Flett History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The forefathers of the Flett family were Viking settlers who came to Scotland in the Middle Ages. Many places were named by these Norsemen, and the Flett surname was taken on from one of these place names, when someone lived in Flet, a place-name found in the Orkney Islands. This was probably derived from the Old Norse word flötr, which meant "stretch of arable land."

Early Origins of the Flett family

The surname Flett was first found in the Orkneys, where they held a family seat from very ancient times. They derived their name from the village of Flett in the parish of Delting in the Shetland Islands. The name is mentioned in the early Viking sagas, and was one of the most prominent names mentioned in those sagas.

"The family was at one time of such importance that, if they had ever been 'of Flett' we should have evidence of it" [1]

Early History of the Flett family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Flett research. Another 103 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1427, 1480, 1509, 1516 and 1665 are included under the topic Early Flett History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Flett Spelling Variations

Sound and intuition were the main things that scribes in the Middle Ages relied on when spelling and translating names. Since those factors varied, so did the spelling of the names. Spelling variations of the name Flett include Flet, Flett, Fletts, Flait and others.

Early Notables of the Flett family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Flett Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Flett migration to the United States +

In North America, the monarchy was thousands of miles away and Scots were free to settle on their own land and practice their own beliefs. The American War of Independence provided an opportunity for these settlers to pay back the English monarchy and forge a new nation. Recently, this heritage has survived through North American highland games and Clan societies. Early North American immigration and passenger lists have revealed a number of people bearing the name Flett or a variant listed above:

Flett Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Isobel Flett, who arrived in Savanna(h), Georgia in 1775 [2]
Flett Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • M. Flett, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the 18th century

Canada Flett migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Flett Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John Flett, who arrived in Canada in 1817

Australia Flett migration to Australia +

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

Flett Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Flett, (Fleet), (b. 1815), aged 22, Scottish convict who was convicted in Inverness, Scotland for 7 years for house breaking, transported aboard the "Blenheim" on 11th March 1837, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [3]
  • David Flett, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "David Malcolm" in 1849 [4]
  • Thomas Flett, aged 36, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Adelaide" [5]
  • Gilbert Flett, aged 38, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Adelaide" [5]
  • James Flett, aged 38, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Sibella" [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Flett migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Flett Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Ann Flett, (b. 1837), aged 27, British domestic servant travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Indian Empire" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 24th March 1864 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Flett (post 1700) +

  • James Flett (b. 1869), American politician, U.S. Vice Consul in Kirkwall, 1915-18 [8]
  • Sir John Smith Flett (1869-1947), Scottish geologist, elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1913
  • Steve Flett (b. 1972), English singer, songwriter and musician, best known for his work with the band Ooberman
  • Thomas Muirhead Flett (1923-1976), English mathematician at Sheffield University
  • Keith Flett (b. 1956), British socialist historian and "self-appointed epistolary custodian of the Left" in London, United Kingdom
  • John Flett (1963-1991), British designer
  • Sir Martin Teall Flett, Director, Decca Ltd
  • Jack Flett (1871-1932), Canadian gold medalist lacrosse player at the 1904 Summer Olympics from Kildonan, Manitoba
  • William Mayer "Cowboy" Flett (1943-1999), Canadian NHL professional hockey player
  • Keith Flett (b. 1956), English socialist historian
  • ... (Another 2 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 15th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/blenheim
  4. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) DAVID MALCOLM 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849DavidMalcolm.htm
  5. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 3 February 1852. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) ADELAIDE 1852. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/adelaide1852.shtml
  6. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 3 February 1852. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) SIBELLA 1852. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/sibella1852.shtml.
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  8. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 17) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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