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Family History: Crest and Motto

Arms

Argent;
on a cross gules, a lion passant
between four martlets of the first;
in each quarter a sword erect
of the second.

Crest top of helmet,
plume or tuft on same, worn above field
or escutcheon of coat of arms.

Motto

“Cor unum, via una”,
which is latin for “One heart, one road”.

Interpretation and General Discussion

The above crest, also used as part of the website banner (see at top-left of the webpage), is a modern-day rendering of the Nolan family crest created by James Joseph Nolan of New York. The earliest known rendering of the Nolan family crest first appeared along the edge of an ornamented map of the city of Galway presented to Charles II soon after his restoration as king in the early 1660s.

The motto "Cor unum via una" was only added to the coat of arms much later as part of a granting of arms to the Nolan family of Ballinderry and can loosely be interpreted to mean that, as we journey together as a people, we strive to be of one heart, one spirit.

The process of creating coats of arms (also often called family crests) began in the eight and ninth centuries and was well-established when the Anglo-Normans came to Ireland in the 12th century. Even though the motto associated with the family crest is relatively clear, it is difficult to attach precise meaning to the symbols used in the family's coat of arms. Following is the heraldic interpretation, based upon tradition, of the colours and symbols used in the family's Coat of Arms:

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