The Council of Scottish Armigerous Clans and Families

























There have been a number of questions from members of the Councils Social Network about how they can trace "The Known Living Armigers of the Armigerous Clan", as required under our Constitution to elect an armiger to become a full member of the Council. This Article intends to give prospective Armigerous Clans some helpful notes and guidance on how to achieve this. You can discuss this article on the Councils Social Network

Responsibility of Tracing The Known Armigers of The Armigerous Clan

In each case it is the responsibility of the Clan Society, or when this is not possible, the Armigers to co-ordinate the search for the known  living Armigers of the Armigerous Clan. It is understood and accepted by the Council that in the case of certain Armigerous Clans they will be able to trace all living armigers with ease, whereas for others this may be a resource intensive and long term project. If the Clan falls into the latter category, providing the Clan Society or the Armigers of the Clan can demonstrate to the Committee of the Council that they have taken all reasonable efforts to trace their armigers. this will not preclude them from electing a Council member. The Council will not undertake genealogical research to trace armigers under any circumstances as this is the sole responsibility of Clan Society. In addition, this article is for guidance, it is up to Armigerous Clan Societies to trace their living armigers by appropriate means.

Tracing Recent Armigers

The only place which contains details of all arms granted by the Lyon Court since 1672 is The Public Register of Armorial Bearings which, in the case of recent arms granted (since 1973), must be done in person (see for details). It is possible to search the register of arms to identify the Armigers of your armigerous clan. Where these armigers have been granted arms recently, the first source of recent armigers is by searching the internet. Although we advise that you be careful where you look. Web-sites such as are full of inaccurate entries. Instead we would recommend the following web-sites:-

Tracing the Descendants of Historical Armigers

At various times in history persons of each Armigerous Clan, since 1672 may have been granted by the Lord Lyon. The general rule is that arms should be re-matriculated or re-registered with Lyon Court at least every three generations. Unfortunately, the heirs and successors of persons granted arms historically may never have re-matriculated arms. If the original grantee of arms matriculated arms it may be extremely difficult to ascertain who is the lawful successor to the arms. If the original arms were granted in 1902, it may be relatively easy to identify the successor to the arms by carrying out genealogical research using

The basic principle is that they go to eldest son to eldest son, but succession is an area of Scots Law which needs to be examined on a case by case basis. If there are only daughters, the eldest daughter would inherit the arms, but again each case must be examined on its own merits. It would then be for the Clan Society to contact the few individuals who are most likely to have a claim to the arms and encourage them to re-matriculate. Once the paper trail has been established between the original grantee of arms and their successor it is possible for them to send this information to the Lyon Court with their petition for arms. Under the Council Constitution, it is not sufficient for the Clan Society to present the paper trail to the Council Committee and nominate the person the paper trail leads to for membership of the Council. This is because it is up to the Lord Lyon and not the Council as to who is the rightful claimant to arms. Until this is decided by Lyon, the Council cannot intervene.

It is now possible to search for historical arms using under coat of arms search. A scanned image of each letters patent detailing a painting of the arms and the descent of the person to whom they were granted is available at a price of 10 per entry.

To help find armigers of your Armigerous Clan, we recommend the following books:-

  • Sir James Balfour Paul, Lord Lyon King of Arms (1969, first published 1903). An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland, (2nd edition, paperback reprint). Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co.


  • David Reid of Robertland and Vivien Wilson (1977). An Ordinary of Arms, volume 2 [1902-1973]. Edinburgh: Lyon Office.

The first entry above contains all armorial bearings granted by Lyon Court between 1672 and 1903 and the second covers the period 1904 until 1973. Unfortunately, there is no ordinary which covers the period 1973 until 2010. and are good web-sites to buy reprinted versions of these books inexpensively.




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