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goldie
01-03-11, 18:23
A couple of years ago I checked into getting my families coat of arms. I was told more than once there is no such thing in Finland. That there is only one that covers all of Finland. Does anyone know if this is true and the reason for there only being one? Is it still this way today? Thank you for any help.
Jonell

Jaska Sarell
01-03-11, 19:04
Noble families had them. There are 357 coats of arms on the walls of Riddarhuset (http://www.riddarhuset.fi/start)/Ritarihuone (http://www.ritarihuone.fi/fin/ritarihuone) (the House of Nobility) in Helsinki. See Ätter och vapen or Suvut ja vaakunat links to view them.
Besides some notable bourgeois families had coats of arms.

:) Jaska

diogenes99
02-03-11, 00:13
By "family coat of arms," people usually mean surname arms. You were told correctly, that there are no surname coats of arms in Finland. Neither are there surname coats of arms in any country except Poland, and they exist for only some family affiliations, and for some clans in Ireland. In Scotland and England and some other Commonwealth countries, arms are granted to individuals (not families) and they are inherited by descendants. In Germany, arms are freely adopted by individuals (occasionally by siblings), registered with local registration agencies, and are inherited by descendants. It should be clear why there are no surname coats of arms: there might be 1000 Smith individuals who have adopted different arms. So the "family name crest websites" are *all* scams.

You are in luck, though. Finland (and all Nordic heraldry) is in the Germanic heraldic tradition, and in that tradition coats of arms are quite common (it's not just a nobility thing). These are called burgher arms, and are adopted without any interference or approval by the government, and are registered privately. There is an active Finnish heraldry society that helps people design arms and register them. It would not be an exaggeration to say that heraldry in Finland is exploding in popularity. See the following link for examples of registered arms:

http://www.heraldica.fi/Toiminta/Rekisteri/kirja.htm

If you do not live in Finland, but want to design and register a coat of arms in honor of a recent Nordic ancestor for your own use, as well as for your descendants, then there is a good website for that. And for 45 euros, they will register your arms, so that others will not duplicate it in the future. See:

http://www.heraldik.se/heraldica/
http://joomla.heraldik.se/joomla/
http://www.heraldik.se/svk/

My coat of arms (http://www.heraldik.se/heraldica/user_files/MCS/2010418224558_swanold.gif)is currently under review by the group at the last link, and is progressing through the process. My advice is to join the discussion group http://www.heraldik.se/heraldica/, ask for help, and people will help you in English if you have a question and Nordic interests. Some of the people on the website draw the coats of arms for government agencies and individuals for a living, and have written heraldry books. One thing to remember about Nordic arms: their design rules require extreme simplicity, unlike UK arms. Think IKEA furniture vs Victorian furniture.

diogenes99
02-03-11, 01:06
To complete topic, check out the municipal arms of Finland. Whomever told you there was only one coat of arms, the national arms, had never been to Finland. Here is list of some of them:

http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luokka:Suomen_kuntien_vaakunat

Ritva Winter
02-03-11, 09:42
Officials used seals/signets of this kind. Might something like this be what you are looking for?

Dear me, depending on what page I'm looking on the picture can be seen - or not seen!

goldie
02-03-11, 16:35
Thank you Michael, Ritva and Jaska for all your help with this. The type I was interested in would be for the surname Kivisto.
Thank you again all for the wealth of information you have given me. It helps me out greatly.
Jonell

diogenes99
02-03-11, 17:48
Thank you Michael, Ritva and Jaska for all your help with this. The type I was interested in would be for the surname Kivisto.
Thank you again all for the wealth of information you have given me. It helps me out greatly.
Jonell

Just to be clear, there are no surname coats of arms.