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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

A family in the Pictish tribe of ancient Scotland was the first to use the name Fearn. They lived on the land of Fearn in Ross where the family has a long and distinguished history dating back to the early Middle Ages.


The surname Fearn was first found in Ross-shire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Rois) a former county, now part of the Council Areas of Highland and Western Isles in Northern Scotland, which emerged from the Gaelic lordship of the Earl of Ross, 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.

In medieval Scotland, names were more often spelled according to sound than any regular set of rules. An enormous number of spelling variations were the result. Over the years, the name Fearn has been spelled Ferns, Fearn, Fearns, Fearne, Fern, Ferne and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fearn research. Another 223 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1267, 1500, 1578, 1560, 1609, 1604, 1609, 1602 and 1662 are included under the topic Early Fearn History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Notable amongst the Clan at this time was Sir John Ferne ( ca. 1560-1609), an English writer on heraldry and an eminent lawyer and politician, Member of...

Another 26 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Fearn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


In such difficult times, Ireland, Australia, and North America looked like better homes for many Scots. The trips were expensive and grueling, but also rewarding, as the colonies were havens for those unwelcome in the old country. That legacy did not die easily, though, and many were forced to fight for their freedom in the American War of Independence. The Scottish legacy has resurface in more recent times, though, through Clan societies, highland games, and other organizations. Immigration and passenger lists have shown many early immigrants bearing the old Scottish name of Fearn:

Fearn Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Elizabeth Fearn settled in New England in 1767

Fearn Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Felix Fearn settled in Philadelphia in 1877

Fearn Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • George Fearn, aged 27, a labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "La Hogue" in 1874
  • Eliza Fearn, aged 31, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "La Hogue" in 1874

  • Dr. Anne Walter Fearn (1865-1939), American missionary physician who went to Shanghai, China on a temporary posting in 1893, and remained there for 40 years
  • John Walker Fearn (1832-1899), American Confederate soldier later an American diplomat to Serbia, Romania, and Greece, Chief of the Department of Foreign Affairs for the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893
  • Thomas Fearn (1789-1863), American Confederate politician who served in the United States Army in the War of 1812 and as a member of the Alabama state legislature
  • Thomas Fearn (1789-1863), American politician, Member of Alabama State Legislature; Delegate from Alabama to the Confederate Provisional Congress, 1861
  • Iain Fearn (b. 1949), Scottish footballer who played from 1968 to 1974
  • Sir Patrick Robin Fearn KCMG (1934-2006), British diplomat, Ambassador to Cuba and Spain
  • John Fearn (1768-1837), British philosopher, a close friend of Samuel Parr and Basil Montagu
  • Sheila Fearn (b. 1940), British former actress, best known for playing Audrey, the sister of Terry Collier in The Likely Lads and Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?
  • John Russell Fearn (1908-1960), British prolific uthor who used various pseudonyms including Thornton Ayre, Polton Cross, Geoffrey Armstrong, John Cotton, Dennis Clive, Ephriam Winiki, Astron Del Martia and others
  • John Fearn (b. 1798), British Royal Navy officer, ship captain and explorer, the first European to discover the Pacific island of Nauru
  • ...

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    Other References

    1. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
    2. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
    3. 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).
    4. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
    5. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
    6. Fairbairn,. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
    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. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
    9. Moody David. Scottish Family History. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0806312688).
    10. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and Don Pottinger. Clan Map Scotland of Old. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1983. Print.
    11. ...

    The Fearn Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Fearn 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 08:29.

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