KNOLES / NOLES
The subject of family crests or coats-of-arms can be somewhat confusing and is certainly misunderstood by most Americans. There are companies that will provide you with color renditions of a crest on good quality paper (or perhaps on a wooden plaque) for about $40 and up, just by specifying a surname. However, the crest they provide for a given surname is probably not for your ancestor or anybody's ancestor in some cases.
The use of coats-of-arms was established in the middle ages to identify a particular warrior on the field of battle (much like we use flags today). The design was actually registered to that individual and would be unique for that individual. When he died, his crest was not necessarily passed on, but it often was passed down with some design variation and then re registered for the son or son-in-law (whoever inherited the rights to the design). To make a long complicated story short, the family crests that you see today are generally reproductions of a crest that was registered to a specific man, not a family name; e.g. Knowles. Therefore, many people today tend to adopt a crest that was registered to a known ancestor (if one exists). Others, simply buy a crest that has been associated with a particular surname not knowing whether the crest was for their ancestor or not. Hence, the need to know for whom a particular crest was registered.
The crest on the Association’s letterhead, reports, etc. has been adopted (unofficially) by the Association. This design was associated with a member of the Knowles family from Bolton, Lancashire, England in the middle ages. We haven’t found the exact registration as yet. The Knowles/Knoles/Noles Family Association was originally established by descendants of Edmund “Old Silverhead” Knowles (1685-1762) who immigrated to the American Colonies in 1699/1700 from Bolton. The crest being used by the Association was not registered to “Old Silverhead”; however, it is generally assumed that it belonged to one of his ancestors.
The Association is now open to all Knowles families (all spellings), so the crest used by the Association is not the ‘right’ crest for everyone, if they are trying to make sure the crest belonged to one of their direct line ancestors. In other words, if you desire is to have an ‘authentic’ crest for your family line, you need to have an established genealogy and then research the use of crests for members of that particular line in the middle ages.
A couple points concerning crests:
At some point in the future, the Association may publish a much more definitive document concerning Knowles crests and may even offer prints and/or things (such as coffee mugs) with a crest printed on them. Stay Tuned!
One final comment: If all you want is a crest that is for some Knowles, no matter who, you might contact Somewhere In Tyme from Cook, Minnesota 55723 at 1-877-408-1596 (toll free) or on the internet at:
Somewhere In Tyme sells professionally done crests on various surfaces. Just remember the crest you get is not necessarily a historical document, does not represent any genealogical work on their part and most likely will NOT be a crest belonging to your Knowles ancestor from the middle ages.
The following gallery of crests is posted here to provide you with some sense of Knowles crests that have been produced over the years:
Knowles Felt Patch
Scanned Image of Knowles Patch produced by J & B Enterprises (approx. actual size)
Original Knowles Crest
Knowles Crest from Bolton, Lancashire, England Knowles Families
This B & W rendering of the Knowles Crest was previously used by the
This rendering of the crest and shield for a complete C-O-A
Knowles Crest from England
Date of last edit:
Sunday, August 27, 2006