Category: Resources & Tools


Evaluating armorials (III) – Comparing armorials

In the first two parts of this series on evaluating armorials, many mistakes regarding coats of arms and legends have been discussed. This third part deals with the topic of comparing different armorials, and in this process the incorrect coats of arms prove to be quite useful. Comparing armorials can be important for several reasons. As we have seen in Steen Clemmensen’s previous blogposts, it is not uncommon to...


New resources from the Genealogical Office of Ireland

Thanks to one of our readers, who kindly sent us a message, we are able to add another resource to our growing collection of heraldic documents on the internet. The Chief Herald of Ireland has recently published a series of about 35 volumes, which are available as digitised copies on the website of the National Library of Ireland. These include heraldic grants and confirmations of coats of arms, a...


Evaluating armorials (II) – Variant coats of arms

The first part of these series on evaluating armorials dealt with the identification of coats of arms in armorials. It appeared that many armorials were copied and that copyists were prone to make mistakes. This sometimes leaves the researcher with different coats of arms for the same family. This post deals with the problematic of these variant coats of arms more thoroughly by discussing their origins and how they...


Dictionary of heraldic terms used in Steen Clemmensen’s ‘Evaluating armorials (II) – Variant coats of arms’

Steen Clemmensen’s blogpost contains some heraldic terms that might, for the uninitiated, look like a secret language. The purpose of these particular vocabulary and the fairly strict manner of describing a coats of arms (= blazoning), is that it should enable a reader or an artist to imagine and recreate a coat of arms in an exact manner. In order to make the article intelligible for the novices, we have...


Evaluating armorials (I) – Identifying coats of arms

Having edited a number of armorials and shown several of them to be dependent on the same sources, the editors of Heraldica Nova asked me: How does one evaluate an armorial and its contents? The short answer is by having common sense, lots of reference materials and treating armorials as non-verbal prose. In this first part of this series on how to evaluate armorial, I will deal with the...


How to evaluate medieval armorials and their contents? A new series of blogposts by Steen Clemmensen

For identifying medieval coats of arms, medieval armorials are very important sources. They have been transmitted to us in a fair number (for a list of digitised armorials see here on our blog), they are relatively easy accessible and – contrary to the other important source for coats of arms such as seals – they show the colours of the blasons. So if you are trying to identify a specific coat...


Digitised Armorials

A growing number of libraries and archives place digitised versions of manuscripts with collections of coats of arms online. This provides a great possibility to look at an expanding repertoire of armorials from right behind your screen. Below you will find a list of these manuscripts, which also includes sources that might not qualify as an armorial, but do hold a considerable number of coats of arms and are...


Databases & Materials

These databases and dictionaries will help to identify a depicted coat of arms as well as a blasoned one. Databases Steen Clemmensen, Medieval Armorials This website is dedicated to armorials. Clemmensen has made an elaborate database of armorials and coats of arms in armorials, which can be downloaded from the website, containing more than 14,000 individual coats of arms. This database enables you, among other things, to identify coats...


Bibliographies & Journals

Here we try to provide an overview of academic, often secondary literature on heraldry. Aside from bibliographies, we aim to collect a list of the most important heraldic journals in English, German and French. Click on the link behind the journal title to access the journal’s website. We also provide overview and reviews of most recent publications. Further suggestions and contributions are most welcome.   Bibliographies   Popoff’s International...

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