Think of a crest like a trademark or custom stamp. Crests were passed down by men to their firstborn male offspring, similar to how a man named William Jones might name his son William Jones Jr. In a tradition known as cadency, the father's other sons embellished on this crest to create a semi-original one to represent their own families.
Many modern American last names — also called surnames — can be traced back to medieval Europe. That's because when Europeans colonized North America, they brought their last names with them. In the Middle Ages, most Europeans lived in small villages separated by large areas of farmland.
Coat of Arms
A coat of arms is a heraldic visual design on an escutcheon, surcoat, or tabard. The coat of arms on an escutcheon forms the central element of the full heraldic achievement which in its whole consists of: shield, supporters, crest, and motto