Crest Sources

Fairbairn's Book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland (Fairbairn, James; 1905 ed.)

Crestfinder is based on the fourth, and most comprehensive, edition of James Fairbairn's famous work on heraldry. Fairbairn was the first author to include images with blazons (the written descriptions of crests). Nevertheless, he supplied images for only half his entries so we are sourcing the rest from additional texts (see below) or directly from the families concerned. In addition, we are correcting Fairbairn's many errors (replicated in later editions of his book) in matching a blazon to its correct image. But we are not checking that Fairbairn was right to include every entry or that the listed families are, heraldically speaking, entitled to use the crests he identified. Our aim is to provide a comprehensive guide to the crests that families have actually used over the centuries. We are inviting visitors to submit crests registered after 1905 as they are obviously not included in Fairbairn's.

America Heraldica: A compilation of Coats of Arms, Crests and Mottoes of prominent American Families settled in this country before 1800 (Vermont, E de V, 1886)

Compiled by scholar E de V Vermont, America Heraldica is the first of several guides to the crests borne by American families that will be listed in Crestfinder. For historical reasons, American and British families share most crests but Vermont details those crests which are distinctly American in origin. We have made few corrections to the text and have not checked the accuracy of the information it contains. Further American crests will be added shortly.

Crests of the Colonial Gentry (Knight and Butler)

This rare book provided Crestfinder with many of the images missing from Fairbairn's. Families not listed in Fairbairn's will be added later in 2009.

Armorial Families (Fox Davies, A C; 1929)

The 1929 edition is the last and most detailed version of this famous work. Fox Davies devoted his life to preparing a directory of everyone entitled to bear arms (the so-called Armigerous). A family crest sits atop its coat of arms. Armorial Families supplied Crestfinder with images missing from Fairbairn's. Crests granted between 1904 and 1928 will be added later in 2009.

Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry (1939 ed.)

An additional source of images missing from Fairbairn's. Crests granted between 1904 and 1938 will be added later in 2009.

Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Gentry

Successive editions of this eminent reference work have supplied images to Crestfinder.
Crests granted to individuals up to the latest edition (published in 2006) will be added in due course.