The arms of Joseph
Crozer Steepy are a variation of his ancestor's arms (Richard
Steepy ca. 1749, Reg. No. 0234, Vol. 2, pg. 51).
The three ploughs set against a blue background are the recognized
arms of New Jersey and represents the long time residence of the
family in that area prior to the American Revolution. The symbolism
is also significant in that it recognizes the family's occupation in
agriculture. As a younger son of Richard Steepy circa 1815, Joseph's
arms are differenced with a mullet (a five pointed star).
According to US
tradition, all legally recognized children are entitled to inherit
the arms of the parent whose surname they bear, as well as to use
those arms by courtesy during the parent's lifetime. This principle
is derived from the most widely followed traditional practices of
armorial succession—inheritance in the legitimate male line—modified
to take account of modern American family law and customs. For
families that follow the traditional American naming custom in which
children take the father's surname, this means that the children
will use and inherit the arms of their father.
Younger sons of an
armiger may voluntarily choose to use a "mark of difference" to
distinguish themselves from their brothers (as is the case here with
Joseph adding the mullet to his arms). However, all descendants are
eligible to display the original arms "undifferenced" if they so