Clark Family Arms

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My father, Donald L. Clark, was a genealogy buff. He did a lot of research on our family tree, and although I did not outwardly show much interest in it (a father-son thing, you know), I found it actually quite fascinating. I greatly surprised him once, when I dug up a copy of my great-grandmother Rose Whitney's wedding certificate from Orange County, CA, vital records.

It was in honor of his interest in genealogy that I designed this family coat of arms — which is entirely unsanctioned by any arms-granting organization, by the way. My father died young (only 46 years old!) in 1976, and I designed the arms in 1978. At that time I was serving in the US Army, stationed at Ft. Lewis, and I painted the original using acrylics onto a canvas posterboard.


The shield is divided vertically into two halves, and horizontally into five stripes of equal width. The stripes are blue and white, alternating so that the left starts with blue at the top for three blue and two white stripes. The right is complementary, with three white and two blue stripes. A realistically-drawn oak tree appears in the middle of the shield, with its roots bare. Surmounting the shield is a knight's helmet draped with a mantling of blue and gray, the blue being on the outward side of the mantling. The crest is an oak leaf and acorn atop a torse or wreath of blue and white.

Note that the particular style of the knight's helmet would normally indicate a rank. According to the Wikipedia article on the helmet as used in heraldry

Open-visored or barred helmets are typically reserved to the highest ranks of nobility, while lesser nobility and burghers typically assume closed helms. See Helmet (heraldry).

Thus the closed helm is appropriate.


A blazon is "a formal description of a coat of arms". This is a very complicated subject, as a visit to Wikipedia on the subject of Heraldry quickly demonstrates.

I will not attempt a blazon of the whole achievement, but will give one for the shield:

Barry of five azure and argent, counterchanged per pale, an oak tree eradicated proper.

The Symbology

The two halves of the shield represent my father's two biological children, my brother and I. The five stripes represent the five generations of family history that he managed to research before his death. The tree represents the field of genealogy itself (i.e. family trees), and its roots are visible because of the "roots" that he uncovered. The tree is an oak because of our partial descent from California Indians, for whom the oak was a principle source of food, and this motif is repeated in the crest, with the oak leaf and the acorn, acorns being the part of the oak that were used for food. The helmet represents my father's service in the United States Marine Corps and the Air Force Reserve.

The colors blue and white were not chosen for any particular reason, other than for appearance. My favorite color is blue, if you insist upon knowing! The blue of the mantling is purposefully a lighter shade of blue so as to contrast better against the blue of the shield.

Copyright 2013

For the purpose of protection of this personal symbol, I have copyrighted it. All rights reserved, and so on.