Heraldry is a living, breathing science, especially in those countries where it
has the full force of Statue Law (Scotland and Canada, for example) or
reasonably well-regulated (England, Ireland and the US Military).
There is no such thing as a "family coat of arms" - arms belong to one person at
a time and are heritable property, every bit as much as a house, a title or a
treasured heirloom. Downloading a coat of arms from the internet and displaying
it as your your own just because it bears the same surname, may well be
completely wrong and
is tantamount to property theft - in some jurisdictions
(Scotland, for instance) this is punishable by fines, confiscation and
for more detail on this.
that, heraldry contains clues to the origins of a family and the relationships
between those bearing similar arms. Understanding the historical-heraldic
context is a specialist task.
Could you have a coat of Arms?
those who wish to be granted arms legally and correctly, we can help -- in any
firstname.lastname@example.org or download this
Heraldry Resources - a selection
of books to download -