Do you know what an allerion is? How about pattes or hawk’s jesses? Here’s a hint: These terms apply to the blazons or descriptions of coats of arms. For those of you who haven’t mastered heraldry lingo, Burke’s Peerage and Gentry has added a free guide to heraldic terms to its Web site. Visit <www.burkespeerage.com/articles/reindex.aspx> to access a glossary containing 600 alphabetized definitions.
Once you’ve cracked the coat-of-arms code, search the site’s coats-of-arms records collection at <www.burkespeerage.com/welcome.aspx> Check an alphabetical list of all records, or enter a term in the full-text search field. The advanced search option lets you combine search criteria to find specific data in the records. Results include family name, the current incumbent, start of the lineage and a link to the family home page. If you have a subscription and have logged on to the site, your search results include a link to the full record. Subscription details are at <www.burkespeerage.com/signup-info.aspx>.