Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies

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Arms of Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies

Official blazon

Arms : Azure, a cross patonce within an orle of eight acorns cups inwards Or.
Motto: Tentaverunt me Patres Vestri


The arms were officially granted on August 21, 1982.

The colours have been taken from the arms of Humphery-Smith, founder, a Trustee and the first Director and Principal. The cross comes from the arms of Bickersteth, the ideas and sponsorship of the foundation in the 1950's having been those of the late Canon Julian Bickersteth, sometime Archdeacon of Maidstone and Treasurer of Canterbury Cathedral.

The acorns represent the eight Trustees: they are turned outwards in vigilance over the fortunes (represented by the gold and by the acorns themselves) of the Institute, and also signify growth, seeds of life and continuity, and those beginnings from which mighty trees, families and ideas grow, the oak being symbolic of family, unity and growth. The arrangement of the acorns also signifies the forward-looking attitude, sense of responsibility, attachment, dedication, and protection of the Trustees.

The motto is taken from Psalm 95 (94) and the translation may be rendered "your fathers put me to the test". In context, this probably implies trial, even temptation, or the trying of patience! But it seems appropriate here that it may signify the examining or testing of ability, dedication and knowledge, and that our ancestors ultimately know the truth to be tested .... in relation to lineage and history of the tribe. So the examining powers and the purpose of the Institute - to train and test competence and to verify family historical truth and structure -is fully encompassed by the symbolism.

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