“Heralds (those in charge of controlling the use of coats of arms under the direction of the Crown) conducted visitations to record the use of arms. Part of this recording included recording the pedigrees of the families using coats of arms. Pedigrees were recorded because families had to prove their right to bear the arms by showing their connections back to the original bearers. Because coats of arms were passed down through the generations, armory, or heraldry, has much genealogical value.”
Taken from: Herber, Mark D. Ancestral Trails. Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing, 1998, 492-94.