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Origins Available: English, Scottish


The Forrest surname was no doubt taken on by someone who either lived in or near a forest, or perhaps worked in the forest. The Middle English word "forest" referred specifically to an area of woodland reserved by law as hunting grounds for the king or his nobles. No doubt, as a surname, Forrest would have appeared independently in various parts of Britain.

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The surname Forrest was first found in Northumberland, but early records include John Forester, listed in the Pipe Rolls of Surrey of 1183, and Richard le Forester listed in the Feet of Fines of Essex in 1240. The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 include: Petrus Forestarius, Jordan le Forester; and Nicholas le Forester. [1]CITATION[CLOSE]
Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
There was also a Shropshire family of this name, who held custody of part of the Wrekin forest. An early record of this family lists a Hugh Forester as a witness 1187. As a trade name, the family were traditional "officers made by letters patent under the great seal, and sworn to preserve vert and venison in the forest; and to attend upon the wild beasts within his bailiwick; to attach offenders there either in Vert or Venison, and to preserve the same at the courts of the Forest." [2]CITATION[CLOSE]
Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.

The name Forrest, appeared in many references, and from time to time, the surname was spelt Forrester, Forester, Forrest, Forster, Foster, Forrestor and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Forrest research. Another 209 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1379, 1471, 1538, 1623, 1652, 1655, 1718, 1679, 1690, 1758, 1767, 1828 and 1698 are included under the topic Early Forrest History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Notable amongst the family name during their early history was John Forrest (1471-1538), English friar and martyr; Francis Forester (b. 1623) was High Sheriff of Shropshire in 1652; Sir William Forester (1655-1718), of Dothill in Wellington, Shropshire, Member of Parliament for the borough constituency of Wenlock (1679 to his death)...

Another 49 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Forrest Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Some of the Forrest family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 75 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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The New World beckoned as many of the settlers in Ireland, known as the Scotch/Irish, became disenchanted. They sailed aboard the armada of sailing ships known as the "White Sails" which plied the stormy Atlanti c. Some called them, less romantically, the "coffin ships." Amongst the early settlers who could be considered kinsmen of the Forrest family, or who bore a variation of the surname Forrest were

Forrest Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Mrs. Forrest, who arrived in Jamestown, Va in 1607
  • Thomas Forrest, who arrived in Jamestown, Va in 1607
  • James Forrest, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1640
  • Patrick Forrest, who arrived in Maryland in 1648
  • Joseph Forrest, who landed in Virginia in 1650
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Forrest Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Ellen Forrest, who landed in Virginia in 1706
  • Anthony Forrest, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1758
  • Jean Forrest, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1763
  • Pierre Forrest, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1763

Forrest Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • William Forrest, who arrived in America in 1800
  • Robert Forrest, who arrived in New York in 1813
  • Michael Forrest, who arrived in Mississippi in 1831
  • Agnes Currie Forrest, who arrived in New York in 1839
  • John Forrest, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1840
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Forrest Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • James Forrest, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • John Forrest, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Ms. Laurania Forrest U.E. (née Morden) who settled in Home District [York County], Ontario c. 1786 widow of Mathew Forrest

Forrest Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Thomas Forrest, aged 25, landed in Quebec in 1833
  • Jane Forrest, aged 30, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Ambassador" in 1834
  • James Forrest, aged 6, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Ambassador" in 1834
  • Mary Ann Forrest, aged 4, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Ambassador" in 1834
  • William Forrest, aged 1, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Ambassador" in 1834
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Forrest Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century

  • Miss J Forrest, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1907

Forrest Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Mary Ann Forrest, English convict from York, who was transported aboard the "America" on December 30, 1830, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • James Forrest arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Prince George" in 1838
  • Janet Forrest arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Prince George" in 1838
  • William Forrest arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Canton" in 1846
  • George Forrest arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hibernia" in 1851
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Forrest Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Daniel Forrest arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Empress" in 1865
  • William Forrest, aged 35, a gardener, arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Queen of the North" in 1874
  • Harriet Forrest, aged 38, arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Queen of the North" in 1874
  • George Forrest, aged 8, arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Queen of the North" in 1874
  • Caleb Forrest, aged 11, arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Queen of the North" in 1874
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  • Edwin Forrest (1806-1872), American Shakespearean actor whose feud with the British actor William Charles Macready helped spark the deadly Astor Place Riot of 1849
  • Brigadier-General Nathan Bedford Forrest (1905-1943), American Technical Observer, 402nd Provisional Combat Wing (1943)
  • Uriah Forrest (1746-1805), American politician, Member of Maryland State House of Delegates, 1781-83, 1786-90; U.S. Representative from Maryland 3rd District, 1793-94; Member of Maryland State Senate, 1796-1800
  • W. A. Forrest, American politician, Mayor of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, 1954-55
  • W. M. Forrest, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Texas, 1948
  • William T. Forrest, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Ohio, 1860
  • James Forrest, American politician, Presidential Elector for Maryland, 1820
  • George Frank Forrest (b. 1870), American politician, Mayor of Juneau, Alaska, 1901-02, 1904-05, 1907-08
  • George Forrest, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Arkansas, 1996, 2000 (alternate)
  • Charles P. Forrest, American Democrat politician, Candidate for New York State Assembly from Kings County 10th District, 1904
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Forrest Historic Events



Halifax Explosion

  • Mr. John  Forrest (1866-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who survived the Halifax Explosion on 6th December 1917 but later died due to injuries

HMS Hood

  • Mr. Victor Forrest (b. 1920), English Petty Officer Steward serving for the Royal Navy from Lower Stratton, Wiltshire, England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Hood and died on 24th May 1941 in the sinking
  • Mr. George M D Forrest (b. 1919), English Wireman serving for the Royal Navy from Newcastle, England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Hood and died on 24th May 1941 in the sinking
  • Mr. Ernest W Forrest (b. 1914), English Writer serving for the Royal Navy from Liverpool, Lancashire, England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Hood and died on 24th May 1941 in the sinking

RMS Lusitania

  • Mr. John Forrest, English Fireman from Bootle, Lancashire, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking
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  • The Browns and Forrests of Scotland, Who Came to Tennessee at the End of the Nineteenth Century, and Their Family by Forrest David Brown.
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Citations



  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.

Other References

  1. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  2. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  3. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  4. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  6. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  7. 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.
  8. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  9. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  10. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  11. ...

The Forrest Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Forrest 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 30 May 2016 at 23:31.

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