Committee on Heraldry of the New England Historic Genealogical Society
The Committee on Heraldry of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, established in 1864, is the world's oldest non-governmental body primarily concerned with heraldry. It authenticates and records coats of arms rightfully borne in the United States or by U.S. citizens living abroad, publishing historic arms in A Roll of Arms, Registered by the Committee on Heraldry of the New England Historic Genealogical Society. The committee illustrated the published Roll of Arms with only the escutcheons or shield of arms for the registration. However, in the text of the Roll of Arms the full achievement, and other related matters are discussed.
Though it does verify and register contemporary arms (including assumed arms), generally only historic arms dating from before February 10, 1917, are published in the committee's roll of arms. The roll itself is published in pamphlets called parts, the first of which was published in 1928; but each segment of the roll also appears in an issue of The New England Historical and Genealogical Register.
One need not be entitled to the arms in order to apply for their registration. Genealogists and others often apply to register arms having nothing to do with their own ancestry purely to put them on record with the committee.
The Committee was charged by the Council of the Society (3 February 1864) "to collect and preserve information in regard to heraldry" and to otherwise deal with all matters to do with the subject for the Society.