Research for the Hein Family's
COAT-OF-ARMS / WAPPEN
Our family is linked, also, to the Imperial Prussian Imperial House of Hohenzollern. This is a complicated coat-of-arms.
The Principal Inescrutcheion was Frederick I, King "in" Prussia created in 1701. From the top left hand corner to the bottom right hand corner shows all the Nobel Houses attached from 1701 to the last Kaiser of Prussia and All the German States, Wilhelm II, who abdicated in 1918.
The first recorded presence of a herald was July 1173 at the Battle of Drincourt in Normandy but men had been carrying arms long before this. Some had painted just colors, others had added a symbol or a creature.... These warriors often became known by their arms. Kings began to claim their arms.... Someone got the idea that these arms should be noted and soon there was a demand of arms / heralds being recorded and rules were given to who could have a herald or who could not and how one could gain the permission to have a herald. Kings and military men first then came the high officials. The church wasn't to be denied. Soon, the arms / shield wasn't enough. One had to dress oneself and one's horse to fit one's high station. The various kingdoms then countries held a coat-of-arms. In modern times, a Patent for the gran of arms are generally issued by professional associations. England which is still carrying on the traditions of a Royal Family under Queen Elisabeth II this is very serious business. For those of us in the USA, who are grateful that George Washington had the good sense to turn down the title of King and preferred the title of President, we have no need of coat-of-arms in our society. But, it is fun to dig around all papers and discover one of our ancestors who did have a coat-of-arms. We do not think less or more of our ancestors who held no nobility and were [hopefully] hard working moral people who managed to survive so we could be born into this world. I think it would be unrealistic to think all of our ancestors were "good guys". The skeletons in our closet can be a shock or they can be interesting characters who leave interesting trails guiding us to understanding of why there were like they were.
There are many web sites that can help you learn more about Heraldry and some can direct you to other interesting links. Unfortunately, many are not written in English. Here are just a few:
1) ****A GLOSSARY OF TERMS USED IN HERALDRY by JAMES PARKER
2) ****German National Arms
3) ***Wappen [Coat-of-Arms] by Kalus Duering with Bundeslaender [areas - like a city - within a state, Landkreis [state] , Kreisfreie Staeadt [free areas within a state not connected to that state], Europa [European countries], Information...
4) ****Heidelberg University Links for Genealogy and Wappen [Coat-of-Arms]:
5) Good place to read about the difference degrees of nobility:
6) A Store recommended but I know nothing about it so if you deal with them, let me know your experiences:
Research for German-Russians who left Germany at the end of the 1700s and early 1800s will find themselves in a curious situation. If you look at a present day map and try to find your family's place of origin such as Alsace [Elass] in Germany, you will not find it. In 2003, Alsace is part of France. Boundaries moved all the time and one day the town which you are looking for may be in France and the next day in Germany. The reason I mention Alsace, it changed hands constantly through it's history. To discover some of this history, take a look at my German Facts pages that deal with the German states before Napoleon changed the map of Europe.
Alphabetical List of Dependencies of The Holy Roman Empire Before 1806
From"A" to "Zzz"
There is not set rule of research for family genealogy. There are Lutherans and Catholics mixed from north to south. It is true that the states were ruled by the Emperor or King or Count or Religious Leaders who were either Lutheran or Catholic. For example, the Holy Roman Empire's Royal Family was the Hapsburgs of Austria; and, the King of Prussia was Lutheran.
Keeping of records vary. I've read that the records in the northern parts of German States was influenced by the Council of Trent. In 1550 records along the Saale held a higher number or church parishes that did record births, weddings and deaths. One just has to contact the village / city and to discover if records are available. Remember that before Martin Luther and other Protestant rebels most of the German citizens were Catholic with clusters of Jewish communities. So, don't forget to dig into those records to find family members.
It wasn't until 1875 that a law required civil registration for all of Germany which the Hohenzollerns ruled as a nation. Registration offices were assigned to certain areas. So, some of the old records may have been moved to these places. I hope duplicates were passed but I'm not sure. The best way to find out would be for a person to contact the main genealogical Society of Germany [Der Herold Verin fuer Heraldic, Genealogie und verwandte Wissenschaften]. I believe LDS would have all the addresses needed for genealogy and for heraldry.
The body of work most often mentioned for Coat-of-Arms is The Almanach de Gotha which was started in 1763 which grew in size up to modern times, I think, WW II . Since then, there have been a variety of "handbooks". If anyone reading this has knowledge of a book which a person could find and use, please let me know. The Jewish community is doing a better job at collecting data which has been translated into English [see http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com] than the Lutherans and Catholics of historical collections of information on their "nobles".
I don't own any recent books but I'm sure if you check Barnes and Nobel or Amazon, you can find books that will help you gain farther information. This article is just meant to touch lightly on names and Coat-of-Arms.