The fascination of Heraldry.
I made a very surprising and exciting discovery! One of the elusive families on our tree had a coat of arms and crest!
An extract taken from the "Genealogical and Family History of the STATE OF MAINE, vol lll" for the name of PULSEVER / PULSIFER reads:
"The coat-of-arms is given in Rietstap: De gu, a'une aigle de profil d'or le vol leve perchee sur un serpent de sin, ondoant en forme de S pose en bends la tete en haut.
Crest: Un lion ramp patti d'or et de gu tenant de ses pattes un demi-vol de gu."
I have spent some time cudgelling my tired brain to recall snippets of rusty school-girl French, and I have a vague perception of what the extract might mean, although I will be delighted if there are any experts out there who can give me an informed translation.
I have also discovered some marvellous web-sites that offer great insight into the origins and symbolism of heraldry. Better yet there is a seemingly endless supply of heraldic images and many of the sites encouraged me to have a go at designing my own crest and shield.
It must be noted that an armorial device may be awarded to a specific individual, but never to a surname, and descendants do not have an automatic right to employ a previous bearers coat of arms. To do so constitutes an offence and, theoretically could result in prosecution; however, it is enormously entertaining to while away a wet afternoon designing a personal version just for fun.
For the mariner ROWSE family of Brixham, with its documented two hundred year history of living by the sea, the temptation proved too much, and the result just had to be fish and ships!!