|Country of Origin||United States|
For the coat of arms, the green field symbolizes the “ancient meadow,” referred to by the surname of Altenau, i.e., the Altenau family’s ancestral homelands. The two, silver, crossed scythes refer to a sense of reverence and respect for the agricultural and farming legacy of the Altenau family. The fact that the scythes are crossed (“in saltire”) also symbolizes the cross of Saint Andrew, a sign of strong, Christian faith. The three, blue cornflowers represent the Altenau family’s Prussian heritage; the cornflower was the national flower of the Kingdom of Prussia. The silver stripe at the top of the shield represents peace and sincerity, two core tenets which are intrinsic to the profession of farming. Traditionally, the color green is indicative of hope, joy, and a deep loyalty to one’s family; this color scheme was chosen because it embodies the ideals and principles upon which the Altenau family was founded. The coat of arms does not change through the act of being inherited. It remains constant.
In the Germanic tradition, family coats of arms are differentiated among different branches of the family by means of altering the crest. The main arms of the shield remain unchanged, as mentioned above. This particular crest represents Christopher Allan Altnau, his wife, Magdalena, and all of their direct descendants. The rose is a symbol of American Patriotism; it is the national flower of the United States of America. Traditionally, the swan in heraldry has symbolized poetic harmony and learning, or a person who holds these sentiments dear; it is also associated with light, love, grace, sincerity, and the pursuit of perfection. The swan’s wings are displayed, which signifies dignity, self-confidence, and courage. The swan is therefore representative of our family’s love of learning and quest for knowledge, as well as the “learned professions” of many members of the modern-day Altnau family (librarian, teacher, photographer, writer, illustrator, etc.)
Blazon : Argent, a Swan displayed proper in front of a Rose Gules, barbed Vert, within an Annulet Vert, a Semy of Crosses clechy.
Symbolism : The badge has the same basic symbolism as the crest (see below) in that the badge contains the crest within a surrounding annulet; the crosses which appear on the annulet symbolize the Christian faith, and serve to remind the armiger that no matter in which direction that life takes him, the Lord is there to meet him.
Arms registered in Der Wappen-Loewe.