A family charter is a formal document establishing rules, values, historical information and other directives aimed at establishing a long-term, multigenerational house.

Family charters may consist of a single document (in the form of a Letter Patent) signed by an authority (head of a royal house or ecclesiastical figure), with an attached longer document. A family charter can specific the establishment of a family foundation, fund or trust, rules of succession, etc.

Family charters can also be considered as inspired by the “create your own tradition” movement and may reflect significant events or evolutions in a person or family’s life, such as:

  • permanent relocation to a new country
  • acquisition of new citizenship
  • change of last name (which may be related to the above)
  • embrace of a new religion
  • acquisition of a coat of arms or title subject to transmission
  • marriage
  • result of genealogical research
  • etc.

The Intergovernmental College of Arms is in position to assist through the process, which may include:

  • legal advice and services regarding acquisition or registration of coat of arms
  • genealogical research
  • Internet communications associated with family networking (i.e. creation of a family association with a website)
  • legal advice and services regarding change of name and related matters
  • issuance of family Charter signed by royal or ecclesiastical authority
  • commission of family tree on vellum
  • Further Internet communications post-establishment of chartered House (i.e. sample)

Please use our request for service form to initiate the process or request more information.

Last modified: February 21, 2020