The practice of heraldry arose in Western Europe in the middle of the twelfth century. It comprises the use of patterns on a shield which are definable, recognizable and hereditary. There were two causes for this development:
From crusading knights in armor to this...
So individualized seals were created to identify a particular person. The pattern on a knight's seal was then reproduced on his shield. During the Crusades, warfare in the heat of Palestine led to the combatants wearing a cooler linen covering (or surcoat) over their chainmail; so it was an easy and an obvious step to repeat the pattern from the shield on the surcoat; which is where we get the English phrase 'coat-of-arms'.
- Helmets were covering more and more of the wearer's face, making his identification in battle difficult.
- It was an age when literacy was primarily confined to the clergy, so a seal was of more use than a signature.
Each generation of the family adapted their coat of arms to differentiate jobs, accomplishments, and each person's place in the family, and the designs were altered over the years.
The best-known Haus (or Hauß) coat-of-arms was documented in a Reitstap Armorial in 1637, under "Elsaessische" ("Alsatians"). The description of the family arms (shield) in the Reitstap Armorial General is as follows:
"De gu, a la fasce d'arg; A trois cotices du meme, br. Sur le tout."
When translated, the blazon describes the original colors of the Haus Arms as: "Red: A silver middle third behind three narrow silver diagonal bands." The language in heraldic blazon texts is Norman-French, as they controlled much of Europe at the time of heraldry's origin, and English and other languages didn't evolve locally until the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. But the language of heraldry remained very French-influenced after that, even in England.)
Above the shield and helmet is the crest, which is described as: "A pyramidal cap of red with a silver brim, topped with three ostrich plumes; one silver between two red." The fesse is a military belt or girdle of honor; it represents readiness to serve.
The red color in the family crest celebrates distinguished military service, while the argent (white or silver) symbolizes peace and sincerity. The panache of peacock feathers on top of the helmet signifies willing obedience and serenity, and the closed helmet denotes an esquire or private gentleman.
According to research by Charles Hause, now in possession of Bob and Shirley Hause of Kansas, the family of Johann Christian Hauß was Armigerous (entitled to use a coat of arms), and his Heraldic Bearing is displayed in the book, The House Family of the Mohawk. The fesse and argent are still present, but the military red has been replaced by sable (blackthe color that symbolizes grief and mourning), and the plume of feathers has been shaped into the form of a pine cone, which stands for re-birth:
Arms: Argent (silver or white)a fesse sable (blackin engraving it is represented by perpendicular and horizontal lines crossed).
Crest: A plume of feathers tinctured as the shield and in the form of a pine-cone, charged with the arms (colors) of the shield.
An earlier version of the same shield dates back to 1185, in Die Wappen Rolle de Zurich (a roster of the Heraldry by the Antiquarian Society of Zurich). It features the same shield, surmounting a Crown representing a Peer of the Realm (a term for a member of the highest aristocratic social order not in the ruling dynasty of the kingdom) borne by a dexter facing Argent and Sable Helm. The family is listed as Alsatian and is given several spellings: known in Switzerland as Von Hus, in Italy as de Domo, in France as de la Maison, and in Germany as von Hauss or Vom Haus; these names were derived from the Burgen (Castles or Strongholds) of Isenheim in the District of Gebweiler; Wittenheim (District of Mulhouse); and Wassenburg (District of Kolmar). The sample at right is from a later Royal line.
The shield is silver. In heraldry this denotes purity, justice and peace. The fesse represents the girdle worn over the armor by officials of rank at certain important court functions. It symbolizes solidity and strength. The feathers of the crest indicate the idea of will to bend but not break; "No force can alter the armsbearer's decision, the same as the feather, which cannot be shaken into disorder by the wind." (Governor Hunter would agree.) A pine-cone (called a pineapple in heraldry) is symbolic of the inexhaustible abundance of life in nature. The family jewel is the pearl. (Although I don't think Johann owned a lot of pearls.) These Arms are in Reitstap's "Armorial General" and are attributed to Hauß-Alsace.
Alsace is in the Haut Rhin of France, north-northwest of Mulhouse. Interestingly, the Dukes of Solm held territory less than fifty miles from the Hauß holdings in Alsace. Charles Hause believed that Johann Christian Hauß fled Alsace after it was conquered by the armies of Louis XIV, and found refuge in the Duchy of Solms.
Read an explanation of Heraldry here.