Armorial Bearings for the
Keep in mind that the evolving American heraldry tradition is moving away from many of these gender differences. For example, many Americans interested in heraldry have abandoned using the lozenger because it is so difficult to fit many heraldic designs into its odd shape.
No, not unless you want to do so. Arms are differenced to distinguish between various branches of a family. The elder branch retains the original arms and the cadet branches modify or difference the arms to make them distinct.
To difference arms you change the tincture (the colors and metals), the charges (figures), or some other feature upon the shield to distinguish one branch of a family from another. In England there is an elaborate system of cadency marks for males to differentiate among sons. The eldest son carries a label, the second son a crescent, the third son a mullet, etc. (Friar 1987, 75). The Canadian Heraldic Authority has recently developed a similar cadency system for females (Slater 2002, 120). In Scotland they use a system of borders to difference arms. You can learn more about these systems in any standard heraldry book.
Associated with differencing arms is the marshalling of arms. When arms of two or more families are combined on a single shield so as to show a relationship, then they are said to be marshalled. For example, when a husband and wife impale their arms together or when a son quarters his paternal arms with his maternal arms if his mother is a heraldic heiress.
Your Maxwell ancestors from Scotland present a good example of both the differencing and the marshalling arms.
As you can see, the arms change over time as new branches are formed and as men marry women who are heraldic heiresses. It can get rather complex, but the result is to clearly differentiate various branches of a family.
For our family it is not necessary to difference the arms since in America we tend to think of arms as belonging to an entire family who descend from a specific armiger and not as something held by a single individual. Moreover, these arms were specifically registered with the intention of all the descendants of John Parnell McGuinness sharing them. Nevertheless, if you wish to difference the family arms to distinguish your side of the family from other branches, then please feel free to do so. We only ask that you let us know so that we can record and share the difference with the entire family. However, you should not feel compelled to difference the arms.
Quartering is when the arms are divided into four or more parts and each part shows arms that a person has inherited. The Palmer arms are a great example of quartering. It shows in the first and fourth quarters the Palmer arms, in the second quarter the Smyth arms, and in the third quarter the Ralphson arms.
In general your children can not quarter the McGuinness arms. The exception is when a man who has arms marries a heraldic heiress who is entitled to her father's arms because she has no brothers. To our knowledge nobody in the family currently falls into this particular situation.
To impale arms means to place a husband's arms side by side with a wife's arms on a single shield. The shield is divided palewise to accommodate the two arms. You certainly may impale the McGuinness arms with the arms of your armiger spouse. If your spouse lacks arms, then you can register arms for him/her with the American College of Heraldry.
As an example here are the arms of my husband, John P. DuLong, impaled with the McGuinness arms:
To make life even more complex for armigers, if a man marries a heraldic heiress, he is entitled to display his arms with her arms on an estucheon of pretence, that is, a small shield displaying her arms in the middle of his arms.
Yes, of course, as long as the child is adopted by a descendant of John Parnell McGuinness and carries the surname McGuinness. Although it is customary in England to mark the shield with two interlocked chain links to show adoption, I think we can dispense with that tradition here.
Yes your child, as long as he or she uses the surname McGuinness and descends from John Parnell McGuinness, may use these arms. In the past, the arms of illegitimate children were marked by several devices including the bend sinister. This can be seen in the arms of our ancestor Sir James Hamilton of Finnart, the “Bastard of Arran.” In 1531, Sir James must have been pleased when James V, King of Scots, allowed him to remove the bend sinister and replace it with the honorary single tressure.
For our purposes, and keeping with American traditions, I think we can safely ignore this practice and just let all our children use the arms freely and equally.
Because the McGuinnesses descend from people born in Ireland we could have petitioned the Chief Herald of Ireland and requested a grant of arms. However, the process is very expensive, costing between $3,800 and $4,000 for a grant. The benefit of such a grant is that it has legal standing as a form of property in Ireland. You also receive a beautiful drawing of the arms on a velum certificate. We always have the right to pursue such a grant in the future, but for now the American College of Heraldry is a reasonably inexpensive alternative for registering arms.
In America there is no legal system of personal heraldry and no protection of armorial bearings. The positive aspect of this situation is that we have a lot of latitude. We Americans do not need a grant of arms to assume arms. We must only follow the basic rule that we should not use the arms of another person or family as our own. The negative side is that our armorial bearings are not protected by law, just by custom and ethical standards. The American College of Heraldry, as a private society, does not grant arms. It only helps Americans to design arms, issues a registration certificate, and records the arms in a register. This is an excellent method for establishing our entitlement to particular armorial bearings. Registering our armorial bearings with the American College of Heraldry is a prudent action since it is a way to let others know that we have laid claim to these arms for all the Descendants of John Parnell McGuinness.
The American College of Heraldry will only register family arms for a living person or the parent of a living person. This is why Uncle John was so important for this process. He signed the application at the 2005 family reunion so that we could cover all the descendants of his father, John Parnell McGuinness. This embraces just about everyone who attends the annual McGuinness reunions. Aunt Nell or Uncle Louis could have signed, but we thought the honor should go to Uncle John as the eldest child. Ideally, we would have preferred to register the arms in the name of John McGuinness, the grandfather of John Parnell McGuinness, who was the original immigrant from Ireland to the United States and the founder of our branch of the McGuinness family in America. A registration in his name would have covered all of us and even our distant cousins. However, the rules of the American College of Heraldry would not allow for this extensive registration.
Our McGuinness cousins who descend from the immigrant John McGuinness are of course welcomed to register their own arms. We are more than willing to help and advise them on the process. Furthermore, we will be happy to post these armorial bearings on this web page to share with the everyone else.
The McGuinness arms we registered, as shown on the right above, are modeled on those of McGuinness (more often spelled Magennis) of Iveagh, the chief of the clan (or sept) in County Down, Ireland, displayed on the left above. Our McGuinnesses were simple farmers from County Westmeath . Although we have no evidence of ties to the McGuinness of Iveagh family, a similarity in arms with significant differences pays homage to the chief of the McGuinnesses and yet sets us apart.
We decided to maintain the pattern of the shield, that is a green field with a white chief, and to retain the rampant lion, to honor the McGuinness of Iveagh chiefs. However, we dropped the red hand of Ulster because our McGuinnesses lived in Leinster and not Ulster. We replaced it with a pattern of shamrocks to celebrate all our Irish ancestors, including the Glennons, Kennedys, O'Laughlins, O'Tooles, Quinns, etc. It also represents our scattered McGuinnesses relatives across the globe.
The ancient crown is included because it alludes to our descent from the high kings of Ireland and other European royal houses through our descent from the Palmer family.
For a motto, we decided to use the same Latin motto of McGuinness of Iveagh, that is, "Sola salus servire Deo," or in English, "The only safe course is to serve God." Unlike arms, duplicating mottos used by others is not an issue. We retained this motto because so many of our ancestors served in the Church of Ireland that we thought a motto invoking God would be appropriate.
The above illustration shows the McGuinness arms drawn with a more Medieval style lion. Also, the mantling is show in Argent and Gules, which is the fashion in Ireland.
Arms belong to an individual and that person's heirs. In other words, arms belong to a particular family that share a common armiger ancestor and not to a surname. Many people with the same surname are not related. The main reason we opted to register arms for the Descendants of John Parnell McGuinness is to avoid the common error among people of assuming the arms of others. In the records of the heralds of Ireland, Scotland, and England are several arms recorded for various McGuinness families under a variety of spellings of the surname and from a number of locations in the British Isles (Burke 1884, 639-640). Two arms in particular standout as interesting: those of McGuinness of Iveagh, the ancient chiefs of the McGuinness clan; and Guinness, the famous family of brewers.
The arms of the Viscount of Iveagh, the chief of the McGuinness clan, are quit impressive:
The blazon of the McGuinness of Iveagh arms is as follows:
Vert a lion rampant Or, on a chief Argent a dexter hand erect, couped at the wrist Gules. Crest: A boar passant proper langued Gules armed and hoofed Or. Supporters: Two bucks Gules langued Azure crined, unguled, and gorged with collars gemel Or. Motto: Sola salus servire Deo [The only safe course is to serve God].
The McGuinnesses as a clan originates in County Down and they owed their loyalty to the chief of the clan, commonly called "the McGuinness." This honor was held by the descendants of Anoghus, the son of Aidoth. In 1623, the British elevated Arthur McGuinness of Rathfrilan, County Down, the McGuinness to the peerage as the Viscount of Iveagh. As a peer of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland he was entitled to supporters for his arms. His helmet is also that of a Viscount and it rests upon the coronet of rank associated with a Viscount.
The title of Viscount of Iveagh was suppressed in 1691 for rebellion against the crown. The last Viscount was Brian McGuinness, who fled Ireland to serve in the Austrian army of the Holy Roman Emperor and died in Hungary in 1692. Many other leading McGuinnesses were exiled from Ireland and served with distinction in the armies of Austria, France, and Spain. (Complete Peerage VIII:349-354).
It was probably around the late seventeenth or early eighteenth century, during a time of great turmoil and upheaval in Ireland, that our McGuinness ancestors migrated from County Down to County Westmeath. To repeat, we have absolutely no evidence that there was a family tie between our McGuinness ancestors and the Viscount of Iveagh's family. However, our elder Irish cousin, the late Dan McGuinness, did recall hearing tales that his family had come from County Down. It is possible that at one time our McGuinness ancestors were part of the McGuinness clan and owed allegiance to the Viscount of Iveagh.
The second Viscountcy of Iveagh was not created until Edward Cecil Guinness, the heir of the famous Guinness brewer fortune was elevated to the rank of Viscount in 1905, having been the Baron Iveagh since 1891. In 1919, he was made the Earl of Iveagh (Complete Peerage, VII:78-79). Lord Iveagh's arms quartered with those of the Lee family and are very complex, but they are based on the grant of arms issued to the Rev. Hosea Guinness in 1814 (Burke 1884, 433-434).
The blazon of the Guinness arms is as follows:
Per saltire Gules and Azure, a lion rampant Or, on a chief Ermine a dexter hand couped at the wrist Gules. Crest: A boar passant quarterly Or and Gules. Motto: Spes mea in Deo [My hope is in God].
It is interesting to note that genetic testing has demonstrated that there is no connection between the current Guinness of Iveagh family and the McGuinness of Iveagh family (Guinness 2008, 24). Furthermore, there are no known ties to the Guinness of Iveagh family through our McGuinness lineage. (Ironically, John and I recently learned in the course of our genealogical research that we Michigan McGuinnesses are related to some of the contemporary Guinnesses of brewing fame, but it is through our connections to the Anglo-Irish Smyth family, ancestors of Emma Palmer.) Lastly, it is very appropriate that the Guinness motto was taken from the Dublin brewers' guild (Guinness 2008, 174)!
There are a number of ways to display the arms. As long as you follow the elements in the blazon, there is room for artistic expression. You can use them on stationery, bookplates, business cards, mail boxes, cars, banners, T-shirts, embroidery, art work, etc.
For example, the Irish, like other nations who employ arms, use heraldic art in funerals to celebrate the memory of the armiger. For Uncle John's funeral we prepared the following design called a funeral hatchment to honor him.
Use your imagination, consult some books on heraldry, and I am confident you will think of many ways to use the McGuinness arms. John will be happy to share any of this artwork with you. He can print it out on quality color photographic paper suitable for framing.
An achievement of arms is a pictorial presentation of the complete armorial bearings. It consists of several features. The key part of the armorial bearing is the shield on which are displayed the arms of the family. On top of the shield is a helmet, like the shield it harkens back to the age of knights. For commoners the helmet is usually a tournament helmet or one with a closed visor. The flourishing drapery on either side of the helmet is the mantling. On top of the helmet is the torse or wreath used to hold the mantling on the helmet and for the crest to rest upon. The crest sits on top of the torse. Lastly, the motto is found at the bottom of the armorial bearing. This is a simplistic answer. Any book on heraldry will go into far more detail regarding the parts of an armorial bearing.
The blazon is the technical description of the arms. It is in a somewhat archaic language that combines Norman-French and English. For example, the colors have what appear to be strange names, like Gules for red, Azure for blue, Or for gold, and Argent for silver. As odd as this language seems to modern ears, it is very specific and a person who understands this jargon can review a blazon and render an accurate image of the arms, its colors, charges, etc.
You will note that in the art work on this web page that our family arms have different helmets, mantling, scrolls, and shields. This is incidental. As long as the drawing is true to the blazon, that is, the basic description of the design of the shield and crest, then it is appropriate.
The phrase “coat of arms” is commonly used for armorial bearings. It comes from the days when knights wore a coat with their arms displayed upon it over their armour. Eventually, heralds, the professional experts on heraldry, wore a special coat of arms called a tabard. Presented below is a tabard with our arms displayed on it.
A banner is a large flag, usually three by three or five by five feet displaying the arms. In the age of chivalry the banner indicated the presence of a knight at home, at a tournament, or on campaign. For us, the banner is another way to display our arms.
Many people refer to the armorial bearings as a crest. This is wrong. A crest is only the object that rests on a wreath and is surmounted on the helmet. Often the crest is used on its own, for example, on stationery. The McGuinness crest is as follows:
An alternative presentation of the crest is to display it in a circlet seal with the family's motto, thusly:
No, we are Irish-Americans with a few Scottish ancestors through the Palmers. The Irish did not use tartans and plaids. Instead they wore decorative mantles and elaborate cloaks. Furthermore, Irish clans were less formal and structured compared to Scottish clans. So the McGuinnesses do not have a tartan or clan crest badge. For those of you who want to celebrate our Scottish heritage, then you can use the tartans of either the Hamiltons or Maxwells to express your loyalty to these chiefs. You can also wear the clan crest badges for the Hamiltons and Maxwells.
You should note that there is a MacInnis clan in Scotland and they too, like the Irish McGuinnesses, carry the surname MacAonghus, son of Angus, in Gaelic (Way of Plean and Squire 1999, 423). However, there is no known connection between the Irish McGuinnesses and the Scottish MacInnises and thus no right to use the tartan or crest badge of the MacInnis clan.
You are now an armiger. It is anyone entitled to use arms or who has assumed arms.
To order your own copy of the registration of arms from the American College of Heraldry send a letter requesting a copy to:
Mr. David Robert Wooten
The American College of Heraldry
1836 Ashley River Road, Suite 396
Charleston, SC 29407-4781
Makes sure you ask specifically for the "Registration of the Armorial Bearings of John Parnell McGuinness," registration no. 2704. And please let Mr. Wooten know how you descend from him, that is, through which child of John Parnell McGuinness. Include a check for $25.00 payable to the American College of Heraldry.
There are many fine books on heraldry. Though a child's book, Iain Moncreiffe's and Don Pottinger's Simple Heraldry: Cheerfully Illustrated (1979), is a delightful introduction to Scottish and English heraldry. Another good introduction with more detail is Stephen Frair's and John Ferguson's Basic Heraldry (1993). Thomas Woodcock's and John Martin Robinson's The Oxford Guide to Heraldry (1990) is helpful but written from the English point of view. Most of the books published about heraldry in English emphasize English and Scottish traditions. For Irish heraldry you can consult Lynch-Robsinson's Intelligible Heraldry (1948). You can also learn about Irish heraldry customs at Pat Brennan's Gaelic Heraldry & Practice web site. However, keep in mind that the concept of sept arms is controversial and no longer supported by the Chief Herald of Ireland (see the FAQ). For information regarding the use of arms in America you might want to consult J. A. Reynolds' Heraldry and You: Modern Heraldic Usage in America (1961) or Zieber's Heraldry in America ( 2006).
The American College of Heraldry has a detailed Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section you may wish to consult.
Lastly, you can point your browser to the François R. Velde's Heraldica site, the best single source for information about heraldry on the Internet.
Remember, if you have any other questions that you think we should answer regarding our arms, then please email me at dulongp at mcguinnessfamily.org.
We hope you will enjoy these arms and will use them proudly.
Patricia A. (McGuinness) DuLong
and John P. DuLong, Ph.D.
American Heraldry Society. "Guidelines for Heraldic Practice in the United States Recommended by the American Heraldry Society," http://americanheraldry.org/pages/index.php?n=Guide.Guidelines, accessed 19 August 2007.
American Herladry Society. "Heraldic Registration in the United States," http://americanheraldry.org/pages/index.php?n=Registration.Domestic, accessed 19 August 2007.
Barlow, Lundie W. 1961. “Some Reasons Why There is No Governmental Granting Authority or Registry of Armorial Achievements in the United States” 49 (September):125-128.
Brennan, Pat. 2005. "Gaelic Heraldry & Practice." http://www.leitrim-roscommon.com/heraldry (10 December, moved 12 November 2011).
Burke, Sir Bernard. 1884. General Armory of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales; Comprising a Registry of Armorial Bearings from the Earliest to the Present Time with a Supplement. Reprint of the Last Edition of 1884; Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1967; on Family Tree Maker’s Family Archives, “Family History: Notable British Families, 1600s-1900s,” CD-ROM no. 367, 1999.
The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extent, Extinct and Dormant. Edited by George Edward Cokayne, Vicary Gibbs, H. A. Doubleday, Duncan Warrand, Lord Howard de Walden, and G. H. White. 13 vols. in 14, rev. ed. London: St. Catherine Press, 1910-1959. Reduced print version in 6 vols. Stroud, England: Sutton Publishing, 2000.
DuLong, John P., and Patricia Anne (McGuinness) DuLong. 2005. "Thomas W.1 Palmer, 1822-1865, of Ireland and Michigan: His Descent from James II, King of Scots." The Genealogist 19:1 (Spring): 44-61.
Friar, Stephen, ed. 1987. A Dictionary of Heraldry. (New York: Harmony Books).
Friar, Stephen, and John Ferguson. 1993. Basic Heraldry. New York: W. W. Norton & Co.
Guinness, Patrick. 2008. Arthur's Round: The Life and Times of Brewing Legend Arthur Guinness. London: Peter Owen Publishers.
Lynch-Robinson, Christopher, and Adrian Lunch-Robinson. 1948. Intelligible Heraldry: The Application of a Medieaval System of Record and Identifiation to Modern Needs. London: MacDonald.
MacLysaght, Edward. 2005. "The Arms of Irish Septs." http://www.leitrim-roscommon.com/heraldry/heraldry.html#para7 (10 December, moved 12 November 2011). [This article comes from MacLysaght's More Irish Families.]
Mathews, Anthony. 1968. Origins of the Surname McGuinness with a Short History of the Sept. Dublin: Privately printed.
Moncreiffe of that Ilk, Iain, and Don Pottinger. 1979. Simple Heraldry: Cheerfully Illustrated. New York: Mayflower Books.
National Library of Ireland. 2005. "Office of the Chief Herald." <http://www.nli.ie/new_office.htm> (10 December).
Reynolds, J. A. 1961. Heraldry and You: Modern Heraldic Usage in America. New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons.
Slater, Stephen. 2002. The Complete Booke of Heraldry: An International History of Heraldry and Its Contemporary Uses. London: Anness Publishing, Ltd.
Velde, François R. 2005. "Heraldica." http://www.heraldica.org (20 December)
Way of Plean, George, and Romilly Squire. 1999. Scottish Clan & Family Encyclopedia. New York: Barnes & Noble.
Woodcock, Thomas, and John Martin Robinson. 1990. The Oxford Guide to Heraldry. New York: Oxford University Press.
Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Menola, NY: Dover Publications, Inc.,  2006.
This page, and all contents, are Copyright © 2006 by Patricia A. (McGuinness) DuLong, Berkley, MI. Created 15 April 2006. Last modified 11 February 2016. This web site is best viewed with your display set to 800 by 600 pixels, at least 256 colors, and using Netscape 4.x or better. Some of the graphics on this page are copyright © 1998, 1999 by Amanda Fisher and are used here in compliance with her terms. The heraldry artwork on this web page was accomlished using Armorial Gold Heraldry Clipart.