Saltmarsh Genealogy

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Thomas Saltmarsh line Coat of Arms (suspected)

I have received from T. William Saltmarsh (Bill) what is believed to be the correct coat of arms for the Thomas Saltmarsh line of decendancy. Here are his notes:

"This coat of arms was in the possessions of Dr. Seth Saltmarsh who was my great grandfather and father of Ernest Olmstead Saltmarsh, my grandfather. In his data on Captain Thomas Saltmarsh it is referred to as being his coat of arms. What I have may be the original and only version and this is a scan of it."

The Seth he is referring to the great-grandson of Capt. Thomas, through the line Thomas/Seth/Seth/Seth. Many thanks to Bill for this valuable information. Sadly, he passed away recently.

Quite a while ago I put in a quote request to the College of Arms in order that I may track down the originator of the coat shown above. I've had no response. You may wish to look at their FAQ and the one at Coats of arms belong to the male lineage of who it was granted to. Thus there is no "Saltmarsh" coat of arms. It appears we do have one for Capt. Thomas' line, though this needs more investigation. Given that it was in possession of a Saltmarsh in the 1800's, this is probably Thomas' correct coat of arms. Further information from a heraldic book indicates that there was a line of Saltmarsh's in America from this lineage. I'm trying to pursue this further.

Meaning of the Motto

From Frans Hoppenbrouwers in the Netherlands I received this:

"The motto should be analysed as follows.

- ad = to, preposition to be followed by the 4th case (object) designating the goal of a direction (E.g.: I’m going to Brick Lane.);

- astera = stars, 4th case plural (object; from the Latin “aster” (1st case subject) - like the flower);

- virtus = virtue, 1st case (subject); - there is no verb for reasons of eloquence, but it is quite clear from the context what verb is left out.

The motto should be understood literally like "virtue to the stars", virtue being a means to attain the stars, which are a metaphor substituting immortal glory.

There is a Latin poetic phrase that goes like this: "sic igitur ad astra", i.e. "thus (one acquires) immortal glory". Best known, however, is the saying "per aspera ad astera": "through hardship to immortal glory".

At the website of the house of the Italian princely family Naselli you’ll find the motto "Virtus ad Astra vehit" ("virtue leads to the stars"). It is not their family motto by the way. It doesn´t sound well though ( There also exists the motto "Feret ad astra virtus", i.e. "may virtue lead (us) to immortal glory". This sounds even worse."

Thank you Mr. Hoppenbrouwers.


Please send any comments, questions, and suggestions to Mike Saltmarsh
Last updated: 15 MAY 2004

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