An uncle of mine by marriage, who was a very distinguished historian, once asked me, when I was a young man, whether I was interested in Heraldry. I said that I was not. ‘I'm glad of that,” he said, “heraldry strikes me as being for a historian about on the same level of interest as stamp collecting.” – Maurice Keen, in the Preface to Origins of the English Gentleman
I'm an Academic Herald. I'm not a "real" herald; I don't register people's coats of arms (though I can certainly suggest designs for those who might be interested). What I do is study, research, teach, and write about heraldry. And I like to share what I have learned about heraldry, hence this blog. I hope that you'll find it informative, interesting at least occasionally, and worth your time to come back. Got a question? Comments? Feel free to let me know. I'd love to hear from you. You can find my contact information in my Profile.
I recently ran across an article I hadn't seen before about an old heraldic roll of arms that had been found in a London antique shop o...
Genealogical Speakers Guild
Genealogical Speakers Guild
Thursday, May 23, 2019
Genealogy and Vexillology
Frankly, I love it when I can combine two of my interests into a single activity, or theme, or object.
In this particular instance, I am referring to my interest in my own family tree/history (genealogy), and the flags (vexillology) of the nations from which my ancestry is derived. (Like most Americans, my genealogical and DNA makeup is pretty much that of a mongrel, with ancestors coming here from a number of different nations.)
Several years ago, my wife and I gave each other a DNA test for Christmas. Since that time, the tools that they use to help define my "ethnicity estimate" have been refined, resulting today in estimates that match up very well with what I know the paper trail to be.
Just a couple of years ago, I ran across a tee shirt on-line that caught my eye, more than a little because I found it to be a nice representation of my own genealogy. It was an image of a tree, the trunk and branches solid black, but with the root system in the colors of the Union flag, and with the words underneath, "British Roots".
Given that my DNA ethnicity estimate says that I am 61% from "England, Wales, and Northwestern Europe", I decided that I pretty much had to buy that shirt!
So more recently I began thinking about the remainder of my ancestral origins, and went looking for similar tee shirts that would let me wear something to celebrate these other roots. Here they are, along with my ethnicity estimate for each country, in descending order.
Ireland and Scotland, 13% (Connors and Callahans and Forbes, oh my!)
and Germanic Europe, 6%
(My ethnicity estimate also gives me an estimated 2% from Norway, though I've not yet found any paper trail that links my family there. )
I find it a fun way to combine my interests in genealogy and heraldry/vexillology, as well as a way to celebrate the places from which my ancestors have come to this "melting pot" of a country, and which eventually resulted in me!