Forde History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

As an Irish surname, Forde was an Anglicized version of three different Gaelic names: "Mac Giolla Naomh," meaning "son of the devotee of the saints" was a Sept that originated in southern Connemara. The name also comes from "Mac Consnámha," or "son of the swimming hound." This Connacht Sept has also been Anglicized as Kinneavy. Lastly, in Cork, the name was an Anglicized version of "Fuaráin", though more often it was Anglicized as Foran. There are also many Irish bearers of this name, who are ultimately of English origin. The English name comes from the Old English word "ford," which denotes a shallow section of a river, where it can be crossed. One large family came to County Meath from Devon in the 14th century where they became large land-holders.

Early Origins of the Forde family

The surname Forde was first found in Connacht (Irish: Connachta, (land of the) descendants of Conn), and in County Cork where several distinct Irish Septs all came to be known by the English name Forde.

Early History of the Forde family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Forde research. Another 55 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1355, and 1604 are included under the topic Early Forde History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Forde Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Ford, Forde and others.

Early Notables of the Forde family (pre 1700)

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


United States Forde migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Forde Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Forde, aged 36, who arrived in New York in 1633 [1]
  • Ann Forde was recorded in Maryland in 1673
  • Ann Forde, who arrived in Maryland in 1673 [1]
Forde Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Charles Forde, who landed in Savanna(h), Georgia in 1855 [1]

Canada Forde migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Forde Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • James Forde, who arrived in New Brunswick, Canada in 1834
  • James Forde, aged 20, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Betsy Heron" from Belfast, Ireland
  • Robert Forde, aged 25, a farmer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Preston" from Sligo, Ireland

Australia Forde migration to Australia +

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

Forde Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Owen Forde, aged 26, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Amazon" [2]
  • Jane Forde, aged 22, a dressmaker, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Amazon" [2]
  • Mary Forde, aged 28, a housekeeper, who arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Amazon" [2]
  • Michael Forde, aged 22, a farm servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Sir Thomas Gresham" [3]
  • Patrick Forde, aged 29, who arrived in South Australia in 1857 aboard the ship "Sumner"

New Zealand Forde 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:

Forde Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Peter Forde, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "New Great Britain" arriving in Bluff, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 10th August 1863 [4]
  • Miss Bridget Forde, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "New Great Britain" arriving in Bluff, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 10th August 1863 [4]
  • Mr. James Forde, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Sir George Pollock" arriving in Bluff, Southland, South Island, New Zealand in January 1863 [5]
  • Miss Bridget Forde, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Sir George Pollock" arriving in Bluff, Southland, South Island, New Zealand in January 1863 [5]
  • Mr. James Forde, (b. 1853), aged 21, Irish farm labourer from Galway travelling from London aboard the ship "Tweed" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 4th September 1874 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Forde (post 1700) +

  • Pat Forde, American sports journalist, National columnist for Yahoo Sports
  • Gerhard O. Forde (1927-2005), American Lutheran theologian
  • Patrick Forde (1835-1913), Irish born, American journalist, who founded "The Irish World"
  • Mattie Forde, Irish Gaelic footballer
  • David Forde (b. 1979), Irish professional footballer
  • Ms. Sherley Forde B.E.M., British Catering Assistant for Cabinet Office, was appointed Medallist of the British Empire Medal 29th December 2018 for public service [6]
  • Duane Forde (b. 1969), Canadian Football League broadcaster for TSN
  • Sheri Forde (b. 1968), born Sheri Hargrave, a Canadian sports reporter formerly of TSN, wife of Duane Forde
  • Mary Marguerite "Leneen" Forde AC (b. 1935), born Mary Marguerite Leneen Kavanagh, Australian politician, 22nd Governor of Queensland (1992-1997)
  • Brinsley Forde MBE (b. 1953), English founder member of the reggae band Aswad
  • ... (Another 5 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Forde Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Lucrum Christi mihi
Motto Translation: Without Christ, there is no light.


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 3 February 1852. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) AMAZON 1852. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/amazon1852.shtml
  3. ^ South Australian Register Monday 20th March 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Sir Thomas Gresham 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/sirthomasgresham1854.shtml.
  4. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  5. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  6. ^ "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018, www.thegazette.co.uk/honours-lists


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