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Medieval Shields and Crests - Heraldry and Heritage

What’s in a name? For those of us living in the United States, our surnames are our history and a great source of pride. Americans’ backgrounds and ancestries are very diverse, and originate from many other countries. From the pilgrims at Plymouth Rock to the influx of immigrants in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, we have the ability to trace our heritage and discover just who we are and where we came from.

Most of us descended from poor, working-class people who came to this country in search of a better life. They worked hard to make a living and were proud to be in America but at the same time the “old Author: Art Allencountry” and customs remained an important part of their daily lives. We’ve all heard the stories about how some of the more complex surnames were shortened and “Americanized” as these immigrants passed through Ellis Island. You can be sure that even with their edited names, these people never forgot their given names, or their heritage.

There are those who have discovered that they are descended from foreign royalty or from a long line of great warriors. While this probably didn’t make their new life in America any easier, it surely must have added an even greater sense of pride in their family histories.

Whatever the case, tracking your family surname and discovering your family crest and coat of arms can be a rewarding endeavor. There are many web sites to assist in your search. Some have a stock of more common surnames and crests and some do all of the research individually. There is usually a charge for the research and to receive the actual printed literature of your surname origin, it’s meaning, and the family crest and coat of arms.

Once received, you have many options to display your family crest. In medieval times, the family’s crest was painted onto a wood or metal shield used in battle. This served not only as protective device, but also to delineate between the sides involved, so that the warriors on each side would be identifiable to each other. The heraldry, meaning the actual display of the crest, could also define the fighter’s rank, and his right to bear arms.

These customized medieval shields are still available today. There are a variety of options, from the Family Crest (just the shield-shaped portion) or the entire Coat of Arms with all of the flourishes surrounding the crest included. The family name can be added on a banner across the top or bottom and a family motto can also be included, either in the language of origin or in its English version. Each section of the Coat of Arms has been meaning, from the designs on the crests, to the type of flourishes, to the figure at the top. These specify the heritage of each particular surname.

What better way to show your pride in your family heritage than with a bold heraldry display on a medieval style shield? They are different, they make a great gift, and they add a unique touch to the decor of any room.

Author: Art Allen is a Medieval Armor buff and design consultant for several online companies and an armor replica importing firm based in the US. Medieval Shields and Crests | Wholesale Medieval Shields
Article Source: http://www.article99.com/view-authors/track.php?bio=11330&author=Art-Allen

• Fireman Angels – Expression of Heroism

Have you had a chance to see The Firefighter’s Monument that was unveiled in the summer of 2006? It is a collage of the events that involved the New York Fire Department on 9/11. It is 56 feet long and is a bronze mass that has the names of the 343 NYFD personnel who gave their lives that day. It was dedicated to the firefighters “who fell and to those who carry on.” It rests on the site of “10 House”, the home of Engine Company 10 and Ladder Company 10, across Liberty Street from the World Trade Center.

All of us have heard the stories of 9/11. Even to say the word fireman, a person cannot help but associate the events of 9/11 to the profession. It is a job that could require a person to lay down his or her life for strangers and friends alike.

I have an uncle who is a fireman. I know that angels watch over him as he protects and serves his community. I am sure there have been many thoughts and prayers have kept him serving all of these years.

We drew names for Christmas last year and I…
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• What Determines Antique Doll Values

There are many factors in determining the value of an antique doll. I will try to cover some of the most important basics in this article.

Age - It may surprise you that age is not the determining factor in considering value of an antique doll. Certainly, if a doll is rare as well as old, the value increases. Is the doll readily available? Is the doll a one of a kind? It is interesting to note, that many 20th century mass produced dolls are more valuable than older, rarer dolls.

Completely Original? - If an antique doll is completely original, including all body parts, wig, eyes, clothing etc. it is much more valuable than many dolls we find today, that are “put together” dolls. This means that the doll has been recreated using an assortment of genuine antique parts, but the parts are not original to the actual doll. Finding a completely original doll today is becoming harder and harder to find, so don’t pass up a beautiful doll just because her clothing or wig may not be original.

Quality of the Doll - Two doll heads from the same doll mold can look very different, and have equally…
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• Take Great Photographs With Cameras - 7 Tips

Taking great photographs with today’s automatic cameras allows anyone to produce a sharp, well-exposed image. If you are just beginning to use an ‘auto-everything’ camera like a 35mm compact or program SLR then your main area of control is going to be in the composition of your photographs. No one can tell you how to take a great picture because it comes down to your ability to ‘see’ the potential to create a picture. Never-the-less, here are 7 tips and techniques you can use to improve the final look of your photographs. You will find some of the most popular, effective and easy to implement photo techniques, that you will be able to start using right away, to improve your picture taking.

Tip 1:  Read your camera manual, then read it again. Keep it with the camera and learn all of your camera’s features. The more familiar you become with what your camera will do the more you will be a photographer and not just a picture taker. The more your camera automatically becomes an extension of your eyes and fingers, the more you can concentrate on your photo before you take it.

Tip 2:  The Rule of…
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