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Heraldry is the regulation, designing, and use of coats of arms and their related symbols by the noble classes of Europe and some other countries. In Australia, an extremely small percentage of people are entitled to bear coats of arms because they are either descendants of a noble family or have been granted the right to bear arms by the English monarch.
An armorial is a collection of descriptions of coats of arms and the families that bear them. It also briefly describes why the families are entitled to certain coats of arms. An armorial may also indicate early bearers of certain coats of arms, sometimes with familial relationships, birth dates, and other genealogical information. Each armorial will differ from others and will include different names. Be aware that some minor noble families are not included in any books. The following sources are of particular interest for Australia:
Low, Charles. A Roll of Australian Arms Corporate and Personal, Borne by Lawful Authority. Sydney, N.S.W., Australia: Rigby Limited, 1971. (Family History Library Call Number 994 D24.) This source lists many cities and individuals who are entitled to a coat of arms. It also includes color pictures of the coats of arms.
Puttock, Colonel A. G. Heraldry in Australia. Frenchs Fores, N.S.W., Australia: Child & Associates Publishing Pty Limited, 1988. (Family History Library Call Number 994 D6p.) This book contains information about the background and history of heraldry as it pertains to Australia.
The Family History Library has collected many armorials and much information about noble families. This information is located in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
[COUNTRY OF ORIGIN] - HERALDRY
[COUNTRY OF ORIGIN] - NOBILITY
In addition, noble families are often subjects of published genealogical books or articles. See the "Genealogy" article of this outline and the "Genealogy" and "Nobility" sections in the outlines for the countries of origin.