Edward Martin Murtha and Josephine Elizabeth Murtha née Friedrich

Registration number 20080826E

This certifies that the heraldic arms of Edward Martin Murtha and Josephine Elizabeth Murtha née Friedrich which are offered in memoriam and conveyed to their descendants are registered and described by the blazon below

Arms: Per fess wavy 1st Gules a sun setting Or rayed of twelve 2nd barry wavy of six Vert and Or on a chief Azure two mullets Or.


2004 Heraldische Gemeinschaft Westfalen
2005 Committee on Heraldry of the New England Historic Genealogical Society

Biographical information

Edward Martin Murtha was born August 17, 1885, at Marengo, Iowa, and died August 24, 1975, in Parkston, South Dakota. Josephine Elizabeth Friedrich was born July 19, 1895, and died May 24, 1981, both at Parkston. They were truly devout Roman Catholics and farmed their own land in Susquehannah Township at 27735 407th Ave., Parkston. Children: Joseph Peter, Thomas Patrick, Marianne Adelaide, William Charles, Francis Edna, Joan Anne, Florence Ann, Noreen Marie, Margaret Lois, Carol Elizabeth, John Dennis, Timothy Paul.

Design rationale

The middle part is a red sky with a setting sun representing South Dakota (originally nicknamed the "Sunshine State") and the fact that our forebears came from the east, following the setting sun. The Germans call the West "das Abendland," the evening land. The twelve rays stand for Edward and Josephine’s twelve children. Murtha, "Ó Muircheartaigh" in Irish, means navigator, and wavy stripes of blue and white are a traditional symbol of water. The bottom part is six wavy stripes of green and gold, representing the prairie, the ocean of grass that our forebears navigated. This may be the first coat of arms to represent grassland in this way. The number six represents their labor on the land, since the biblical week has six workdays. This play on water and grassland is reminiscent of Isaiah 11:6, the source of the motto: In all of My sacred mount [i.e., Israel]nothing evil or vile shall be done;for the land shall be filled with devotion to the LORD as water covers the sea.The top part is blue with two gold stars, another allusion to navigation, representing the guidance of our ancestors in general and of Edward and Josephine in particular. The shield is oval, a traditional shape for non-combatants, e.g., clergy, an oblique allusion to Josephine’s original surname Friedrich, which means peace power or peaceful ruler. The shape of the shield is technically not important, however, and it would be equally correct to draw the design on a shield of another shape.

Historical note

Jonathan David Makepeace, a child of Florence Ann Taylor, née Murtha, a child of Edward and Josephine, assumed this coat of arms in 1989 while living in Frankfurt am Main. In 2004 he registered it with the Heraldische Gemeinschaft Westfalen, along with a "Wappensatzung" stipulating that it is for use by all of the descendants of Edward and Josephine, regardless of sex or surname, including adoptive and step descendants.

Registered by

Jonathan David Makepeace


Personal, Original, US, CA, M

Roll of Arms