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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

Origins Available: English, Scottish

Where did the English Forrest family come from? What is the English Forrest family crest and coat of arms? When did the Forrest family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Forrest family history?

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

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] 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]


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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.

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Another 177 words(13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Forrest Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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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.

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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 Atlantic. 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


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


Forrest Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • 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


  • Jane Forrest, aged 30, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Ambassador" in 1834
  • James Forrest, aged 6, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Ambassador" in 1834
  • Mary Ann Forrest, aged 4, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Ambassador" in 1834
  • William Forrest, aged 1, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Ambassador" in 1834
  • Thomas Forrest, aged 21, a farmer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Perseus" in 1834


Forrest Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century


  • Miss J Forrest, who arrived in St 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


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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  • Sergeant Arthur J. Forrest (1896-1964), American soldier awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery
  • Edwin Forrest (1806-1872), American actor
  • Frederic Fenimore Forrest Jr. (b. 1936), Academy Award-nominated American actor
  • Brigadier-General Nathan Bedford Forrest (1905-1943), American Technical Observer, 402nd Provisional Combat Wing (1943)
  • Jimmy Forrest (1864-1925), Blackburn Rovers and England footballer
  • Mr. John Forrest, English Fireman from Bootle, Lancashire, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking
  • Paula Forrest (b. 1965), Australian actress
  • John Forrest (1847-1918), Australian explorer
  • Alexander Forrest CMG (1849-1901), explorer and surveyor of Western Australia
  • Craig Lorne Forrest (b. 1967), Canadian soccer commentator and a former goalkeeper

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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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  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. 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).
  2. 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).
  3. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  4. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  5. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  6. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  7. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  9. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  10. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  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 7 April 2015 at 15:58.

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