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

Origins Available: English, Scottish

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

The west coast of Scotland and the rocky Hebrides islands are the ancient home of the Farris family. The root of their name is the Scottish surname MacFergus, which means "son of Fergus", which is in turn derived from the Gaelic personal name "Fearghus," composed of the elements "fear," meaning "man," and "gus," meaning "vigor" or "force." This Gaelic name was found early in both Ireland and Scotland. The name is a cognate of with the Cymric "Gwr-gwst," Old Bret. "Urorgost" and the Pictish word "Forcus." This last Pictish form of the name is found on a monument at St. Vigeans in Angus as "Fercos."


Spelling and translation were not standardized practices until the last few centuries. Spelling variations are extremely common among early Scottish names. Farris has been spelled Fergus, Fergie, Forgie, Forgus, Ferris, Farris and many more.

First found in Galloway (Gaelic: Gall-ghaidhealaibh), an area of southwestern Scotland, now part of the Council Area of Dumfries and Galloway, that formerly consisted of the counties of Wigtown (West Galloway) and Kirkcudbright (East Galloway), Ireland where St. Fergus (Fergustian) (circa 730 AD) was an Irish bishop, who went to Scotland as a missionary. He settled near Strageath and founded three churches in Strogeth and two in Caithness. It is possible that he was the Fergustus Pictus who went to Rome in 721 AD. According to Irish lore, a family of this name descend from Fergus, Prince of Galloway (d. 1161), who is said to have married a daughter of Henry I of England.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Farris research. Another 283 words(20 lines of text) covering the years 1300, 1466, 1499, and 1582 are included under the topic Early Farris History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Some of the Farris family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 168 words(12 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Numerous Scottish settlers settled along the east coast of the colonies that would become the United States and Canada. Others traveled to the open country of the west. At the time of the American War of Independence, some remained in the United States, while those who remained loyal to the crown went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The highland games and Clan societies that sprang up across North America in the 20th century have helped many Scots to recover parts of their lost traditions. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Farriss to arrive in North America:

Farris Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Ellen Farris, who landed in New York, NY in 1815
  • Robert Farris, who landed in New York, NY in 1815
  • Daniel Farris, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1841
  • John Farris, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1844
  • Manuel Farris, aged 40, arrived in New Orleans, La in 1848

Farris Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Mike Farris, who arrived in Arkansas in 1901
  • M G Farris, who landed in Mississippi in 1904

Farris Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Alfred William Farris, aged 21, a carpenter, arrived in Otago aboard the ship "Dallam Tower" in 1875
  • George Henry Farris, aged 23, a carpenter, arrived in Otago aboard the ship "Dallam Tower" in 1875


  • Dionne Farris (b. 1969), American R&B/soul musician
  • Darren Farris (b. 1972), American singer-songwriter
  • Amy Farris (1968-2009), American fiddler, singer and songwriter
  • Thomas George Farris (1920-2002), American NFL football quarterback
  • Vera King Farris (1938-2009), the first African-American president of a New Jersey public college
  • Major General Jack K. Farris (b. 1934), United States Air Force officer, recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Purple Heart, and the Meritorious Service Medal
  • Katherine Farris, Canadian landscape artist
  • Mr. Joseph  Farris (1892-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917


  • The Family of John Martin and Margaret Faris (also Farris) of Spartanburg County, South Carolina by Judy L. Harvey.
  • The Faris Family of Washington County, Indiana: A Genealogy of the Descendants of William Farrie Born in County Antrim, Ireland, About the Year 1745, Settled on Rocky Creek, Chester County, South Carolina in 1772 by David Faris.

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  1. Urquhart, Blair Edition. Tartans The New Compact Study Guide and Identifier. Secauccus, NJ: Chartwell Books, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0-7858-0050-6).
  2. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  3. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  4. Warner, Philip Warner. Famous Scottish Battles. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-004-4).
  5. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  6. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  7. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
  8. Scots Kith and Kin And Illustrated Map Revised 2nd Edition. Edinburgh: Clan House/Albyn. Print.
  9. 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).
  10. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Farris Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Farris 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 13 November 2014 at 16:21.

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