Nobiliary law - what is it? by Jan-Olov von Wowern
I have elsewhere defined nobiliary law as "national legislation, or international or national customs, regulating nobiliary issues. In many cases this is not codified, but rather a set of rules and traditions having gained acceptance" (see my book at http://www.findyournobleancestors.com).
Examples of some of more important issues regulated by nobiliary law are:
- claims to nobility (surname, coat of arms, title) by non-noble persons. This could, but must not, include: children with one or two noble parents but born out of wedlock; stepchildren to noble parents; children to a noble lady in an agnatic family, etc.
- claims to nobility by noble persons, where claims cannot be automatically verified. This could be e.g. inheritance of a noble title in a junior line of family when senior line becomes extinct.
- borderline cases, such as which among ancient patrician families were, and were not, to be numbered among nobility. Or reactivation of a family's nobility after some time of voluntary or involuntary loss of nobility (usually because one or all of nobiliary qualities has not been used for two or more generations).
- naturalisation of foreign nobility, that is assimilation of immigrant nobility into domestic nobility, usually with purpose of ensuring foreign nobility same privileges as domestic.
- heraldry, and more specifically use of certain symbols usually reserved for nobility, such as coronets of nobiliary rank, use of supporters, etc. Also marshalling of arms, that is proper combination of two or more coats of arms due to marriage between two noble families, and similar issues may be regulated.