From ancient times a coat of arms was used as a proof of family's lineage and its belonging to a noble estate. The series "The Armorial of Belarusian Nobility" has been published since 1996, its volumes are being prepared by the National Historical Archives of the Republic of Belarus. There are also Polish-language armorials of local nobility of several regions of the former Grand Duchy of Litva (GDL), published in late 19th – early 20th century and based on legitimation cases which district (land) courts began reviewing almost immediately after the first partition of the Polish-Litvan Commonwealth and the occupation of the eastern territories of Litva by the Russian Empire.
Full list of sources:
- "Гербоўнік беларускай шляхты" - "The Armorial of Belarusian Nobility" - vol. I-V, 2002-2018.
- "Herbarz szlachty prowincyi witebskiej" - "The Armorial of Viciebsk Governorate Nobility" - "Herold Polski", Krakow - 1899.
- "Оршанскій гербовникъ": "Историко-юридическіе матеріалы, извлеченные изъ актовыхъ книгъ губерній Витебской и Могилевской, хранящихся въ центральномъ архивѣ въ Витебскѣ и изданные подъ редакціей и.д. архиваріуса сего архива Дм. Ив. Довгялло" - "The Armorial of Orša" - "Historical and legal materials, extracted from the act books of Viciebsk and Mahiloŭ Governorates, are stored in the Central Archives in Viciebsk and published under the editorship of p.p. archivist of these archives Dź. Iv. Daŭgiała" - 28th release, 2nd part, 1900.
- "Малы гербоўнік рагачоўскай шляхты" - "The Small Armorial of Rahačoŭ Nobility" - "Архіварыус": No.6-8, 2008-2010.
- А. Залівака "Шляхта Вялікага Княства Літоўскага" - A. Zalivaka "The Nobility of the Grand Duchy of Litva":
- "Шляхта Магілёўскай губерні. Радаводы." - "The Mahiloŭ Governorate Nobility. The Lineages", 2013 (in Polish)
- "Шляхта Віцебскай губерні. Радаводы." - "The Viciebsk Governorate Nobility. The Lineages", Books I-II, 2014, 2017 (in Polish)
- "Вялікае Княства Літоўскае. Энцыклапедыя ў 2 тамах" - "The Grand Duchy of Litva. Encyclopedia in 2 volumes", 2007.
Based on these publications, I have systematized the information about gentry and titled nobility COAs and their bearers which I am happy to present here.
The images of shields have been reconstructed based on the drawings from these publications and edited in accordance with present heraldry standards. Some of the images are published online for the first time.
- "(letter A, B, W & etc.)(article #)" - refers to the corresponding volume of "The Armorial of Belarusian Nobility" edition",
"AV(list No.)" - refers to "Armorial of Viciebsk Nobility",
"AO(article No.)" - refers to "Armorial of Orša Nobility",
"AR(article No.)" - refers to "Armorial of Rahačoŭ Nobility",
"ZM(article No.)" - refers to "Zalivaka-Mahiloŭ Nobility",
"ZV[1st or 2nd book](article No.)" - refers to "Zalivaka-Viciebsk Nobility";
"GDL[1st or 2nd volume](page No.)" - refers to "GDL Encyclopedia".
* From 1696 all public recordings in Litva were written and kept in Polish. Therefore in the late 19th - early 20th century Russian authorites used Polish spelling of family names in latinized identification documents issued to emigrating members of those families.