Q1. Are there other Eastern European countries active in heraldry?

The practice of heraldry has grown in interest and importance in today's Eastern European countries, with organizations similar to this one springing up in many countries. They are in various stages of development. Some examples are below whereas there are more links pertaining to Eastern European heraldic activities by click on online links.

  1. Slovenska heraldika / Slovenian Heraldry 
  2. Akademie heraldických nauk České republiky / Heraldry Academy of the Czech Republic 
  3. Česká genealogická a heraldická společnost v Praze / Czech Genealogy and Heraldry Association of Prague 
  4. Heraldická společnost v Praze / Association for Heraldry in Prague 
  5. Magyar Heraldikai és Genealógiai Társaság / Hungarian Heraldry and Genealogy 
  6. Македонско Хералдичко Здружение / Macedonian Heraldry Society 
  7. Moravské genealogické a heraldické společnosti / Moravian Genealogical and Heraldic Society 
  8. Orzel Bialy-Godlo Polski / Polish Heraldry 
  9. Родословље и Хералдика / Genealogy and Heraldry, Serbia 
  10. Slovenskej genealogicko-heraldickej spoločnosti / Slovak Genealogy-Heraldry Society 
  11.   / Ukrainian Heraldry 
Q2. How can I find my coat of arms or my family's coat of arms?

This is a difficult question to answer as it requires a good deal of research in the area of genealogy and heraldry. In many countries, you can bear arms that you have created or had someone create for you. However, protocol dictates that it is improper to bear someone else's arms. In Scotland, not only is bearing someone else's arms dishonorable, it is illegal.

Some countries have adopted codification and regulation of arms, such as the College of Arms of England, the Court of the Lord Lyon of Scotland, the Canadian Heraldic Authority, Cronistas Reyes de Armas de España, Heraldische Gemeinschaft Westfalen, the Russian College of Heraldry to name a few. There are more regulatory organizations in other countries, and therefore, if you are interested in arms while resident in that country, you should check with their authority or registrar first.

In countries that do not have a codified system, research must be done on the shared family name to determine if you are related to that family line. It would be honorable to make a formal request to bear the family arms to the family should you discover that you are related to them. It is the courteous thing to do. If the family refuses to permit you to bear their arms, there is nothing stopping you from having a personal coat of arms created and assuming them. Organizations such as the Slovenian Genealogy Society or "Slovensko rodoslovje" can offer resources to help you research your surname.

Q3. What's the difference between a crest and a coat of arms?

A. The crest refers to those elements which adorn the top of the helm or helmet which is positioned on the top of the arms or shield. The coat of arms or armorial bearings refers to the entire achievement comprised of the shield, helm, crest, mantling, supporters and motto if available. For more details on the elements of an armorial bearing, go to what is heraldry? in this website.

Q4. Can I register my coat of arms in Slovenia?

A. Unfortunately, the newly formed Commission as of early 2008 entitled Commission for Public Symbol, Coat of Arms, Flag, Seal and Stamp Judgment at The Archives of the Republic of Slovenia will initially be addressing the conformance of municipal arms to heraldic rules. The Commission, after this first task, may then expand to consider creating a registrar or authority in Slovenia for the responsibility of registering arms. It is great news that the government of Slovenia acknowledges this particular responsibility and will encourage the practice of heraldry in Slovenia.

Given this situation, some authorities will happily register personal arms in their registries, even though the applicant does not reside in that country. One such authority is the Heraldry Bureau of South Africa. For a fee, they will register personal arms. This provides at least some degree of protection of arms by having it registered in an official body, even though it is not in Slovenia. The Royal Heraldry Society of Canada (RHSC) will include personal, institutional and ecclesiastical arms of members, including Canadian-Slovenians in the roll of arms on the RHSC website in a digital form provided the arms have been granted by the Canadian Heraldic Authority and the individual has been a member of the RHSC for a minimum of two years.

Q5. Do I have to have a coat of arms or "armigerous" to join the RHSC and the Slovenija Branch?

A. The short answer is "no". The Society is open to anyone having a genuine interest in heraldry, and the history of heraldry. The Society is open to all Canadians, in particular to those who are of Slovenian decent or heritage, whether resident in Canada or Slovenia, or who reside in other countries.

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Released: October 28, 2008Updated: October 28, 2008