An American Armory says the following:
Putman: Azure [blue shield] a chevron verte bet [upside down “V” between] in chief 3 boars’ heads argent [3 boars’ heads at the top, silver] and in base a lion ramp, sa, [at the base a rampt or walking black lion] all within a bordure verte [a green border].
Crest: a lion rampant.
From a tile owned by a descendant of Jan Putman in the Mohawk Valley. A copy with the lion argent painted on a wooden plate about 1840 (8 inches wide is owned by Eben Putnam of Salem, MA).
This suggests that a chevron may have once been used by the family and also the color’s blue and green instead of red.
Eben Putnam of the late 1800's, New England, a member of the unrelated English Putnam family in Putnam Leaflets, November and December, 1895, said:
The shield and crest shown herewith is that in use in several branches of the family descended from Jan Poutman of Albany. The coat of arms while resembling that of at least one English family is undoubtedly of Dutch origin. The early history of the original from which the engraving was taken is unknown:
Arms of Poutman, Putman, Putnam descended from Jan Poutman—Gules [red background] on a fess argent [a silver bar running horizontally through the middle of the shield] between three boar’s heads erased close, or, [two boar’s heads above the fess, one below the fess, of gold color], a lion passant, sable, [a black lion in the fess walking to the left].
Eben Putnam also wrote that the American Putman family used the spelling Poutman; however, I have not found a period document that shows that the family used the spelling Poutman except Eben's work, which came much later than the arrival to American of the Johannes Pootman.
Heraldry says that beneath the shield in English heraldry is a ribbon with the motto or slogan of the family; in the case, the Pootman/Putman family motto is "Deum Non Alium Timeo" or God No Other I Fear. In Scotland and on the Continental heraldry, the ribbon, called the escroll, and is at the top of the shield. The ribbon on the Putman coat of arms is at the bottom, which would indicate that the Putman coat was English as reported by Eben Putnam.
Above the shield is a helmet of rank that shows by it shape and direction the social position of the armiger.
On the continent, a knight had a simple coronet of rank between the shield and the helmet. A coronet is not found on the Putman coat of arms.
On the crown of the helmet there is often a circlet or wreath composed of two strips of silk twisted together in six bands of the primary colors of the shield. The Putman coat has a wreath with nine bands, which may indicate it was of a higher rank. Above, or in place of, the wreath sometimes is a crest coronet.
In public women whose family rank just below a sovereign sometimes wore a small crown or coronet. A coronet is found in English coats of arms and shows that the person held a high-ranking office or was a county officer.
Out of the wreath or crest coronet raises the crest, which in the case of the American Putman coat of arms is a boar’s head.
Wendell Putman in his manuscript “Memoirs,” which he wrote about 1970, said the following about the American Putman coat of arms:
In the 1950’s the son of my cousin Henry Van der Veer Putman attended MIT and there met the son of Henri Putman a Belgian professor of mathematics in a French university. I corresponded for a time with the professor and told him about the pioneering Putman in America, but I lacked information and time for a good response. His information was much better. He told me that in the early 1400’s the name Putman was recorded in the Rhineland Duisberg area of the German-Dutch border. Putman was a land overseer for a German Duke rating a coat of arms with a row of boars’ heads at the top and what appeared to me to be a row of coal-hods at the bottom with writing between.
The Pootman family name was not originally Putman but came to be known as Putman in the late 1700's with the influence of English speaking people and the Revolutionary War.
The family name was originally spelled Pootman and may meant gatekeeper or portman although the meaning poolman is also possible.
It is highly likely that Johannes Pootman the ancestor of the Dutch-American Putman family was born in 1644 and was a son of Victor Pootman, Aalburg, North Brabant, Netherlands. Victor was a schoolmaster beginning about 1642 in Aalburg. He married Maria Davids.
There was a Victor Puettmann who was born about 1700 near Muenster and Duelmen, Germany, who is of great interest as it is possible that his ancestors used the spelling Poetmann as their surname. It the Dutch-American Pootman/Putman family is connected with the Germany Rutger Putmanus family described next it is distantly and not directly.
The Pootman family is genetically connected it seems with the Wyatt family of Yorkshire, England. Ironically, one coat of arms of the Wyatt family is very close in appearance to the Pootman/Putman armorial.
A popular story of the parentage of Johannes Pootman is that Johannes descended from Rutgerus Putmanus of Germany whose descendants removed to Deventer, Netherlands. Rutgerus was a rent master in Leipzig, German.
This thought was assumed from the article in The Putnam Leaflets by Eben Putnam that Eben wrote from a translation by by De Witt Putman and was called “History of the Family of Putman in the Netherlands”. De Witt did not say that the American Pootman family descended from Rutger but that it was a possibility.
Rutgerus Putman was born in Hamm, Westphalia, was the Advocate Fiscal and Land Steward for Count Van Der Lippe, married Agnez Bosch, and died in Lipstadt, Germany, in 1575 at age 65. Agnez died in 1588.
They had at least two children: sons John and Abraham. John was born in 1566 and his brother Abraham in 1567. Rutgerus would have been 56 and 57 years old respectively. He may have had other children.
Rutgerus' son Abraham studied law while his son John studied theology. Both left Germany because of the Reformation. Little was known of Abraham except that he went to London, England, and left descendants there.
John married Matilda Meyer and died in 1658 after having sons Rutger and Abraham. Rutger was the pastor at Weerselo and Goor and married Joanna Van Den Burgh. After their marriage, Rutger became chaplain for the Landgraf of Hesse Cassel. Latser, he settled in Dresden, Netherlands, and was their Pastor. He became pastor of Delden, Netherlands, in 1634 and stayed tin Delden for 40 years. Rutger had Sarah, John born in 1645, and Paul born in 1648.
One member of this family reported that it was Rutger’s son John born in 1645 who was Johannes Pootman who immigrated to the New World about 1661. This seems unlikely. The Dutch always named one of this first sons after the father's father, another after the father's grandfather, and etc. The names Victor, David, and Cornelius are not found in the German Putman family so it is certain that the Dutch-American Pootman later known as the Putman family did not descend from Rutgerus Putmanus.
The coat of arms of Rutgerus Putmanus does not match the Dutch-American Pootman family coat of arms:
Twee Wapens [The Coat of Arms]:
I. Drie putemmers, 2 en 1 [Coat of Arms: 3 buckets, 2 at the top and 1 at the bottom].
II. Sic Rutgere faces cum coninge prolegue chara [For Rutger, it seems to mean, countenance with a coronet. Preface, prologe, or crest?, a chare, or char, which is like a pike. ].
III. Sic Putman taces vox ubi clara tua [For Putman nothing shown to indicate renown].
IV. Sit nunc in tumulo mutum sine sanguine corpus [Layout now towards cover, crest?, mute, without, and red body].
V. Eschilarent animam gaudia nulta poli [Shield embellished with white].
For information on the Belgium families that include the Pulleman, Putman, Poot, and Pootman families of Belgium, click the link below. There is a great deal of interesting information to be found here: