Origins and Evolution


(adapted from the account published for the 29th Congress, Stuttgart 2010)

The first International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences was organised in Barcelona in 1929, the second, third and fourth in 1953 (Rome & Naples), 1955 (Madrid) and 1958 (Brussels). Since then, they have taken place every two years in various countries.

They are organized by institutions of the respective host country which have an outstanding reputation in the fields of genealogy and heraldry. The Congress locations are chosen by the Bureau permanent, and are arranged under their auspices. Two international academies in respectively heraldry and genealogy support the Congresses, and are represented on the Bureau permanent:
The International Academy for Genealogy was founded in Turin (Italy) in 1998 in order to gather competent specialists in genealogy who would represent the various cultural areas of the world. Its goal is to encourage and co-ordinate genealogical studies at an international level as well as to promote colloquiums and meetings on a world scale, both in order to raise genealogy to the status of a true and worthy branch of the social sciences.
The International Academy of Heraldry (AIH) was founded in Paris in 1949 to bring together experts in heraldry representing the various areas of the world. Admission is by election and the number of active academicians is limited to 75. There is no limit to the number of associate members. The general assembly usually meets once a year; the headquarters of the Academy are in Switzerland. The Academy’s aim is to centralize the heraldic studies on the basis of the largest possible international cooperation. Applications for admission are addressed to the Academy in writing and need the sponsorship of a member of the Council. On a bi-yearly basis, the Academy holds the International Heraldic Colloquium.
Lists of the papers contributed to the Congresses I-XV (1929-1982) have been collected by Hanns Jäger-Sunstennau in his Index Generalis (C A Starke Verlag, 1985) and for the heraldic contributions by Michel Popoff in Bibliographie Héraldique Internationale, available online in the 2008 edition through the website of the Société Française d'Héraldique et de Sigillographie. Based on these sources, we have compiled a list of all contributions up to 2016. Follow this link.
The proceedings have been published for all the Congresses except Rome & Naples (1953), Edinburgh (1962) and Paris (1966), in some recent cases additionally or exclusively as data discs. The proceedings of the 1929 (Barcelona), 1955 (Madrid), London (1976) and 1986 (Lisbon) Congresses have been republished on disc by the Heraldry Society under the Heraldry Archive project.

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