McLaughlins, von Coellns & Extended Family

The von Coelln Family Crest

There are many variations on the name von Coelln and there are equally many different lines that appear to have come from different regions of Germany. For a sampling of the several crests out there, Alexander von Kölln has compiled images and descriptions of these crests. Our line is most notably tied to Westfalia, and according to Alexander, the aristocracy acknowledgement was made April 26, 1774.

The Family Crest

Black and White copy of the von colln crest from John von Colln

This is the crest that we are most familiar with and have even created leaded-glass versions of them.

At right, you will see a copy of what is in a German genealogy textbook published in 1958 (Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels, Adelige Häuse B, Baud III 1958). While this text contains notes of history back to 1579, the majority of the family trees detailed start in 1788 and do not match any of the lines within our family tree. Still, the family crest is extremely similar to that which we hold as our own today.

Below, you will see the full text and a picture from that text, showing more details of the family crest. This text again show similarities to our present day crest and the descriptive pieces of the text are very interesting. Still, the text makes several references to the origin of the name being tied to the city of Köln, which we are pretty certain is not within our family lineage.

From History Book on German Surnames

Family Crest as depicted in a German book describing German surnames; we have not found any ties to the trees described in this book

From Heraldry: About the von Cölln Family Crest

The following is from a description of the family crest which I believe was developed by a heraldry group. While many of the features of our family crest match the description, there are some differences. Also, while the description makes many mentions to the city of Köln, we do not believe our family originated from that city

The surname von Cölln is a slightly anglicised form of the German von Cölln which is locative in origin; Anglicized picture of the von Colln crestthat is to say derived from the name of a place -- the great city of Köln, better known to English speakers by its French name, Cologne. The city is situated on the left bank of the Rhine in a fertile plan and was originally a well-known Roman colony of Veterans called Colonia Agrippina named after the daughter of Germanicus, consul of Rome and later Emperor Caligula.
In the days when communities were small a person was identified by a single name only -- but with the increase in and movement of population, confusions arose and it became necessary to adopt an additional cognomen, coined usually from one of four sources; the name of an ancestor, a place of origin or residence, an occupation or some personal characteristic or nickname. Thus a man named John who haild from Cologne might be known as "John (of) Cologne -- Johann Köln or Cölln" in order to distinguish him from others of the same Christian name. In course of time the cognomen became hereditary in what we now term surnames ceasing to have any reference to the bearer's place of origin.
Although the preposition von means "of" it is not used before German surnames merely to indicate that a person (or rather his ancestor) was "of" or "from" a certain place: John of Cologne, used as an illustration above, would not have been called Johann von Cölln. The preposition is in fact an indication of nobility. The nobles of the Middle Ages usually derived their surnames from places, principally the land which they held or the castles they inhabited, and were therfore "of" these places in a special sense. It is no doubt from this situation that von was recognised as an indication of nobility so that eventually the curious situation arose whereby the preposition was used even in cases whre the surname was not derived from a place name -- such oddities as von Schmidt and von Braun being the result!
There are a number of armigerous and noble families of the name including an ancient one of Micklenberg. They had landed possessions at Gollmitz, Schmiedeberg and other places in the Uckermark towards the end of the fourteenth century and in 1575 Gerhard von Kölln or Cölln was a page at the court of the Prince of Anhalt. Another family were nobles of the Principality of Glogan and the Principality of Jägerndorf. Adam Friedrick von Cölln was lord of Zossen in 1617.
The arms illustrated which may be dexcribed heraldically as per fess gules and azure, in chief two swords in saltire points downwards proper hilts or, in base two hawks bells in fess argent, Crest: Issuing from a coronet or an angel habitea vert his hands resting on the hilt of a sword as in the arms, are those of a noble family name von Cölln of Hesse.
Writers in the past have attributed symbolism to the charges and tinctures of heraldry -- thus or (gold) is said to denote Geerosity; argent (silver), Pease and Sincerity; gules (red) Military Fortitude and Magnanity; azure (vlue) Loyalty and Truth; and vert (green) Hope, Joy and sometimes, Loyalty in Love. The sword is the emblem of Government, Justice and true Military Honour, whilst the hawks bells denote one "who feared not to signalise his approach in either peace or war." The angel with the sword may be intended as the avenging angel or to represent St. Michael the Archangel, a patron of warriors.

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