John Anderson (1700)

The coat of arms of John Anderson of Watertown, Massachusetts.

The Arms of John Anderson: Or, on a chevron Gules, between thee hawks' heads erased Argent, three acorns, slipped of the last, on a canton Sable, three martlets of the third.

John Anderson came to British North America in 1700.

The Coat of Arms Blazoned: Or, on a chevron gules, between thee hawks’ heads erased argent, three acorns, slipped of the last, on a canton sable, three martlets of the third.
Crested: A falcons’ head, of the shield
Motto: Vigila.  (I am alert).

The arms were most likely awarded in England by the College of Arms of Great Britain.

As cited in the 1904 Edition of Crozier’s General Armory; William Armstrong Crozier, Fox Duffield & Company, New York.

The coat of arms shown here is a very low resolution example used for illustration of the basic design of the heraldic arms and crest. If you need a bigger (and prettier) version of this coat of arms or that of one of your ancestors, please contact me. You may leave a comment below stating what you need and I’ll send you an email within 48 hours. If you don’t hear back within 48 hours, please check the spam folder of your email client. For best results put on your safe domains list.

Coat of Arms with Anderson Family Crest

What was the Coat of Arms of the Watertown family from Massachusetts?

Or, on a chevron Gules, between thee hawks’ heads erased Argent, three acorns, slipped of the last, on a canton Sable, three martlets of the third.

Originally posted 2011-02-06 10:43:43.

William Almy (1630)
Roger Alling (1639)


  1. Really like your representations of Crests and Coats of Arms,
    I come from the Anderson Family which registered this Coat of Arms. They were from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, in England and were known as the Anderson branch from Haswell Grange, Durham , later building nearby Elemore Hall.Made fortune from the 1st Cabal of fuel, being first Hostmen in Newcastle controlling the mining and price of coal as well as charging those taking coal from the River Tyne to London also owned mines, were Merchant adventurers and set up the Muscovy Company in Russia.
    What intrigues me is that the original arms are as Johns 1st, but with 3 black falcons or eagles erased. Plus the moto was Nil desperandum Auspice Deo. I know within families cantons were usually applied to distinguish different family members, but why put the 1st quarter 3 martlets argent on a black background.
    I won`t get into the genealogical holy grail into establishing who and where the First settlers in the US in the 17th century,i.e Virginia came from. But the original coat of arms including the first quarter was from an ancestral family relation, what does the significance of the 1st quarter mean if any?. Thankyou.

  2. Thanks for writing in and your kind comments.

    There are two reasons I know of why the canton (that element which is just a little smaller than a quarter of the field) is used in coats of arms.

    First, it may be awarded as an augmentation that is, a recognition for some great service. Sometimes these cantons where charged with some element that alluded to the nature of the service, but often they were just empty.

    The other reason is as marks of difference which allow a junior branch of the family to use the original arms (albeit with the slight modification of the canton). Since British arms have an existing system for denoting the arms of junior sons, called marks of cadence, it can usually be assumed it is not simply used for traditional father – son inheritance of the arms.

    Occasionally a young man of lesser standing would marry into a greater house and he would assume the arms (and last name) of his new wife’s family. While all the children of this marriage would be considered to come from his wife’s line, the man himself would be in a half-way status. He could bear the new family’s arms, but they would be charged with a canton for distinction. If his child was to eventually inherit the undifferentiated arms, they may take the arms without the canton, but if an elder relative had rights to those arms instead, then the canton might remain and be passed down.

    If we assume that what is placed upon the canton in these arms is an actual coat of arms, being Sable, three martlets Argent, we find those arms belonged to Whickstede de Marbury which were recorded in A Chester Ordinary of Arms (1629). So perhaps there was some connection between those two families which is being revealed by this coat of arms.

    It is interesting how heraldry can give us such hints into genealogy, however, they can only ever be taken as hints, as the meanings are rarely uniform and are often unreliable. One might be shown places to look, but other forms of research would be required to verify any theories.

    I hope this helps.

  3. Thank you for your time for replying to my query, your information will help me greatly. The inference to not take even the variety of heritage symbols as primary evidence but a clue to be taken with greater historical research is vital advice to all.
    Thank you, respectfully yours A. Clark


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