FAQs
 RHSC FAQs

The following frequently asked questions have been compiled and presented by the , in a structured manner to field your queries directly regarding heraldry and the Society. Before contacting the RHSC with your query, review the questions below, and if one maps to your question, click on the question and the page will take you to a response to the question selected.
  1. Why should I join the RHSC?
  2. Where did the "Royal" come from?
  3. Do I have to live in Canada to join the RHSC?
  4. Do I have to live in a certain area to join a particular branch?
  5. What is my family coat of arms?
  6. What is my family crest?
  7. Can I register my coat of arms with the RHSC?
  8. Is there a roll of arms of the members of the RHSC?
  9. Do I have to have a coat of arms to join the RHSC?
  10. Is there an index to Heraldry in Canada?
  11. Where can I find back issues of Heraldry in Canada, or a copy of Beddoe's Canadian Heraldry?
  12. Does the RHSC offer exams?

Q (1). Why should I join the RHSC?

A. Because you are interested in heraldry, particularly that of Canada. Because you wish to read Heraldry in Canada/L'Héraldique au Canada and the Gonfanon regularly and keep up with the latest developments in the noble science. Because you believe traditions are a vital part of a well-founded country, and you wish to help keep the noble tradition of heraldry alive and flourishing in this country.


Q (2). Where did the "Royal" come from?

A. Her Majesty the Queen graciously gave her assent to the use of the word "Royal" in our name recently; it was announced at our 2002 Annual General Meeting in Victoria.


Q (3). Do I have to live in Canada to join the RHSC?

A. No. Membership is open to all who have an interest in heraldry, regardless of citizenship, nationality, or geographic location.


Q (4). Do I have to live in a certain area to join a particular branch?

A. No. All branches are available to all members, and many members belong to more than one branch. Even if one is geographically unable to attend branch functions, the branch newsletters (The Blazon (B.C.-Yukon), Hogtown Heraldry (Toronto), The Heraldist (Ottawa)) are often considered to be well worth the membership fees.


Q (5). What is my family coat of arms?

A. The right to a coat of arms varies from country to country. In Canada, as in Britian and much of western Europe (from where most of our heraldic traditions have come), a coat of arms is for a particular person, not a family, and certainly not for a surname. To establish your right to a coat of arms, you would need to trace your family descent back to ancestor which had been granted a coat of arms (or legitimately used a coat of arms according to the laws of the country in which he lived), but this is extremely difficult for most of us. The other strategy is to assume that you don't have one, and to petition the Canadian Heraldic Authority for a new grant.


Q (6). What is my family crest?

A. A crest is part of a coat of arms, and cannot exist independently. Since coats of arms do not belong to families (in Canada, at least), the term "family crest" is inappropriate.


Q (7). Can I register my coat of arms with the RHSC?

A. No. The Royal Heraldry Society is not a registering body. Arms are granted (or, if already granted, registered) with the Canadian Heraldic Authority, which is not connected to the RHSC (other than by a shared area of interest).


Q (8). Is there a roll of arms of the members of the RHSC?

A. A full roll was published in 1967; updates and corrections appear in Heraldry in Canada every few years. The entire RHSC Roll of Arms will be published in full on this website, although it will take time to complete the job. Click here to see what has been achieved to date.


Q (9). Do I have to have a coat of arms to join the RHSC?

A. No- many of our members, executives, and even presidents have not had coats of arms. The only requirement is an interest in heraldry, not possession.


Q (10). Is there an index to Heraldry in Canada?

A. A project has been defined to digitize all past issues of Heraldry in Canada and make these available online in the members only area of the Society's website. The plan is to have these digitized during the winter of 2010. An index of the issues would most like be compiled at the same time, and this would be made available on the public portion of the Society's website.


Q (11). Where can I find back issues of Heraldry in Canada, or a copy of Beddoe's Canadian Heraldry?

A. Back issues of Heraldry in Canada are available from , at $3/issue plus postage (lower prices for quantity purchases). Sometimes, heraldic books are offered for sale by members in the Gonfanon (the newsletter of the Society). Alternatively, you can try a used-bookstore, or an on-line service such as amazon.ca, alibris.com, or abebooks.com (I have yet to find these books on-line at a decent price; this is not meant as a recommendation of any particular service by the Society or even the webmaster).


Q (12). Does the RHSC offer exams?

A. Yes! There are two levels of written exams. Passing both levels allows the candidate to attempt level 3, which involves writing a scholarly thesis concerning Canadian heraldry and/or assisting in a number of grants of non-personal arms. If (or when) you pass level 3, you are entitled to the post-nomials LRHSC (Liscentiate of the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada). For details on the examination, click here.


 
Released: January 14, 2004 / Updated: July 05, 2010