04. Foster Coat of Arms


Crest: An arm in armor embowed, holding in the hand a broken tilting spear: proper.
Motto: Si fractus fortis. (If broken, still strong.)
Foster Arms: Argent, a chevron, vert, between three bugle-horns, sa., stringed, gu.

Below is the original scan from the book. This is possibly one of the most stained, most worn pages in my copy of the book, showing the Foster Coat of Arms page is clearly also one of the most beloved pages in the book.

Foster Coat of Arms

Webmistress Note:
Having studied the meaning behind the Foster Coat of Arms, I discovered the following definitions:
Embowed – the arm is bent at the elbow.
Proper – the way it appears in nature. The armor would be colored silver or gray, to match the way it appears in its natural coloring.
Argent – Silver or White. The “Field” (background) color would be represented as either silver or white.
Chevron – The ^ shape across the center of the shield.
Vert – Green. The color of the chevron.
Bugle-horns – In heraldry, bugle-horns are the sign of the forester or hunter.
sa. – Sable. Black. The color of the horns.
gu. – Gules. Red. The color of the strings.

Upon further investigation, I also discovered that the “helm” (or helmet) shown below the Crest is specifically a Jouster’s Helmet in style on the particular Coat of Arms chosen by our branch of the Foster family. This hints that the “broken spear” could, in fact, be a “broken lance” indicating Victory. Not all Foster Coats of Arms show this particular helmet, nor do all of them contain the broken spear in the Crest. To my knowledge, all Fosters however claim the Family Motto, Si Fractus Fortis, in some definition or other.

Below is my own drawing, recreating the full colors and details of the Foster Coat of Arms. The drawing is available for sale on CafePress on t-shirts, steins, mugs, prints and more. If you would like to support our site at Trek to Texas, purchasing your own copy of the Foster Coat of Arms would be a great way to help support the site.

Foster Coat of Arms

4 Responses to “04. Foster Coat of Arms”

  • Ben:


    I’m an American with an amateurish interest in heraldry who stumbled upon your site, specifically your page on the Foster coat of arms.

    It might interest you to know that the depiction of the coat of arms from your geneaology book is almost identical to one used by the Gardiner family of Gardiners Island, New York. The family gained possession of that island in the 1600s and ruled it as “lords of the manor” until the Revolution. Their descendants still own the island today. Their arms are identical to your ancestors’ in every way except the color: their chevron and buglehorns are gules (red) instead of the mix of green, black, and red depicted in your book. A decent picture of the arms is available in this book: http://books.google.com/books?vid=0IWtsUaV1d5lqR6jXs&id=08DdoryudvIC&pg=PA12&lpg=PA12&dq=The+Manor+of+Gardiners+Island#v=onepage&q=The%20Manor%20of%20Gardiners%20Island&f=false – on page 18. I don’t know what this means: it could indicate some relation to the Gardiners, or simple imitation.

    Finally, a possibly interesting tidbit: the “tilting helm” or “jousting helm” depicted on the arms in your book is the most common one in heraldry and generally indicates that the bearer is not of noble birth. An alternative is the “great helm”, that ominous soup-can-shaped helmet that brings to mind Crusaders. The “barred helm”, a round helmet with bars in front, usually implies nobility.

    Finally, a slight error in your drawing: the cloth surrounding the shield (sort of cascading from the top of the helm) is called the “mantling” and is most commonly colored to echo the shield. In your case it would probably be green on the outside, white on the lining (the lining is drawn with leaf-like veins in your depiction).

    Thanks for sharing your family history!


  • Kathy:

    Thank you for the great information! And thanks for the extra info that you emailed too. It’s all very interesting. I appreciate the additional info.

  • Douglas Foster:

    I have a question about your family history as my Families history is very Vague.
    I am looking for Michal Foster. He would have been born around 1854 or so and married Nancy Robbins who would have been from Iowa.
    I can find NOTHING in regard to Michal. Does this name show up in your family back ground anywhere?
    Thank YOU.

    • Kathy:

      Hello Douglas, I haven’t come across a Foster with that spelling (Michal instead of Michael) so far. Most of the Fosters that were traced in my family were from further south and west than Iowa. I do know some families traveled on to California after arriving in Texas, but where most of those families ended up after that is a mystery. I will keep an eye out for the names you mentioned and let you know. Thank you for commenting.

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