Over the years I have run across no fewer than six coats of arms for the family. Our family's emblem is about as clear as its beginnings in Europe--foggy at best.

The practice of carrying personal armorial devices on shields and banners began during feudal times, when it was necessary for a knight, with his face covered by his helmet visor, to be recognized at a distance. In the 14th century, the practice of embroidering the family insignia on the surcoat worn over the coat of mail gave rise to the term "coat of arms." The insignias were freely assumed by knights in England until King Henry V restrained the practice early in the 15th century. In 1483, King Edward IV established the Heralds' College to supervise the granting of armorial bearings.

Individuals, families, kingdoms, lordships, towns, Episcopal sees, abbeys and corporations may have them.

A coat of arms is the personal property of the proven descendants of the original grantee, and this proof is lacking in our case. I'll leave the heraldry to others more knowledgeable in the field and stick with the genealogy work. Nevertheless, here are those that I have uncovered:

1. (left): From Colonial Families of the United States, by George Norbury Mackenzie, 1966, Vol. III, p. 385.

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2. (right): From The Palmerlee Family, by Albert Palmerlee.The motto at the bottom is "Beatus qui patitur," or "Blessed is he who endures."

3. (left): From Charles Ward Parmelee's Parmelees: 300 Years in America, the dePamele coat of arms.

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4. (right): The Parmelin coat of arms obtained in Switzerland: a blue shield with a gold chevron and three round devices.

5. (left): The three-roses coat of arms registered in Belgium to Jacques Van Pamele in 1502, to Pierre Van Pamele (son of William) in 1543 and to Francois Van Pamele in 1515. The colors are unknown.

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6. (right): The Palmerlee coat of arms found in the Dizzionario Storico Nobilare Italiano by Crollolanza: azure with two palm trees and a "sinister lion."

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