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Family Legacy

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Over the past few years I have been thinking about my legacy, and currently I think about my family legacy, the idea of documenting and recording the history of my family so that future generations have a sense of belonging. In a time when people struggle to figure out their 'identity', I believe it to be important to offer something to future generations.

There are many traditions and stories I want to see recorded about my family, something I fear will otherwise be lost to time. There are stories for example about older family members that only I contain within my head. If I become forgetful or fate doesn't smile kindly upon me, these will be lost forever.

Record

I believe it is import to keep a record of family matters, as they will otherwise be lost to time.

Family Tree

I am really quite afraid this will soon be lost. The last remaining photo albums I'm aware of are with my Grandmother, passed on from my Great Grandmother. As far as I'm aware, some pictures exist of my Great Great Grandparents.

Spencer arms

Spencer arms

Apparently (although I am yet to verify this), I can trace my lineage to the Spencer (Spencer-Churchill) family, which would make me distantly related to the likes of Sir Winston Churchill and Princess of Wales Diana.

Coat of Arms

Like the Spencer family, I have always wanted to create a Coat of Arms for our family.

According to a BBC article from 2011, apparently the requirements are:

In England, where the Middleton's design was carried out, there are no fixed eligibility criteria for new commissions, but factors such as honours from the Crown, civil or military commissions, university degrees and professional qualifications and "eminence or good standing in national or local life" are taken into account.

In terms of cost, apparently this is in the range of £4k-£5k. According to a 2018 article by The Sun it can cost £6k. According to the College of Arms, it costs £7k.

For design, it appears to be quite simple according to the English Heritage website:

  1. A shield divided into sections. Each section would have an image in it that had something to do with the family the coat of arms was made for.
  2. On either side of the shield, there might be objects or animals - like the lion and unicorn in this coat of arms - that look as if they're holding it up. These are known as supporters.
  3. Above the shield was a helmet and a crest. A crest is a special object worn on top of a helmet to help identify who's wearing it.
  4. Below the shield was a phrase written in Latin, called a motto, about the person's beliefs.

As for influence I would like to see on my family's Coat of Arms...

Two of spades

Two of spades

The two of spades is of particular interest, as my Great Grandfather and the rest of my family would play Egyptian Rummy, a variation of Rummy my Great Grandfather learned in his time in Egypt. It also represents an amount of collected calculation in a seemingly random game of chance.

Local church

Local church

There is a Church in my local area that has stood for about 1000 years and is still in active use to this day. When lightning hit the Church and destroyed the roof many years ago, my Great Grandfather paid to have it repaired, despite not being a religious man. He understood why such things were worth preserving.

Other ideas include:

  • Animals - My close family have had many dogs over the years, so a dog could make for a nice edition. One issue is that it can be difficult to print or display a dog.
  • Windmill - The local area had a windmill many years ago, before it too was struck by lightning. (Come to think of it, many of the local buildings were struck by lightning and severely damaged!)
  • Engineering - Pretty much all of the men in my family historically have been some kind of engineer.
  • Soldiers - My family also have a long tradition of raising soldiers too, although it is less obvious how this could be easily illustrated.

I would probably ask a family member to draft some designs as they are exceptionally gifted with art.

Small Biography

I believe a few pictures and some stories that tell the character of the person would be awesome for remembering them. The more personable, the better. I have tonnes of fun stories of family members that are no longer with us that are worth telling. People tend to lead very rich lives, and it's worth capturing.

Distribution

The intention would be to get this published as a book and distributed amongst family members for safe keeping (and hopefully reading). It would be broken up into volumes (as necessary) and editions (as updates are made). New versions would need to be created when family members are born and family members die. Perhaps a new release every 5 years or so wouldn't be overly burdensome.