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The Runyon Armorial Bearing?

No researcher has ever found proof that the Runyon family's first immigrant, Vincent Rongnion, was a descendant of noble ancestors in his native France. Yet researchers have noted that Vincent's surname, whether spelled Rongnion, Rongion, Rougnon, Rognon, Rognin, Rougnion, Roignion, Runyon, Runyan, Runion, Runnion, Runnions, or any other variation, is tantalizingly close in spelling to the surname used in one armorial registry by the Seigneur de Chaligne, Henry Roygnon, as well as the one used by his son, Henry de Regnon.


In another registry, the elder Henry is registered as Regnon de Chaligny. That same registry identified Henry as the marquis from Poitou, which at the time was a French province with its capital in the city of Poitiers. On 31 June 1668, New Jersey Governor Philip Carteret, in recording his license for the marriage of Vincent Rongnion to Anne Boutcher, stated Vincent was "of Poitiers in France."


Few researchers have been able to ignore the similarities among all the names and geography. In writing Runyon Genealogy, authors Robert Runyon and Amos Runyon did recognize the possibility that Vincent was related to French nobility, but they also demonstrated the cautious approach that true genealogists must take. As such, the authors briefly mentioned supposed links to nobility in their chapter on Vincent Rongnion (page 5 of Runyon Genealogy). Their cited source was a study of the Roygnon-Runyon Coat-of-Arms done in December 1941 by Mabel Louise Keech, who had a studio specializing in heraldry in Evanston, IL. Mrs. Keech had built on earlier research done by Orra Eugene Monnet. Although relating Mrs. Keech's research, the Runyon Genealogy authors noted "There are discrepancies in these descriptions, and they are given without comment."


Nonetheless, in the 1950s, Robert Runyon printed a large run of business card-sized announcements, possibly used as book marks, that provided the Roygnon-Runyon coat-of-arms and its references.


Click here or on the below scan of one of those announcements to read Mabel Louise Keech's Roygnon-Runyon Coat of Arms article from her column, "At the Sign of the Crest," that ran regularly in Hobbies magazine. The full issue of this magazine is in the Runyon Family Papers, part of the Robert Runyon Photography Collection, at the Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin.

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The Armorial General in France has described the Rongnion coat of arms as an argent (blue) shield with three or (gold) bees. The motto is Mel Regi (the King's Honey).

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