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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Origins Available: English, Scottish

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

The ancestors of the first family to use the name Foster lived among the Boernician tribe of ancient Scotland. They lived in areas near or inside a forest. Some research suggests that the surname is also a shortened form of Forester. The Middle English word forest referred specifically to an area of woodland reserved by law as hunting grounds for the king or his nobles. As such, the surname, Foster would have appeared independently in various parts of Britain.

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Boernician names that evolved in the largely preliterate Middle Ages are often marked by considerable spelling variations. Foster has been spelled Forrester, Forester, Forrest, Forster, Foster, Forrestor and many more.

First found in Northumberland, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D. 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. 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.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Foster research. Another 271 words(19 lines of text) covering the years 1379, 1390, 1527, 1520, 1602, 1654, 1633, 1698, 1668, 1720, 1701, 1714, 1703, 1715, 1709, 1709, 1711 and are included under the topic Early Foster History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 79 words(6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Foster Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Foster family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 245 words(18 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Boernician-Scottish Clan families who came to North America were Loyalists who went north to Canada after the American War of Independence. Families on both sides of the border went on to found two of the world's great nations. This century, families with Scottish roots have rediscovered their heritage through highland games and clan societies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Foster or a variant listed above:

Foster Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Samuel Foster, who arrived in New England in 1619
  • John Foster, to Virginia in 1623
  • John Foster, who landed in Jamestown, Va in 1624
  • Thomas Foster, who arrived in America in 1634
  • Sylas Foster, aged 22, arrived in Virginia in 1635


Foster Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Daniel] Foster, who landed in Virginia in 1700
  • Thos Foster, who landed in Virginia in 1714
  • Phillis Foster, who arrived in Virginia in 1714
  • Julian Foster, who arrived in Virginia in 1717
  • Sam Foster, who landed in South Carolina in 1728


Foster Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Martha Foster, aged 22, arrived in New York, NY in 1803
  • Charles Foster, who arrived in America in 1805
  • Alex Foster, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1808
  • Arthur Foster, aged 22, landed in New York in 1812
  • George S Foster, aged 27, arrived in New York in 1812


Foster Settlers in United States in the 20th Century


  • Chamberlain Burke Foster, aged 25, landed in Mississippi in 1907
  • Louis Samuel Foster, who arrived in Alabama in 1912
  • Lee Peter Foster, who landed in Alabama in 1921
  • Alfred Scott Foster, who landed in Alabama in 1921
  • Edward Augustus Foster, who landed in Alabama in 1926


Foster Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Bennet Foster, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Patrick Foster, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Robt Foster, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1760
  • Asa Foster, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1760
  • Eleanor Foster, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1774


Foster Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Asher M Foster, who landed in Canada in 1828
  • Jude Foster, who landed in Canada in 1829
  • James Foster, who landed in Canada in 1830
  • Nathaniel Foster, who landed in Canada in 1831
  • Hamilton Foster, aged 13, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Bartley" in 1833


Foster Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century


  • H Foster, who landed in St John, New Brunswick in 1907

Foster Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • William Foster, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 17, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • Rebecca Foster, English convict from Surrey, who was transported aboard the "America" on December 30, 1830, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • Thomas Foster, English convict from Chester, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on February 22, 1834, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Austraila
  • Mary Foster, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on December 14, 1835, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Austraila
  • Mary Ann Foster arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Buckinghamshire" in 1839


Foster Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • John Foster landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • James Ramsay Foster landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Coromandel
  • James Ramsay Foster arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Coromandel" in 1840
  • James Foster arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Bombay" in 1842
  • W Foster landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1845


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  • Lawrence Foster (b. 1941), American conductor
  • Stephen Collins Foster (1826-1864), American songwriter and composer who wrote "My Old Kentucky Home", "Old Folks at Home" and "Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair", but died almost destitute in the Bellevue Hospital in New York
  • Susanna Foster (1924-2009), American film actress best known for her leading role as Christine in the 1943 film version of The Phantom of the Opera
  • Alicia Christian "Jodie" Foster (b. 1962), American actress, film director and producer with two Academy Awards,three Bafta Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a People's Choice Award
  • John Watson Foster (1836-1917), American military man, journalist and diplomat
  • Sergeant Gary Evans Foster (1894-1951), United States Army soldier awarded the Medal of Honor
  • Brigadier-General George Burgess Jr. Foster (1884-1949), American Commanding Officer Tripler General Hospital (1939-1941)
  • Major-General Ivan Leon Foster (1896-1965), American Deputy Chief of Staff Allied Forces North Africa (1944-1945)
  • Abby Kelley Foster (1811-1887), American abolitionist and radical social reformer
  • Lisa Raines Foster (b. 1964), Canadian television and movie actress, director, visual effects artist and animation producer

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  1. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
  2. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  3. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Scotch Irish Pioneers In Ulster and America. Montana: Kessinger Publishing. Print.
  4. Prebble, John. The Highland Clearances. London: Secker & Warburg, 1963. Print.
  5. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
  6. Paul, Sir James Balfour. An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland Second Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1903. Print.
  7. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  8. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  9. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. The Charters of David I The Written Acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of His Son Henry, Earl of Northumerland, 1139-52. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999. Print.
  10. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  11. ...

The Foster Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Foster 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 8 April 2015 at 07:54.

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