Finney Coat of Arms
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Which coat of arms or "family crest" is mine?
Choose the design you like best, just your ancestors did when they painted these symbols on the shields they carried into battle and displayed in their homes. These coats of arms are real, historical works of art/culture dating back as far as 1100AD. Most of these designs were compiled and documented by genealogists and heraldists in large books published in the nineteenth century. These arms were owned by individuals who bore your surname, and were passed down through the generations from father to son, earning the monicker "family crest".
Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Finney Name
The name Finney is of Gaelic/Irish origin and considered patronymic as it is derived from the medieval Irish name O’ Fiannaidh . O’ Fiannaidh is a compound of two medieval Gaelic elements. “O” as a prefix on any Irish name translates to mean “son of” the suffix in this name, Fianna, translated to “deer”.
Surnames in Britain prior to the Norman conquest were largely unheard of. In the small settlements and villages which existed during earlier times, residents found little need for surnames as everyone in these communities new each other and a given name would usually suffice. However, with the passage of time, population growth and expansions of communities as villages gave way to towns and cities, it became necessary to add a qualifier to a people’s names to distinguish them, one from another. Therefore one person may have been identified by their given name plus their occupation while another may have been identified by their given name and one of their parent’s names. The introduction of surnames by the Norman aristocracy after the invasion seemed to be the next logical step in this evolution. There was a boundless supply from which surnames could be formed, in addition to the use of patriarchal/matriarchal names or reference to the individuals occupation, there were things such as defining physical traits, a familiar geographical location or a topographical landmark found near the individuals home or birthplace, the name of the village in which the person lived, and so much more. Soon, surnames would come not just to represent an individual but whole families.
There often exists variations in spelling of many surnames, as with many given names which date back to the early centuries. The variation in spelling of both given and surnames during this time period can be attributed to a lack of continuity regarding guidelines for spelling which was compounded by the diversity of languages in use in European countries at this time. The variations in the spelling of the surname Finney include but not limited to; Finney; Feany; Fenney; Feanay; Finnay; Feaney; Finny; Fynnie; Fynney; Feenay; and Feeny, among others.
The earliest record of any variation of this surname is that of Teag O’ Feinneadha which appears in the province of Connacht Annals of 1603. These annals, not unlike the tax rolls in Britain, were a series of census and tax records kept by the English Treasury by order of King James VI, with the oldest dating back to the 12th century. They hold the distinction of being the oldest consecutive set of records detailing English governance in the United Kingdom. These records span a period of over 700 years and have proven invaluable to researches over the years. Additionally, official records show Mary Fenney was christened in Cheshire in 1654 and Thomas Phennah was christened in 1742.
The first recorded immigrant to America bearing the surname or any variation of the spelling was William Finney who arrived in 1671 and settled in Maryland. Robert Finney landed and settled in Massachusetts in 1687 and Mary Finney arrived and settled in Virginia in 1695.
There were also many immigrants to the British Common Wealth countries of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand bearing the surname Finney. Peter Finney landed in 1784 and settled in Ontario, Canada. John Finney arrived in 1851 and settled in Adelaide, Australia. Alexander and Phynia Finney and their children Annie and Mary arrived in 1874 and settled in Auckland, New Zealand.
Worldwide, the highest concentration of people with the surname Finney are found in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Canada, and Ireland . By state, the largest percentile of those with the surname Finney live in Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Nebraska, Tennessee, and Virginia.
There are many persons of note who bear the surname Finney. The author, Jack Finney was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is a noted author of both thrillers and science fiction. Finney’s best known works are The Body Snatchers and Time and Again. Twelve of Finney’s books and short stories have been made into movies, television shows, or been the inspiration for movies.
Albert Finney was born in Lancashire, England and attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, upon graduation he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, first appearing on the London stage in 1958. Finney has been in forty-three movies, he has been nominated for an Academy Award five times, and has won multiple acting awards including; BAFTA, Golden Globe, Emmy, and Screen
Actors Guild. For his contribution to the arts, Finney was offered an Order of the British Empire in
1980 and Knighthood in 2000. Due to his own personal convictions and beliefs, Finney declined both.
Finney Coat of Arms Meaning
The three main devices (symbols) in the Finney blazon are the marlet, mullet and chevron. The three main tinctures (colors) are sable, gules and or .
Sable, the deep black so often found in Heraldry is believed to named from an animal of the marten family know in the middle ages as a Sabellinœ and noted for its very black fur 1A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable. In engravings, when colors cannot be shown it is represented as closely spaced horizontal and vertical lines, and appropriately is thus the darkest form of hatching, as this method is known 2Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy 3The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35.
Red in heraldry is given the name Gules, sometimes said to be the “martyr’s colour”4The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P36. The colour is also associated with Mars, the red planet, and the zodiacal sign Aries 5Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53. Later heralds of a more poetical nature would sometimes refer to the colour as ruby, after the precious stone.6A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P77.
The bright yellow colour frequently found in coats of arms is known to heralds as Or, or sometimes simply as Gold.7Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 27. Along with, argent, or silver it forms the two “metals” of heraldry – one of the guidelines of heraldic design is that silver objects should not be placed upon gold fields and vice versa 8A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P85. The yellow colour is often associated with the Sun, and the zodiacal sign of Leo.9Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53.
The martlett is by far the most common bird to appear in British Heraldry, perhaps only equalled by the eagle, however it is not a species ever to be found in an ornithologists handbook! The word itself is though to have come from the French word merlette, the female blackbird and itself a similar type of charge used in French Heraldry. 10A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Martlet. Over time the image has become quite stylised, without visible legs or distinctive feathers. Wade suggests that this representation arises from “the appearance of the bird of paradise to ancient travellers” 11The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P79. Other bird species may be named in coats of arms (cornish chough is a frequent example) but in actual execution their appearance is often indistinguishable from the martlet.
The heraldic mullet, not to be confused with the fish of that name, is shown as a regular, five pointed star. This was originally, not an astronomical object, but represented the spur on a horseman’s boot, especially when peirced, with a small circular hole in the centre it represents a type of spur known as a “rowel” 12Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 97. A clear example can be found in the arms of Harpendene, argent, a mullet pierced gules. The ancient writer Guillim associated such spurs in gold as belonging to the Knight, and the silver to their esquires 13A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P107. In later years, Wade linked this five pointed star with the true celestial object, the estoile and termed it a “falling star”, symbolising a “divine quality bestowed from above” 14The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P105.
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 15A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, (various), or additional cross-pieces used to strengthen the shield and painted a different colour.16The 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” 17The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P45, possibly becuase of its resemblance to the roof truss of a house.