Forrester History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Forrester 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, Forrester would have appeared independently in various parts of Britain.

Early Origins of the Forrester family

The surname Forrester 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. [1]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 include: Petrus Forestarius, Jordan le Forester; and Nicholas le Forester. [2] 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." [3]

Early History of the Forrester family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Forrester research. Another 105 words (8 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 Forrester History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Forrester Spelling Variations

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

Early Notables of the Forrester family (pre 1700)

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 Forrester Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Forrester family to Ireland

Some of the Forrester family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 43 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Forrester migration to the United States +

The New World beckoned settlers from the Scottish-English borders. 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." Among the early settlers bearing the Forrester surname who came to North America were:

Forrester Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Toby Forrester, who settled in Virginia in 1655
  • Toby Forrester, who landed in Virginia in 1658 [4]
  • John Forrester, who landed in Maryland in 1669 [4]
Forrester Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Geo Forrester, who landed in New York in 1751 [4]
Forrester Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Henry Forrester, aged 24, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1803 [4]
  • George Forrester, who arrived in Portsmouth, NH in 1810 [4]
  • Robert Forrester, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1836 [4]
  • Stephen Forrester, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1840 [4]
  • James Forrester, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1840 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Forrester migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Forrester Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Samuel Forrester, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Sarah Forrester, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Mr. George Peabody Forrester U.E. (b. 1757) who settled in Hampton, Kings County, New Brunswick c. 1784 he died in 1840 [5]
  • Mr. John Forrester U.E. (b. 1735) born in Rhode Island, USA who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 he died in 1821 in Hampton [5]
  • Mr. John Forrester Jr., U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Forrester migration to Australia +

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

Forrester Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William Forrester, a weaver, who arrived in New South Wales, Australia sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • William Forrester, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Dauntless" in 1840 [6]
  • Robert Forrester, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Dauntless" in 1840 [6]
  • Rachel Forrester, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "David Malcolm" in 1847 [7]
  • Zephaniah Forrester, aged 30, a bricklayer, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Telegraph"

New Zealand Forrester 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:

Forrester Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Forrester, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • Mr. William Forrester, (b. 1814), aged 27, British agricultural labourer travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Lord William Bentinck" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 24th May 1841 [8]
  • Mrs. Elizabeth Forrester, (b. 1817), aged 24, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Lord William Bentinck" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 24th May 1841 [8]
  • Miss Forrester, (b. 1832), aged 9, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Lord William Bentinck" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 24th May 1841 [8]
  • Miss Forrester, (b. 1833), aged 8, British settler travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Lord William Bentinck" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 24th May 1841 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Forrester (post 1700) +

  • Jay Wright Forrester (1918-2016), American pioneering computer engineer and professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, awarded the IEEE Medal of Honor (1972), Howard N. Potts Medal and National Medal of Technology and Innovation (1989)
  • Gary "Keshel" Forrester (b. 1946), American-born New Zealand musician, composer, novelist, poet, and memoirist
  • Patrick Graham Forrester (b. 1957), United States Army officer and a NASA astronaut with over 950 hours in space [9]
  • Cay Forrester (1921-2005), American film and television actress
  • Joel Forrester (b. 1946), American jazz pianist and composer
  • J. B. Forrester, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Arkansas, 1888 [10]
  • George B. Forrester (b. 1862), American Republican politician, Merchant; Member of Michigan State Senate 20th District, 1917-22 [10]
  • George B. Forrester, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from New York, 1892 [10]
  • Elizabeth G. Forrester, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1928 [10]
  • Elijah Lewis Forrester (1896-1970), American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Georgia, 1948, 1952; U.S. Representative from Georgia 3rd District, 1951-65 [10]
  • ... (Another 16 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Hood
  • Mr. John J Forrester (b. 1899), English Chief Petty Officer Writer serving for the Royal Navy from Broughton, Cumberland, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [11]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Joseph Forrester, British Petty Officer, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [12]


  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. 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. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  6. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) DAUNTLESS 1840. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1840Dauntless.htm
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) DAVID MALCOLM 1847. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1847DavidMalcolm.htm
  8. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  9. ^ NASA Astronauts Homepage. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) Patrick Forrester. Retrieved from http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/forreste.html
  10. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 23) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  11. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  12. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html


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