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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: English, Scottish

Where did the English Forrest family come from? What is the English Forrest family crest and coat of arms? When did the Forrest family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Forrest family history?

The Forrest surname was no doubt taken on by someone who either lived in or near a forest, or perhaps worked in the forest. The Middle English word "forest" referred specifically to an area of woodland reserved by law as hunting grounds for the king or his nobles. No doubt, as a surname, Forrest would have appeared independently in various parts of Britain.


The name Forrest, appeared in many references, and from time to time, the surname was spelt Forrester, Forester, Forrest, Forster, Foster, Forrestor and many more.

First found in Northumberland, but early records include John Forester, listed in the Pipe Rolls of Surrey of 1183, and Richard le Forester listed in the Feet of Fines of Essex in 1240. The Hundred Rolls of 1273 include: Petrus Forestarius, Jordan le Forester; and Nicholas le Forester. [1] There was also a Shropshire family of this name, who held custody of part of the Wrekin forest. An early record of this family lists a Hugh Forester as a witness 1187. As a trade name, the family were traditional "officers made by letters patent under the great seal, and sworn to preserve vert and venison in the forest; and to attend upon the wild beasts within his bailiwick; to attach offenders there either in Vert or Venison, and to preserve the same at the courts of the Forest." [2]


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Forrest research. Another 209 words(15 lines of text) covering the years 1379, 1471, 1538, 1623, 1652, 1655, 1718, 1679, 1690, 1758, 1767, 1828 and 1698 are included under the topic Early Forrest History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 177 words(13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Forrest Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Forrest family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 75 words(5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


The New World beckoned as many of the settlers in Ireland, known as the Scotch/Irish, became disenchanted. They sailed aboard the armada of sailing ships known as the "White Sails" which plied the stormy Atlantic. Some called them, less romantically, the "coffin ships." Amongst the early settlers who could be considered kinsmen of the Forrest family, or who bore a variation of the surname Forrest were

Forrest Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Mrs. Forrest, who arrived in Jamestown, Va in 1607
  • Thomas Forrest, who arrived in Jamestown, Va in 1607
  • James Forrest, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1640
  • Patrick Forrest, who arrived in Maryland in 1648
  • Joseph Forrest, who landed in Virginia in 1650

Forrest Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Ellen Forrest, who landed in Virginia in 1706
  • Anthony Forrest, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1758
  • Jean Forrest, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1763
  • Pierre Forrest, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1763

Forrest Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • William Forrest, who arrived in America in 1800
  • Robert Forrest, who arrived in New York in 1813
  • Michael Forrest, who arrived in Mississippi in 1831
  • Agnes Currie Forrest, who arrived in New York in 1839
  • John Forrest, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1840


  • Sergeant Arthur J. Forrest (1896-1964), American soldier awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery
  • Edwin Forrest (1806-1872), American actor
  • Frederic Fenimore Forrest Jr. (b. 1936), Academy Award-nominated American actor
  • Brigadier-General Nathan Bedford Forrest (1905-1943), American Technical Observer, 402nd Provisional Combat Wing (1943)
  • Jimmy Forrest (1864-1925), Blackburn Rovers and England footballer
  • Paula Forrest (b. 1965), Australian actress
  • John Forrest (1847-1918), Australian explorer
  • Alexander Forrest CMG (1849-1901), explorer and surveyor of Western Australia
  • Craig Lorne Forrest (b. 1967), Canadian soccer commentator and a former goalkeeper
  • George Forrest (1873-1932), Scottish botanist and plant collector



  • The Browns and Forrests of Scotland, Who Came to Tennessee at the End of the Nineteenth Century, and Their Family by Forrest David Brown.

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  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.

Other References

  1. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  3. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  4. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  5. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  7. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  8. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  9. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  10. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  11. ...

The Forrest Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Forrest Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 6 July 2014 at 21:27.

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