Coats of Arms


Upcher Coat of Arms: "Argent, on a chevron Azure, between three foxe's heads erased Gules, as many pears slipped Or.

Crest: On a wreath Argent and Gules a plume of five ostrich feathers alternately Argent and Or, before them a unicorn's head cropped Azure, gorged with a ducal coronet Or.

Motto: Praestat opes sapientia - "virtue by wisdom."

Thanks to Malcolm Felmingham who provided the basic black-and-white drawing, which I altered and colorized. Thanks also to Ted Brooke, who allowed me to use the original version of this coat of arms from the cover of his Upshaw Family Journal.

This coat of arms was registered by the Upcher family in England and is the closest thing the Upshaw family has to a coat of arms. However, since we believe that the arms were registered in the Eighteenth Century, long after the North American Upshaw branch of the family split off, and since Coats of Arms are registered to individuals and not to extended families, the rules of heraldry strictly applied do not allow us to use this coat of arms in an official manner since it was not registered by our direct ancestor. Thus, I offer it here for your historical interest (unless you are an Upcher, in which case it is likely yours to use).

Coat of Arms

Coat of Arms graphic

Another coat of arms for the Upshaw family has been provided by at least one commercial purveyor of heraldry and genealogy information. However, the purveyor in question, Halbert's, located in Bath, Ohio, is believed by many of its customers to have provided fraudulent data to them and not to be reliable as a source of legitimate family information. For more information about their reportedly unethical business practices, please see any of these links:


Halbert's has also been reported to sell their customer records to junk mailing lists. And even if this shield were legitimate, we aren't informed which member of the family it belonged to.

That having been said, some Upshaws seem to like this unofficial coat of arms in spite of its unknown origin, so I will describe it here:

"Argent, a wavy bend Azure and a base Vert, over all an oak tree proper."

Translation: A natural colored oak tree on a silver shield with a green ground below and in front of a wavy diagonal blue stripe representing a stream.


Coat of Arms of Thomas A. Upshaw

In the United States, there is no governmental authority for the registration of heraldic achievements (coats of arms, etc.) therefore it is perfectly acceptable for a U.S. citizen to create his own. While it is possible to register one's coat of arms with one of the European heraldic authorities, this is rather costly and seems primarily of interest to those wanting to be associated with old world aristocracy. I am primarily interested in the symbolism and wanted to retain complete control of the content of the arms, therefore I simply created my own. I am quite sure they must be unique, and U. S. copyright law protects them as it does all other created works of text or art.

Blazon: "Sable, on a saltire Vert quarter-pierced Azure fimbriated quarterly Or, between four grails Or inscribed with the signs of the four alchemical elements, in chief fire gules, in dexter air Argent [or sable], in sinister earth Vert and in base water Azure, an anchor Or."

Simplified Shield: "Vert, on a saltire Or quarter-pierced Azure, between four grails Or, an anchor Or."

Crest: "On a mantle Vert and Or a wreath Sable and Or, on the wreath a wolf-colored siberian husky sejant howlant proper."

Motto: Carpe Diem, Tempus Fugit

(If you have suggestions for a simpler or more accurate blazon to describe this shield, please let me know; how best to describe the azure coloring of the center of the saltire cross seems tricky.)

Coat of Arms
Coat of Arms
Shield images and blazons © 2000 Tom Upshaw

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