The Greyling Family Coat of Arms

If you are here because of a internet search for the Greyling Coat of Arms, i am sorry to disappoint you. There is no such thing as a family crest for a specific surname. A family coat of arms is assigned to an individual and only his direct descendants may bear (use) the coat of arms as a family coat of arms. Any person who wishes to legally use a family crest in South Africa must register it with the Bureau of Heraldry. The registration requirements are governed by the Heraldry Act.

With regards to a coat-of-arms: A lot of it is myth. Few people who use a coat-of-arms and/or so-called family crest today have any right to do so. Armorial bearings do not belong to all persons of a given surname, but belong to and identify members of one particular family who has the legal right to the coat-of-arms. Coats-of-arms are a form of property and may rightfully be used only by the male-line descendants of the individual to whom they were first granted or allowed. Such grants were and are made by the appropriate heraldic authority.

Coats-of-arms were used by knights and the nobility. In some countries coats-of-arms were used by bishops, cities and merchants. These were granted to an individual or to the city.

Unfortunately, over the centuries, many families have simply assumed arms and/or crests belonging to other families of the same name, usually without authority and without demonstrating any relationship between the families. This is especially true in South Africa.

Well known South African Genealogist Cor Pama wrote a book, “Die Groot Afrikaanse Familienaamboek”, in which several so-called family coats of arms can be seen. These are fake and no one can claim them. It is extremely important to know this.

These so-called family crests have their origins in the 1930s and 1940s when they were published as a matter of pride in the then Brandwag magazine. It was to unite the people and to promote Afrikaner pride. These arms were designed by the author of the series of articles. People with copies of Pama’s book can look at the front for gray facsimiles of armorial plates. The author of the articles combined arms from the aforementioned facsimiles and published them in black and white. Pama coloured it.

Here is a detailed article on family arms in South Africa if you want to learn more about the history and use of Coats of Arms and Family Crests.