Fearns History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The tale of the name Fearns begins with a family who lived on the land of Fearn in Ross where "the Gaelic name of this parish, Fearnn, signifies 'the alder-tree,' and was applied in consequence of the great number of alders growing at Mid-Fearn, in the parish of Edderton, in the neighbourhood. An abbey was founded there in the reign of Alexander II., by Farquhar, first Earl of Ross." [1]

Early Origins of the Fearns family

The surname Fearns 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.

"Sir Andrew Ferae was one of the chaplains of the cathedral church of Dornoch in 1512, Sir Robert Fern or Ferne was curate of Golspie in 1546, and curate of Kylmalie in the same year." [2]

Saint Bartholomew of Farne (d. 1193) was a Benedictine hermit, born Tostig, to parents of Scandinavian origin, in Whitby, Northumbria, England. He received a vision of St Cuthbert, and then decided to inhabit Cuthbert's old cell on the island of Farne. There he remained for the remaining 42 years of his life.

Early History of the Fearns family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fearns research. Another 247 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1267, 1517, 1543, 1546, 1685, 1432, 1436, 1458, 1567, 1488, 1488, 1500, 1578, 1560, 1609, 1604, 1609, 1602, 1662, 1602 and 1610 are included under the topic Early Fearns History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Fearns Spelling Variations

Before the first dictionaries appeared in the last few hundred years, scribes spelled according to sound. spelling variations are common among Scottish names. Fearns has been spelled Ferns, Fearn, Fearns, Fearne, Fern, Ferne and others.

Early Notables of the Fearns family (pre 1700)

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 Parliament for Boroughbridge from 1604 to 1609. He was "the son of William Ferne of Temple Belwood in the isle of Axholme, Lincolnshire, who came originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire." [3] Henry Ferne (1602-1662), was an English bishop, Chaplain Extraordinary to Charles I...
Another 67 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Fearns Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Fearns migration to the United States +

In those unstable times, many had no choice but to leave their beloved homelands. Sickness and poverty hounded travelers to North America, but those who made it were welcomed with land and opportunity. These settlers gave the young nations of Canada and the United States a strong backbone as they stood up for their beliefs as United Empire Loyalists and in the American War of Independence. In this century, the ancestors of these brave Scots have begun to recover their illustrious heritage through Clan societies and other heritage organizations. Early passenger and immigration lists reveal many Scottish settlers bearing the name Fearns:

Fearns Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Wesley Fearns, aged 30, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1823 [4]

Australia Fearns migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Fearns Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Mary Fearns who was convicted in Stafford, Staffordshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Edward" on 23rd April 1834, arriving in Tasmania, (Van Diemen's Land) [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Fearns (post 1700) +

  • Sir John Fearns Nicoll (1899-1981), British colonial governor, Colonial Secretary of Hong Kong (1949-1952), Governor of Singapore (1952-1955)


  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  3. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  4. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  5. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th January 2022). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/edward


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