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

Origins Available: English, Scottish

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

The Forrester 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, Forrester would have appeared independently in various parts of Britain.


The name, Forrester, occurred in many references, and from time to time, it 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 Forrester 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 Forrester History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Some of the Forrester 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 settlers from the Scottish-English borders. 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." Among the early settlers bearing the Forrester surname who came to North America were:

Forrester Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Toby Forrester settled in Virginia in 1655
  • Toby Forrester, who settled in Virginia in 1655
  • Toby Forrester, who landed in Virginia in 1658
  • John Forrester, who landed in Maryland in 1669

Forrester Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Geo Forrester, who landed in New York in 1751

Forrester Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Henry Forrester, aged 24, arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1803
  • George Forrester, who arrived in Portsmouth, NH in 1810
  • Robert Forrester, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1836
  • Stephen Forrester, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1840
  • James Forrester, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1840


  • Patrick Graham Forrester (b. 1957), United States Army officer and a NASA astronaut with over 950 hours in space
  • Joel Forrester (b. 1946), American jazz pianist and composer
  • Cay Forrester (1921-2005), American film and television actress
  • Gary "Keshel" Forrester (b. 1946), American-born New Zealand musician, composer, novelist, poet, and memoirist
  • Jay Wright Forrester (b. 1918), American computer engineer, systems scientist and professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, founder of System Dynamics
  • William "Billy" Forrester (b. 1869), English footballer
  • George Larmouth Forrester (1927-1981), English former professional footballer
  • Maureen Kathleen Stewart Forrester CC, OQ (1930-2010), Canadian operatic contralto
  • George Forrester (1934-2001), Scottish former footballer
  • Stephanie Emma Forrester (b. 1969), British gold medalist triathlete at the 2000 ITU Duathlon World Championships


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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. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  3. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  4. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  5. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  6. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  7. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. 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. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  10. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  11. ...

The Forrester Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Forrester 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 28 October 2013 at 11:18.

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