British Ancestry
Heraldic Law

Question: I have been conducting my family history research I have come from across reference to my family coat of arms. My family name is Dobson. There are two references to coats of arms, one I believe is not authentic because it comes from an internet firm. It's supposed to be two crossed lions paws on a shield, the more likely is two bears paws alone. Our family is originally from Scotland. Do you know of a coat arms for the Dobson Family, if there isn't can I design my own?

Answer: This response applies to any name in similar circumstances. You are NOT permitted under heraldic law to design your own arms when you are subject to a Sovereign Heraldic Authority. Without proving an undoubted paternal ancestry back to the Grantee or Registered bearer of arms and recording your right, you may not use the arms of another person of the same name as your own or any other. An additional problem remains: persons of a given surname are not necessarily related by blood and there may, therefore be several individuals of that name who have been granted different arms. "Coats of Arms" derived from most merchants in this field have no historical family value whatsoever. Just use them for decoration. If you require authentic arms, contact me again. I shall do my best to advise and help you.

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