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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English, Scottish


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."

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The surname Farris was 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.

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.


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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.

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

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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.

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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

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  • 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
  • Vera King Farris (1938-2009), the first African-American president of a New Jersey public college
  • Thomas George Farris (1920-2002), American NFL football quarterback
  • Amy Farris (1968-2009), American fiddler, singer and songwriter
  • Darren Farris (b. 1972), American singer-songwriter
  • Charles J. Farris, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Illinois, 1940
  • Anthony J. P. Farris, American Republican politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Texas 8th District, 1960, 1962; U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas, 1969-74
  • Anna Farris, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Arkansas, 2004
  • Andrew Paul Farris (b. 1957), American Libertarian politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Texas 11th District, 2002
  • Alvin Farris, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Kentucky, 1972

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  • 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. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  2. Scots Kith and Kin And Illustrated Map Revised 2nd Edition. Edinburgh: Clan House/Albyn. Print.
  3. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  4. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
  5. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  6. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  7. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and David Hicks. The Highland Clans The Dynastic Origins, Cheifs and Background of the Clans. New York: C.N. Potter, 1968. Print.
  8. Bain, Robert. The Clans and Tartans of Scotland. Glasgow & London: Collins, 1968. Print. (ISBN 000411117-6).
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  10. 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.
  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 18 April 2016 at 15:01.

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