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Duarte family coat of arms

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Antwerp
#1
Dear community members,

I'm currently researching the biography of one Diego Duarte, a seventeenth-century Antwerp merchant of Portuguese (Jewish) origins. I am, however, a complete ignoramus when it comes to understanding the meaning of a coat of arms. Diego's grandfather (buried in a catholic church in Antwerp) and great-uncle (buried in a Jewish cemetery in Holland) both had the following coat of arms on their tomb:



Diego however, used a slightly different coat of arms (with two lions, a complete tree and instead of a rose, three stars, and another star in the crest --please forgive me if I use the wrong terms).



Of course I am curious to know what a coat of arms can tell me, and why it was changed. Does anyone know how to interpret this, i.e. what books/sources I should consult? What websites should visit?

I ask these questions here, on a British forum, because Duarte was for some time "Jeweller in ordinary" to King Charles I and perhaps the changes in the coat of arms can be explained by that: after his stay in England Duarte describes himself as a nobleman.

Please forgive me my impertinent questions,
Many thanks in advance
Timothy
 

duckweed

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#3
I know if you are awarded a coat of arms in England you are called a gentleman. A Nobleman is someone of higher rank than that. It suggests he either married an heiress from a noble aristocratic family or awarded a rank such as a knight or something. If someone with a coat of arms marries somebody with a coat of arms the arms are combined. Where did the coat of arms come from. Is it from Antwerp?
 
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#4
@Sterico: Thank you for these links. I already had a quick look and they are very handy!


@Duckweed: THank you for your reply. I checked and indeed he is referred to as a nobleman ('Eedelman' in 17th century dutch) on the cover of a play he wrote, and as 'Nobilis Domesticus Regis Angliae' (noble servant?) on an engraving he had made. Though, of course, I am not sure if it's some sort of hyperbole. Duarte never married, so that is ruled out, but perhaps some of the elements on his coat of arms came from his mother's side of the family?

Diego Duarte's grandfather and great-uncle probably brought their coat of arms with them from Portugal (either they or their father migrated to Antwerp) and is therefore probably untraceable. Diego's coat of arms can be found as a seal on some of his letters (mostly from the 1670's). My guess was that perhaps during his service with the king of England (Diego served Charles I, but remained friends with Charles II and several royalists who moved to the Low Countries and Antwerp in particular) he was awarded some kind of English title, which would explain some of the elements that weren't present on his grandfather's coat of arms, such as the star (mullet?) in the crest. But as far as I can tell after looking through Sterico's above links, there seems to be nothing specifically 'English' about these symbols.


Many thanks to you both for your help.
Timothy
 
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