Family enblems

Origin of the family enblem

The origin of the European family enblems is the knight's coat of arms in the Middle Age. In old German, the word weapon described the knight's whole fighting and protection equipment. The armour protected on one side, but made it impossible to distinguish enemy and friend on the other side. Therefore, the knight needed a personal enblem, placed on the shield, the helmet, the coat, the horse's coat, the flag or the seal.

From the coat of arms to the family enblem

When the culture of the knights disappeared by the end of the 14th century, the enblems on the coat of arms survived and became independent.

These enblems were first used by noble, later by all kinds of European families as a sign of their origin. The family enblem was born.

The heraldry

The word heraldry comes from the tasks of the medieval herald who made important announcements and maintained order in the knight's tournaments.

Today the heraldry includes the study, the art and the rights connected to the coats of arms and family enblems.

Different family enblems

Respecting the rules of the heraldry, a family enblem mustn't be used unless it can be traced down to the direct ancestors having used it on objects, paintings, seals or graves. A thorough family reasearch might be necessery to find out.

If the family research can't reveal a definded family enblem, a new one is often made. It can use elements of existing enblems, but has to differ clearly from the original in colors or details. Therefore, similar family enblems in different colors are often found.

Some Morgenthaler families in Switzerland or in Germany have such family enblems which are collected here.

From places in the canton Bern

From places in the canton Aargau

Source for some of these enblems:

Enblems in use

Help this collection of Morgenthaler enbems grow! Please send scans or digital photographs to the page author.