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

Origins Available: English, French, German, Italian

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

The name Fort has a history dating as far back as the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. It was a name for a strong, brave, or hardy person as the name was originally derived from the Old French fort, which meant strong. Another derivation suggests that the name is a local surname and it indicates that its bearer lived near a fortress or stronghold. The former is more common, but time has confused the two derivations and etymologists now disagree on which is appropriate in a given instance.

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Before the last few hundred years the English language had no fixed system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations occurred commonly in Anglo Norman surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Fort were recorded, including Fort, Forte, Forts, Fortes, Foort, Foorte and many more.

First found in Lancashire where they were granted lands by William the Conqueror for their assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D. They were Lords of the manor of this estate. They are believed to be descended from the Norman noble, William de Fortibus, Earl of Albemarle, who married Isobel, Countess of Devon. This line eventually became Earls of Lancaster, and conjecturally the junior lines assumed the name Forte.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fort research. Another 172 words(12 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Fort History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Fort Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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The unstable environment in England at this time caused numerous families to board ships and leave in search of opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad in places like Ireland, Australia, and particularly the New World. The voyage was extremely difficult, however, and only taken at great expense. The cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels caused many to arrive diseased and starving, not to mention destitute from the enormous cost. Still opportunity in the emerging nations of Canada and the United States was far greater than at home and many went on to make important contributions to the cultures of their adopted countries. An examination of many early immigration records reveals that people bearing the name Fort arrived in North America very early:

Fort Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Marmaduke Fort, who landed in Maryland in 1653
  • John Fort, who arrived in Maryland in 1678
  • John Fort who settled in Maryland in 1685
  • John Fort settled in Maryland in 1685

Fort Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Jean Fort, aged 30, landed in Louisiana in 1720
  • Francis Fort settled in Virginia in 1736
  • Claude Fort settled in Louisiana in 1756
  • Andrew Fort, who arrived in New York in 1760
  • Andreas Fort, who came to New York in 1771

Fort Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Lewis Emanuel Fort settled in Philadelphia in 1804
  • Lewis Emanuel Fort settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1804
  • C Fort, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • J. A. Fort settled in San Francisco, California in 1852
  • J. A. Fort settled in San Francisco in 1852


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  • Charles Hoy Fort (1874-1932), American writer and researcher into anomalous phenomena
  • Brigadier-General Guy Osborne Fort (1879-1942), American Commanding General Lanao Force (1942)
  • Jean Fort, former headmistress of Rodean
  • Alain Roger Louis Fort, French lawyer and deputy in Paris
  • Jean Pierre Fort, French engineer, General Controller of the army, and Director of firms in Paris
  • Ricardo Fort (1968-2013), Argentine entrepreneur and television director


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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Fortis et audax
Motto Translation: Strong and brave

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  1. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  2. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  4. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  5. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  6. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  7. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  8. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  9. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  10. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  11. ...

The Fort Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Fort 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 11 December 2013 at 10:28.

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