My interest in heraldry began soon after my interest in genealogy. Looking for information about the Sotomayor lineage, I found the historic Sotomayor coat of arms, which goes back more than 800 years to the times of Mem Paes Sorred in the 12th century. It is believed that Mem Paes assumed the design of the coat of arms at a time when simple geometric images where used to identify knights in battle fields and knightly tournaments. These forms of visual identification became, like surnames, tied to the knight's family, being associated then with lineages and passed down through generations. Back in the 12th, 13th, and 14th centuries, these forms of visual representation of lineages was not necessarily exclusive to the nobility, as other members of society adopted them along with a surname, at least in Iberia. Since the 15th century and into the twentieth, coat of arms have been associated with nobility. However, recently some groups (e.g. Registro Internacional de Armas Gentilicias, The Armorial Register, The International Heraldry Society, Free Heraldry Society) support the non-aristocratic use of heraldry and instead use it as a form or personal identification. There is no evidence that my family in Puerto Rico used coats of arms as representations of lineage, but my ancestors in Spain and Portugal did. I assumed a coat of arms in the spirit of heraldry as an art form that is related to families, family histories, and identity. I took inspiration in the historic Sotomayor coat of arms and added my elements to represent my individual interests. In this page I share different versions of my coat of arms, as well as the arms that belonged to my principal paternal Iberian ancestors and the Carlo from Genoa. 

My coat of arms assumed in 2016 rendered by Mr. Quentin Peacock. It is inspired on the historic Sotomayor coat of arms, which encompass the three checkered bars with the black girdles in-between. My added elements are the pale, the two pair of quills (published historian) and the book (my love for research). The lion and golden sword represent my noble ancestors in Puerto Rico, and the moto "Incipit Successus A Potestate Voluntatis" is Latin for "success begins with willforce." [© Each individual element of these Arms has been drawn by Quentin Peacock and may only be used by the intended recipient. They must not be altered, rearranged or used individually or in part to produce any other artwork without written permission.] 

A simplistic verions of my coat of arms rendered by Mr. Quentin Peacock. Registro International de Armas Gentilicias, November 25, 2016, #834©. Its reproduction is prohibited. The three checkered bars with the black girdles in-between are the traditional arms of the Sotomayor. My added elements are the pale, the two pair of quills (published historian) and the book (my love for research).

This is my full armorial achievement, 2016, as rendered by Ignacio Koblischek. Its reproduction is prohibited. In this version, I added two medieval knights as tenants, one of them showing a crown that symbolized nobility.

My simplified coat of arms rendered by heraldic artist don Carlos Navarro. Its reproduction is prohibited. This version includes only the coat of arms and the family crest of the lion, hat, and sword. 

Historic coat or arms of the Lugo Lineage, originally from Galicia. This is the coat of arms used by my 14th great-uncle Don Alonso Fernández de Lugo. Rendition by Manuel Pardo de Vera y Díaz.

Coat of arms of the di Carlo lineage, a noble family originally from Genoa, Italy. 

Historic coat of arms of the Sotomayor lineage from Pontevedra, Galicia, which goes back to Mem Paes Sorredea who in the 12th century held the lordship over the Valley of Souto and named it Souto Maior. It is the same coat of arms used by other Sotomayor lineages throughout the Iberian Peninsula (Extremadura, Andalusia, Portugal, etc.), which signals that they were all one large and dispersed lineage, with roots in Galicia. Rendered and courtesy of Yamil Fuentes.

Historic coat of arms of the Pereira lineage, originally from Portugal, used by my 16th great-grandfather Dom Alvaro Gonçalves Pereira