Heraldic adoption

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Heraldic adoption (Polish: Adopcja herbowa, "adoption under the coat of arms") was, since the 14th-century, a procedure of ennoblement in Poland of a family by including it into the heraldic family or clan of a particular coat of arms. This allowed the "adopted" family to bear the coat of arms.

To prevent any abuses, since the middle of the 16th century every adoption had to be approved by the Polish Sejm (parliament).

A notable case of heraldic adoption was the integration of the boyars of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania into the ranks of the Polish szlachta during the early history of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (Polish–Lithuanian unions) under the provisions of the Union of Horodło. Forty-seven selected Lithuanian/Ruthenian nobles were adopted by Poland's nobility and granted Polish coats-of-arms.[1]