Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Dyckman Coat of Arms

In May 2009, I attended a workshop on Heraldry at my local genealogy society (CGS). James Terzian was the speaker from the Heraldry Foundation. Here is a definition of the term taken from a websiteHeraldry is a system of identification of individuals and families based on hereditary devices (or "charges") centered on the shield. The whole idea of decorated arms and shields came about at the time of the crusades when societies were semi-literate so using images was very important. Richard I, "the Lion-Hearted", carried a shield emblazoned with three golden lions on a red background. Heraldry was made famous during the reign of Eleanor of Aquitaine in Northwest France where the display of arms was a common royal affair. She represented a rule incorporating the arts and troubadours offering plenty of opportunities to display these heraldic symbols in ceremonial fashion.

These events were referred to as tournaments and were used for training in the handling of weapons and horses, and evolved into a pageantry form in which the bearing of arms was a major part of the ceremony.  An excellent film from 1968, The Lion in Winter, gives a feel for the time period when knights and arms were the rage. To sum up, once used to identify knights on the battlefield (essential after the development of the closed helmut) then became known as a means to identify one's noble status, the practice of heraldry eventually became to be associated with anyone who had assets not just royalty.

Even Princess Diana has a coat of arms shown here.You can see other arms of the British royal family on the blog site where I source this image.

In regards to the DYCKMAN arms shown above, I asked Mr. Terzian what the symbols might mean. He thought they had an overall 'new world' meaning. The image of wheat could refer to wealth and the image of the shovel could refer to industry. I see the broken chain as possibly showing a freeing of some kind. Any other ideas?
Source of the Dyckman image above: The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Volume 34 , page 23.