-Davies, Arthur Charles, A Complete Guide to Heraldry (London: T. C. and E. C. Jack, 1909), 5759 .

3 Akenson, Donald H., Some Family: The Mormons and How Humanity Keeps Track of Itself (Montréal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2007), chapter 5; Michael S. Sweeney, “Ancestors, Avotaynu, Roots: An Inquiry into American Genealogy Discourse,” PhD diss., University of Kansas, 2010; Weil, François, “John Farmer and the Making of American Genealogy,” New England Quarterly, 80, 3 (2007), 208–34; Morgan, Francesca, “A Noble Pursuit? Bourgeois America's Uses of Lineage,” in Beckert, Sven and Rosenbaum, Julia B., eds., The American Bourgeoisie: Distinction and Identity in the Nineteenth Century (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), 135–52; Taylor, Robert M. Jr., “Summoning the Wandering Tribes: Genealogy and Family Reunions in American History,” Journal of Social History, 16, 1 (1982), 2137 ; Lambert, Ronald D., “The Family Historian and Temporal Orientations towards the Ancestral Past,” Time and Society, 5, 2 (1996), 115–43.

4 Lears, T. J. Jackson, No Place of Grace: Antimodernism and the Transformation of American Culture, 1880–1920 (New York: Pantheon, 1981). On nineteenth- and twentieth-century medievalism in the United States and elsewhere, including its implications for heraldry, see Girouard, Mark, The Return to Camelot: Chivalry and the English Gentleman (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981), 40; Cantor, Norman F., Inventing the Middle Ages: The Lives, Works, and Ideas of the Great Medievalists of the Twentieth Century (New York: W. Morrow, 1991), 245–86; Wright, Donald A., “W. D. Lighthall and David Ross McCord: Antimodernism and English-Canadian Imperialism, 1880s–1918,” Journal of Canadian Studies 32, 2 (1997), 134–53, 137; Emery, Elizabeth, “Postcolonial Gothic: The Medievalism of America's ‘National’ Cathedrals,” in Davis, Kathleen and Altschul, Nadia, eds., Medievalisms in the Postcolonial World: The Idea of “The Middle Age” Outside Europe (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009), 237–64.

5 Morgan, Francesca, “Lineage as Capital: Genealogy in Antebellum New England,” New England Quarterly, 83, 2 (2010), 250–82; Weil, François, Family Trees: A History of Genealogy in America (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013), 145; Bishop, Ronald, “‘The Essential Force of the Clan’: Developing a Collecting-Inspired Ideology of Genealogy through Textual Analysis,” Journal of Popular Culture, 38, 6 (2005), 9901010 ; Belk, Russell W., “The Role of Possessions in Constructing and Maintaining a Sense of Past,” Advances in Consumer Research, 17 (1990), 669–76.

6 Tamarkin, Elisa, Anglophilia: Deference, Devotion and Antebullum America (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2008), 69; Morgan, “Lineage as Capital,” 252, 270; Morgan, “A Noble Pursuit?” 136; Weil, Family Trees, 160.

7 For the situation in France see Chassel, Jean-Luc, “De l'armorial général aux marchands de merlettes,” Revue française d'héraldique et de sigillographie, 67–68 (1997–98), 1320 .

8 Yokota, Kariann Akemi, Unbecoming British: How Revolutionary America Became a Postcolonial Nation (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010); Haynes, Sam W., Unfinished Revolution: The Early American Republic in a British World (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010); Bushman, Richard L., The Refinement of America: Persons, Houses, Cities (New York: Knopf, 1992), esp. chapter 12.

9 On class formation and manners see Halttunen, Karen, Confidence Men and Painted Women: A Study of Middle-Class Culture in America, 1830–1870 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982); and Kasson, John F., Rudeness and Civility: Manners in Nineteenth-Century Urban America (New York: Hill and Wang, 1990). On American fascination with aristocracy and monarchy and its relation to celebrity culture see Prochaska, Frank K., The Eagle and the Crown: Americans and the British Monarchy (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008); and Lewis, Charlene M. Boyer, Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte: An American Aristocrat in the Early Republic (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012), esp. chapter 1.

10 Morgan makes a similar point for genealogy as Bushman does for consumer culture more generally: Morgan, “A Noble Pursuit?” 144; Bushman, 420–25.

11 On the prevalence and legitimacy of “free assumption” of arms in continental Europe see Pastoureau, Michel, Traité d'héraldique, 2nd edn (Paris: Picard, 1993), 60, 66, 84. In some eastern European countries, notably Poland, identical coats of arms may be borne by all members of the same herb, or “clan”; see Rowell, S. C., “The Central European Kingdoms,” in Abulafia, David, ed. The New Cambridge Medieval History, Volume V (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 776. In Scotland, members of the same clan may bear a common badge, usually consisting of the crest and motto of the clan chief. However, Scottish coats of arms, as distinct from clan badges, are borne by individuals; see Sir Thomas Innes of Learney, Scots Heraldry, 2nd edn (Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1956), 46.

12 Rex, Cathy, “Indians and Images: The Massachusetts Bay Colony Seal, James Printer, and the Anxiety of Colonial Identity,” American Quarterly, 63, 1 (2011), 6193 ; Sweig, Donald M., “Vert a Colledge: A Study of the Coat-of-Arms and Seals of the College of William and Mary in Virginia,” Virginia Magazine of History & Biography, 84, 2 (1976), 142–65; Bayne, Dom William Wilfrid, “Heraldry in Democratic America,” Coat of Arms, 7, 55 (1963), 283–91; Bayne, “Heraldry in Democratic America, Part II,” Coat of Arms 7, 56 (1963), 325–33; McMillan, Joseph, “American Guild Arms in the Constitutional Processions of 1788,” Coat of Arms, 3rd series, 5, 2 (2009), 6580 .

13 “Heraldry,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, 9 July 1876; “Concerning Heraldry: Mine of Information on an Old and Interesting Subject,” St Louis Globe-Democrat, 20 March 1887; “Heraldry in America: An Important Treatise on a Subject of Much Interest,” Telegraph (Macon, GA), 23 Dec. 1894; “American Coats of Arms,” New York Times, 27 Aug. 1904; “Some Trappings of Aristocracy,” New York Times, 28 Aug. 1909; “Coats of Arms. Researches Made. Blazon Interpreted” (advertisement), The Century: A Popular Quarterly, 50, 6 (1895), n.p.; “Crest, Coats of Arms” … (advertisement), Daily News (Galveston, TX), 5 May 1897; “Family Crests Tattooed on Dogs’ Breasts,” Milwaukee Journal, 12 Sept. 1898; “Eastern Snobbery in New Form,” Ogden Standard-Examiner (Ogden, UT), 6 Dec. 1898; “Crests for Chicagoans,” World (New York), 30 Sept. 1889; “Family Arms of San Francisco People,” San Francisco Call, 19 Jan. 1896; “Armorial Bearings of Milwaukeeans,” Milwaukee Journal, 16 Jan. 1897.

14 Weil, Family Trees, 5–7.

15 Veblen, Thorstein, The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions (London: Unwin Books, 1970), 46; Beckert, Sven, The Monied Metropolis: New York City and the Consolidation of the American Bourgeoisie, 1850–1896 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 89, 261; Sinclair, Upton, The Metropolis (New York: Moffat, Yard and Co., 1908), 76.

16 “Makes Strange Use of Curio,” San Francisco Call, 17 Feb. 1904; Gell, Alfred, Art and Agency: An Anthropological Theory (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), 6, 95; Veblen, 47.

17 “Topics of the Times,” New York Times, 24 Aug. 1911; “Royal Blood in Federal Serfdom,” San Francisco Call, 30 Dec. 1897; “Heraldry at Trinity,” New York Times, 6 May 1897; “His Coat of Arms,” Daily Inter-Ocean (Chicago), 6 Oct. 1891; “President Cleveland …,” Daily News (Galveston, TX), 14 April 1885; “There Is a Manning Crest and Coat of Arms,” Milwaukee Sentinel, 31 Jan. 1886; “Snob's Way,” Chicago Tribune, 8 Nov. 1951.

18 “The Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina, 1669,” Avalon Project: Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy, online at, accessed 19 Jan. 2014; Godfrey, Walter H. with Wagner, Sir Anthony, Survey of London Monograph 16: College of Arms, Queen Victoria Street (London: London Survey Committee, 1963), 246; Congressional Globe, 40th Congress, 2nd Session, 12 Dec. 1867, 158; “Where American Heraldry Is Weak,” New York Times, 23 Sept. 1899; Crozier, William Armstrong, Crozier's General Armory: A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor (New York: Fox, Duffield & Co., 1904), vii; “Coats of Arms: Many Like to Display Them Regardless of the Rules,” New York Tribune Illustrated Supplement, 9 April 1905; “Other Heraldry than English,” New York Times, 21 Oct. 1899; Joseph Fitch, “Where American Heraldry Is Weak,” New York Times, 30 Sept. 1899.

19 “Andrew Carnegie Designs a Coat-of-Arms,” San Francisco Call, 28 Sept. 1905.

20 “Modern Heraldry,” Boston Daily Advertiser, 22 Sept. 1859, emphasis in original.

21 “Heraldry in America,” Daily Champion (Aitchison, KS), 24 Nov. 1887; “Crests for American Snobs,” Salt Lake City Tribune, 27 May 1888; “New Publications: American Coats of Arms,” New York Times, 28 Jan. 1895; “A Herald's College in America,” New York Herald, 11 Oct. 1844; “Heraldry,” Daily National Intelligencer (Washington, DC), 6 March 1846; “Coats-of-Arms $50; Choose Your Own,” New York Times, 25 May 1907; “College of Heralds Wroth over Criticism,” San Francisco Call, 5 May 1901; “Family Trees for All,” New York Times, 23 Aug. 1901; “Mr. Parker's Coat of Arms,” New York Times, 20 Aug. 1904.

22 W., “Heraldry in America,” The Galaxy, 2, 2 (1866), 184–88; Welles, Albert, “Letter to the Editor,” Appleton's, 9, 200 (1873), 125 .

23 Welles, Albert, Address of Albert Welles, President, to the Council of Regents of the American College for Genealogical Registry and Heraldry, at the Society Library, New York (New York: American College for Genealogical Registry and Heraldry, 1879), 10, original emphasis; Cram, Ralph Adams, Church Building: A Study of the Principles of Architecture in Their Relation to the Church (Boston: Small, Maynard & Co., 1906), 227.

24 Welles, Albert, American Family Antiquity, Being an Account of the Origin and Progress of American Families, Traced from Their Progenitors in This Country, Connected with Their History Abroad …, 3 vols. (New York: American College for Genealogical Registry and Heraldry, 1880); George A. Leavitt & Co., Auctioneers, Catalogue of the Library and Manuscript Genealogies of the American College for Genealogical Registry, Family History and Heraldry … The Whole to Be Sold by Auction … Wednesday, June 27th, 1883, and Following Days … (New York: George A. Leavitt & Co., 1883), 27, 33.

25 Welles, Albert, The Pedigree and History of the Washington Family: Derived from Odin, the Founder of Scandinavia, B. C. 70, Involving a Period of Eighteen Centuries, and Including Fifty-Five Generations, down to General George Washington, First President of the United States (New York: American College for Genealogical Registry and Heraldry, 1879).The custom was perpetuated in the late twentieth century by Harold Brooks-Baker, a Washington, DC-born bond trader and self-styled royalty expert whose calculations of the relative royal ancestry of American presidential candidates became a curious recurring feature of election campaign coverage. See Shirley Marlow, “Will Royal Family Tree Sprout a Presidential Bush?” Los Angeles Times, 5 July 1988; “Harold Brooks-Baker” (obituary), Telegraph (London, UK), 8 March 2005.

26 Welles, Albert, American Family Antiquity, Volume II (New York: Society Library, 1881), 191, 236.

27 Waters, H. F., Genealogical Gleanings in England, Volume I (Boston: New-England Historic Genealogical Society, 1889), 300; “Notes,” The Nation, 12 June 1873, 401–2.

28 “A College in One Room: Exposing a Sham in Heraldry,” New York Tribune, 7 Feb. 1881.

29 “No End of the Bon Ton …,” Galveston Daily News, 15 Feb. 1881. See also “A Pretentious Sham,” Toronto World, 7 Feb. 1881.

30 “Caring Little for Genealogies,” New York Times, 28 June 1883.

31 National Archives and Records Administration, United States Census, 1880, Reel T9-0260, Plainfield, IL, 414; “List of Congregational Ministers in North America, Reported by the Several State Organizations,” Congregational Record, new series, 7 (1875), 182; “The Publishers,” New York Times, 15 April 1905; “Frank Allaben Dead: President of National Historical Society Dies of Heart Disease,” New York Times, 16 Feb. 1927.

32 Manuscripts and Archives Division, New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations (hereafter NYPL), Allaben–Washburn Papers, Box 1, “National Historical Society” File 1, Certification of Capital Stock, Frank Allaben Genealogical Company, 8 June 1907; Certificate of Incorporation, National Historical Society, 18 Dec. 1915; “New Peace Movement: Patriotic Organizations Combine with Frank Allaben at Head,” New York Times, 16 May 1915; Colophon, Journal of American History, 9, 1 (1915), unpaginated. A popular history publication founded in 1905 under the editorship of Civil War historian and pioneer film-maker Francis Trevelyan Miller, this Journal of American History was unrelated to the Organization of American Historians’ publication of the same title, first published in 1964.

33 NYPL, Allaben–Washburn Papers, Box 6, National Historical Society Minute Book, 3 April 1920, 221; “Says Public Backs Assembly's Stand,” New York Times, 3 March 1920; Schoeppfer, C., The Earth Stands Fast, ed. Watts de Peyster, J. and Allaben, Frank (New York: C. H. Ludwig, 1900); “Astronomy Wrong, He Says,” New York Sun, 22 July 1900.

34 NYPL, Allaben–Washburn Papers, Box 1, “National Historical Society” File 2, Frank Allaben to Hartford Times, 21 May 1919; “Their Advice on Fiume: National Historical Society Follows a Popular Policy,” New York Times, 25 May 1919; Tyrrell, I. R., Historians in Public: The Practice of American History, 1890–1970 (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2005), 218.

35 NYPL, Allaben–Washburn Papers, Box 5, “John Burroughs” File, Eugenics Records Office to Allaben, 7 Feb. 1921. The pedigree of naturalist John Burroughs that resulted from this particular collaboration is available at “Pedigree Chart of John Burroughs’ Family,” 1921, online at, accessed 19 Jan. 2014.

36 For the byzantine relationship between the Frank Allaben Genealogical Company, the National Historical Society and the National Historical Company see NYPL, Allaben–Washburn Papers, Box 6, National Historical Society Minute Book, 16 Nov. 1915, 5 Jan. 1916, 15 Jan. 1921, 25 Feb. 1926, 21 May 1926.

37 This focus is evident in the publications catalogued in Whitmore, William Henry, The American Genealogist (Albany, NY: Munsell, 1875).

38 Allaben, Frank, Concerning Genealogies: Being Suggestions of Value for All Interested in Family History (New York: Grafton Press, 1904), 46.

39 Allaben, Frank and Washburn, Mabel, How to Trace and Record Your Own Ancestry (New York: National Historical Company, 1932), 8182 .

40 Mills, William Stowell, Foundations of Genealogy: With Suggestions on the Art of Preparing Records of Ancestry (New York: Monograph Publishing Co., 1899), 3940 . Many examples of ascending genealogies appear in Daughters of the American Revolution, Lineage Book of the Charter Members (Harrisburg, PA: Harrisburg Publishing Co., 1895). For the debate among the Daughters over the relative merits of lineal versus collateral lines see “Proceedings of the Second Continental Congress,” American Monthly Magazine, 3 (1893), 78–104.

41 “American Heraldry,” New York Times, 4 Aug. 1901.

42 Pryor, S. A., “A Search for an Ancestor,” Century: A Popular Quarterly, 49, 6 (1895), 855–64. On Pryor's involvement with filiopietistic societies see Marilyn Elizabeth Perry, “Pryor, Sara Agnes Rice,” in American National Biography, online at, accessed 19 Jan. 2014; Weil, Family Trees, 133.

43 Reprinted from the Chicago Times in “A Coat of Arms,” Daily Tribune (Bismarck, ND), 20 Feb. 1887.

44 NYPL, Allaben–Washburn Papers, Box 2, “National Historical Society” File, Affidavit of Mabel T. R. Washburn, Feb. 1927.

45 Eleanor Lexington, “A Strawberry Party,” Morning Oregonian (Portland), 16 June 1895; “Guest-Room Verses,” Morning Oregonian (Portland), 26 May 1895; “Swimming Parties,” Weekly Miner (Butte, MT), 3 March 1898; Eleanor Lexington, “A Corner in Ancestors,” Times Dispatch (Richmond, VA), 7 June 1903; Frances M. Smith, “About Our Ancestors,” Cinncinati Enquirer, 12 June 1921. That Frances M. Smith and Eleanor Lexington were one and the same is attested in the byline of certain instalments of “A Corner in Ancestors” and in United States, Library of Congress, Catalogue of Copyright Entries: Part 1: Books (Group 2), new series, 6 (1909), 5229.

46 Clark, H. W., Genealogies of the Clark, Parks, Brockman and Dean, Davis and Goss Families in Five Parts (Montgomery, AL: privately printed, 1905), 12 ; Eleanor Lexington, “A Corner in Ancestors,” Colfax Chronicle (Colfax, LA), 23 July 1910.

47 Smith, Frances M., “Ancestral Foundations in American History,” Journal of American History, 5 (1911), 459–76, 459; Smith, Colonial Families of America (New York: Frank Allaben Genealogical Co., 1909); Smith, Loomis Family (New York: Frank Allaben Genealogical Co., 1909).

48 “Genealogical Research” (advertisement), and Allaben-Bayles Perfect Family Record” (advertisement), Journal of American History 6, 1 (1912), second section, n.p.; “Allaben Genealogical Chart” (advertisement), in Allaben and Washburn, How to Trace and Record Your Own Ancestry, n.p.

49 Prices listed in the inside cover of Smith, Loomis Family.

50 For examples of these offerings see “Bookplates: Heraldic and Other Designs” (advertisement), “Heraldic Dies for Stationery” (advertisement), Coats-of-Arms” (advertisement), Journal of American History, 6, 1 (1912), second section, n.p. See also the advertisement for Smith's research and heraldic art services in J. N. McCue, Henderson Chronicles (Mexico, MO: Missouri Printing and Publishing Co., 1915), n.p.

51 For the dynamics and influence of early newspaper syndicates see Johanningsmeier, Charles, Fiction and the American Literary Marketplace: The Role of Newspaper Syndicates, 1860–1900 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997).

52 Taylor, Elbert O., History of John Taylor of Hadley (Boston: Taylor Reunion Association, 1903), 11; Clark, 1–2; Bonner, Richard Illenden, ed., Memoirs of Lenawee County, Michigan (Madison, WI: Western Historical Association, 1909), 94; Clark, W. A., The Lost Arcadia, or, The Story of my Old Community (Augusta, GA: Chronicle Job Print, 1909), 70; Hughes, W. J. L., The Hughes Family and Connections, Especially with the Gass, Ward and Boze Families (Owensboro, KY: privately printed, 1911), xi; Houston, F. W., Maxwell History and Genealogy (Indianapolis: C. E. Pauley & Co., 1916), 14 ; Watrous, Ansel, Biographical Sketch of Rollin Q. Tenney (Fort Collins, CO: privately printed, c. 1918), n.p.; Ewing, P. K. and Ewing, M. E. W., The Ewing Genealogy with Cognate Branches: A Survey of the Ewings and Their Kin in America (Houston, TX: privately printed, 1919), 165; Horton, Lucy Henderson, Family History (Franklin, TN: Press of the News, 1922), 3, 10, 17, 20, 125, 126, 173, 174, 238; Pedigo, V. G. and Pedigo, L. G., History of Patrick and Henry Counties, Virginia (Roanoke, VA: Stone Printing and Manufacturing Company, 1933), 192; Emory M. Stevens, A Manuscript History of the Stevens Family, 1933, ed. Norman L. Stevens, online at, accessed 19 Jan. 2014.

53 Institution of an American Record of Heraldry with Three Thousand Authentic Coats-of-Arms,” Journal of American History, 5, 11 (1911), 324.

54 Allaben, Frank, The Ancestry of Leander Howard Crall (New York: Grafton Press, 1908), 2930 .

55 “Thank God Not Everything Printed by the U. S. Government Loses Its Value,” Barron's National Business and Financial Weekly, 29 Sept. 1975; Halbert, Gary, Killer Orgasms: How to Have the Best Sex Humanly Possible (Ocala, FL: privately printed, 2004). For Halbert's persistent following see, for example, “The Secret Psychology Behind One of the Most Widely Mailed Sales Letters in History Even Today's Best Copywriters Don't See!”, online at, accessed 19 Jan. 2014; and “Joe Polish shares Gary Halbert Strategies at Dan Kennedy SuperConference,” online at, accessed 19 Jan. 2014.

56 The business model was described succinctly in Gary C. Halbert and Nancy L. Halbert v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue (1978), T. C. Memo 1978–88; 1978 Tax Ct. Memo LEXIS 428; 37 T.C. M. (CCH) 408; T.C. M. (RIA) 780088.

57 Weil, Family Trees, 182, 190–91; Rangel, M. A., “Some Notes on the Future of American Heraldry,” Coat of Arms, 6, 47 (1961), 285–89.

58 “Judge Gives Man in Bicentennial Fraud 18 Months,” Los Angeles Times, 27 Sept. 1978; Gary C. Halbert and Nancy L. Halbert v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue (1978), T. C. Memo 1978–88; 1978 Tax Ct. Memo LEXIS 428; 37 T.C. M. (CCH) 408; T.C. M. (RIA) 780088.

59 “Action Express,” Chicago Tribune, 12 June 1974.

60 “Evidence taken in Provincial Court … R. v. Sovereign Seat Cover Manufacturing Co.,” unpublished typescript in the Library of the Canadian Heraldic Authority, Ottawa, 79–81.

61 R. A. Epperson, “Apperson or Epperson?”, Epperson Family Reference, c.2009, at, accessed 19 Jan. 2014.

62 Robert A. Malseed, “Coat of Arms,” Malseed Genealogy and Family History, c.2007, online at, accessed 19 Jan. 2014.

63 J. J. A. Welsman, “The Welsman Memorandums,” Welsman & Milloy Family Tree Pages, 1988, online at, accessed 19 Jan. 2014.

64 A prospectus for “Hall of Names” software, a proprietary heraldic production tool used by many shopping mall family crest kiosks and souvenir shops at heritage sites, promises that a sophisticated surname-matching algorithm ensures that “nobody should be turned away!” Swyrich Corporation, “Hall of Names Licensee Program” (2012), online at, accessed 19 Jan. 2014, 16.

65 The coats of arms of Canada and of the United Kingdom are examples of quarterings. So too are the seals of the City and County of Los Angeles and the State of Wisconsin.

66, “Tuininga Family Crests,” n.d., online at, accessed 19 Jan. 2014; the Gura Family, “Coat of Arms – Gura,” n.d., online at, accessed 19 Jan. 2014.

67 The Swetland Family Association, “Coat of Arms,” 2008, online at, accessed 19 Jan. 2014.

68 Scott-Giles, C. Wilfrid, The Romance of Heraldry, rev. edn (London: J. M. Dent and Sons, 1965), 2; Cheesman, Clive, “Partridges: The History of a Prohibition,” Coat of Arms, 3rd series, 4, 215 (2008), 2962 ; Some Aspects of the ‘Crisis of Heraldry’,” Coat of Arms, 3rd series, 6, 2 (2010), 67 .

69 On the assumed heritability of a wide range of character traits see Sweeney, “Ancestors, Avotaynu, Roots.”

70 The inflation corrections for Welles and Allaben's products are based on the 1880, 1910 and 2003 figures in the David-Solar Consumer Price Index Series, Historical Statistics of the United States, Volume III (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 158–9, Table Cc-2. Other price figures are derived using the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index Inflation Calculator, online at, accessed 19 Jan. 2014.

71 “Evidence taken in Provincial Court,” 11–12.

72 Lears, No Place of Grace, 302.

73 Weil, Family Trees, 182.

74 Witheridge, John, “Commercial Family History Publications,” Journal of One-Name Studies, 5, 6 (1995), 181–83; Richardson, J. A. C., “What Do Others Think of Us?”, Journal of One-Name Studies, 6, 6 (1998), 135–36. Lists of persons bearing the same surname, culled from telephone books and illustrated with coats of arms, were added to Halbert's offerings in the 1980s. Representative examples from the author's collection include Taylor, Sharon, The Amazing Story of the Valentines in Canada (Bath, OH: Halbert's, 1983); The Burke's Peerage World Book of Garneaus (Bath, OH: Halbert's Family Heritage, 1994); and The World Book of Adriaenssens (Bath, OH: Halbert's Family Heritage, 1995).

75 Victor, Mrs. Rasher's Curtain Lectures, 269–70.

I am grateful to Manon Labelle, Claire Boudreau and the journal's two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions. I am also grateful to the Manuscripts and Archives Division, New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations, for permission to refer to the Allaben-Washburn Papers.


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