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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) (Hull, co. Devon; seven descents are recorded in the Visit, of 1620). (co. Pembroke, an ancient family in that co.; Harcourt Ford Holcombe, Esq., Lieut.-Col. Royal Artillery, and C.B., descended from a younger branch of Holcombe, of Hull, settled in co. Pembroke nearly two centuries ago). Az. a chev. ar. betw. three men’s heads in profile, couped at the shoulders or, wreathed about the temples sa. and of the second. Crest—A man’s head fullfaced, couped at the breast ppr. wreathed round the temples or and az.
2) Same Arms. Crest—A serpent nowed, holding in the mouth a garland of laurel ppr.

Origin, Meaning, Family History and Holcomb Coat of Arms and Family Crest

Holcomb Origin:

England

Origins of Holcomb:

The surname of Holcomb can be traced to the country of England. The meaning of the surname of Holcomb comes from the Pre 7th Century Old English words of “hol” which can be translated to mean “hollow” or “deep” and “cumb” which can be translated to mean “valley.” The words “hol” and “cumb” together can be translated to mean “a deep valley.” In this meaning, the surname is topographical. A topographical surname is used to describe someone who lived on or near a residential landmark. This landmark could be either man made or natural, and would have been easily identifiable in the area from which it hailed, thus making the people who lived near it easily distinguished. Another possible meaning of the surname of Holcomb is that it is a locational surname. This means that the surname of Holcomb was often taken by the Lord or owner of the land from which the name derives. Others who may have take a locational surname are people who have migrated out of the area to seek out work. The easiest way to identify someone who was a stranger at that time was by the name of their birthplace. In the case of the surname of Holcomb, there were many parishes and towns known by the name of Holcomb within the country of England.

Variations:

More common variations are: Holcombe, Holocomb, Hollcomb, Holcomba, Holecomb, Holocomeb, Holocoomb, Hoelcomb

History:

England:

The surname of Holcomb can be traced to first appear in the country of England. The first recorded mention of the surname of Holcomb can be found in the ancient era of England, before the Norman Invasion of 1066. The family of Holcomb held a seat in the county of Devon. Those who bore the surname of Holcomb originated in the county of Devon, and spread throughout the country. The areas with the largest concentration of people who bore the surname of Holcomb can be found in the counties of Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Dorset, Lancashire, and the areas in and around the city of London.

United States of America:

During the 1600’s, it became common for European citizens to migrate to the United States of America in search of a better life for them and their families. The United States of America, which at that time was commonly known as The New World, and The Colonies, promised a life filled with better and more sanitary living conditions, the promise of new jobs, the promise of the availability to own and reside on land, and the promise of religious freedom. This movement of people to the New World was referred to as The Great Migration. Among those who migrated to America was a person who bore the surname of Holcomb. The first person who was recorded to bear the surname of Holcomb in the United States was one Thomas Holcomb, who arrived in Nantucket, Massachusetts in the year of 1630. Those who bear the surname of Holcomb within the United States can be found in high concentrations in the states of New York, Connecticut, Georgia, Texas, Ohio, South Carolina, Alabama, Kentucky and Michigan.

 

Here is the population distribution of the last name Holcomb: United States 32,547; Canada 114; Australia 45; United Arab Emirates 23; Scotland 20; New Zealand 7; Russia 6; South Africa 3; Germany 3; South Korea 2

Notable People:

Sara Holcomb (born in 1960) who is an actress from the United States of America

Bobby Holcomb (1947-1991) who is a musician and artist from the United States of America

Drew Holcomb, who was a songwriter and singer from the United States of America

William Robert “Bob” Holcomb (1922-2010) who was an attorney, as well as being a politician from the United States of America

Raed Elhamali Holcomb (born in 1979) who is a professional basketball player from America

Stuart K. Holcomb (1910-1977) who was a football and basketball coach who was from the United States of America

Amasa Holcomb (1787-1875) who was surveyor, farmer, businessman, civil engineer, and manufacturer from the United States of America, who manufactured surveying instruments

Roscoe Holcomb (1912-1981) who was a banjo player, guitarist, and singer from the United States of America

Corey Holcomb, who was a stand-up comedian, actor, and radio host from the United States of America

General Thomas Holcomb (1879-1965) who served as a Commandant of the United States Marine Corps from the year of 1936 to the year of 1943, and who hailed from the United States of America

Holcomb Coat of Arms Meaning

The two main devices (symbols) in the Holcomb blazon are the man’s head and chevron. The two main tinctures (colors) are argent and azure.

Argent is the heraldic metal Silver and is usually shown as very pure white. It is also known more poetically as pearl, moon (or luna) 1Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 2A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11.

The bright, strong blue color in Heraldry is known in English as azure, and similarly in other European languages – azul in Spanish, azurro in Italian and azur in French. The word has its roots in the Arabic word lazura, also the source of the name of the precious stone lapis lazuli 3A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Azure. Despite this, those heralds who liked to associate colours with jewels chose instead to describe blue as Sapphire. According to Wade, the use of this colour symbolises “Loyalty and Truth” 4The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36.

Heraldry is a human art, by and for people and it is not surprising that people themselves are frequently depicted in arms 5Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P174. Often these are images of knights and men-at-arms, or individual limbs, such as the “three armoured right arms argent” shown in the arms of Armstrong 6Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 60. As well as the nobility however, we also see both the mundane, ploughmen, fishermen and reapers; and the exotic in the form of club wielding savages and the Moorish or Saracen gentleman with his decorative wreathed turban 7A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P168.

The chevron is one the major shapes used upon a shield, known as ordinaries. The inverted ‘V’ of the chevron is perhaps thought to have originated to represent a military scarf folded on the shield 8A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, (various), or additional cross-pieces used to strengthen the shield and painted a different colour.9The Pursuivant of Arms, J. R. Planche, Hardwicke, London 1859. It has also acquired the meaning of “Protection… granted… to one who has achieved some notable enterprise” 10The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P45, possibly becuase of its resemblance to the roof truss of a house.

5 Comments

  • Arlie Alfred Holcomb says:

    Why the three men’s heads coupes at the shoulder?

    • John Lehman says:

      Arlie,

      Great question! I assume heads were used instead of full bodies perhaps merely because it fits on the shield better. Typically if a Wildman or savage (full bodied figure) is used, it’s only one man I think. it would be hard to fit three wildman on an arms. That could be a reason, or someone from the family may have been beheaded in the past, or; and this is the most likely; they simply wanted to use men’s heads because they liked them. A coat of arms actually meaning something is not as common as you might think. By the 17th/18th century people were running out of charges to put on their arms. They wanted simple arms, because they looked older, but were left with few choices as to which charges to choose.

      • charlotte holcomb says:

        what do the three heads represent on the holcomb coat of arms?

        • Coat of Arms Database says:

          According to genealogy.com: “The wreaths around the heads indicate probably SARACEN, ancient enemy of Christianity, whom the HOLCOMBES opposed. SIR JOHN HOLCOMBE, first found recorded in the Visitations of England, served in the War of the Crusades to Palestine, where in the 3rd Crusade (1187-1191 A. D.) in battle Sir John beheaded three Turks with one stroke of the sword, for which he was knighted by KING RICHARD, which explains the three Turks on the Holcombe Coat of Arms.”

          • Hunter Holcombe says:

            That is correct, the three heads are for the three men that were beheaded by one swing of Sir John’s sword in the Crusades

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References   [ + ]

1. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53
2. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11
3. A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Azure
4. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36
5. Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P174
6. Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 60
7. A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P168
8. A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, (various)
9. The Pursuivant of Arms, J. R. Planche, Hardwicke, London 1859
10. The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P45