I discovered some very interesting facts tonight. My brother and I were preparing out Knights Costumes, and I was scanning in my 'Bear Rampant' that I designed years ago. We were both planning on having our Stevenson Family crest and stuff placed on one side of our costumes. Just to see if I could find it on-line (I already have a copy one of my cousins e-mailed me), to see if it says anything more about how we got it etc, I did a Google for it. I discoverd something about Scotish Heraldry which is a lot different to the rest of the nations on earth. The shields are owned by one person and are protected by copyright. You aren't allowed to use the shield UNLESS you are the rightful heir to it (which is the eldest son of the previous owner. There are some exceptions, like oldest SURVIVING son if the eldest son died and had no heirs themselves ... or eldest daughter if no 'son' survived). The family shield passes to them and NO ONE ELSE! In most other countries, any descendant of the shield/coat of arms is allowed to use it. Which means, I have zero right to use the family coat of arms, as it is the legal property of some other Stevenson somewhere (probably in Scotland). BUT, there is some other news. If I wish, I am actually allowed to petition Lord Lyon [in Edinburgh] in order to get my own Personal Coat of Arms. [Lord Lyon is in charge of them in Scotland. England, Wales, Ireland etc have their own registry of arms]. It also means the same thing for my brother Jeff. If he wants a family shield, he needs to petition for his own (which might be similar to my own). Of course, we need to prove our Scoish descent (easily enough done) and pay for the arms to be created, painted and several other fees. We also have to prove we are people worthy of them (ie, no criminal records etc). If we had of stuck the arms we had been e-mailed on our costumes, we could even have been sued! Here is a nice quote as well: 'The misappropriation or unauthorised display of a man's coat of arms is a "real injury" under the Common Law of Scotland.' So, I am glad we discovered this BEFORE we stuck those arms on! My younger brother is now going with a BLACK PEGASUS RAMPANT on his red and white costume. [Rampant means it's rearing up ... in case you didn't know!] I'm planning on placing my RED BEAR RAMPANT on one of the white quarters, and I was trying to get a Blue Unicorn done for the other side ... but the scanner has decided to have an heart attack and has ceased functioning! Ptthtth! Anyway, I feel after tomorrow our costumes will most likely be finished! :-) It's also got my brother and I wondering if we should petition for our own coat of arms. As we are decended from someone who owned a coat of arms, ours will have something to do with it. The good thing is, it'd be my very own arms, and no one else on the planet would be allowed to use it. I just wonder how much it really does cost. Hmmmmmm.