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

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

The Anglo- Norman Conquest of Ireland lead by Strongbow introduced the first non-Gaelic elements into Irish nomenclature. These Anglo- Normans brought some traditions to Ireland that were not readily found within Gaelic system of hereditary surnames. One of the best examples of this is the local surname. Local surnames, such as Forristal, were taken from the name of a place or a geographical feature where the person lived, held land, or was born. These surnames were very common in England, but were almost non-existent within Ireland previous to the conquest. The earliest surnames of this type came from Normandy, but as the Normans moved, they often created names in reference to where they actually resided. Therefore, some settlers eventually took names from Irish places. Originally, these place names were prefixed by "de," which means "from" in French. This type of prefix was eventually either made a part of the surname, if the place name began with a vowel, or was eliminated entirely. The Forristal family originally lived near a paddock, which is a small grassy enclosed area in which horses can graze and exercise. The surname Forristal is derived from a dialectical word which means paddock. The surname Forristal belongs to the large category of Anglo-Norman habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.


During the Middle Ages, a single person often had their name recorded by church officials and scribes many different ways. Names were typically spelt as they sounded, which resulted in many different spelling variations. The many versions of the name Forristal to have been recorded over the years include: Forristal, Forristall, Forrestal, Forrestall, Forrestell, Forestal, Forestel, Forestall, Forestell, Forstal, Forstall, Furstal and many more.

First found in Kent, where they held a family seat as Lords of the manor of Forstall, and were granted the lands by William the Conqueror for their assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Forristal research. Another 305 words (22 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1359, and 1682 are included under the topic Early Forristal History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Forristal Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Forristal Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Bridget Forristal, aged 22, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the brig "Lady Douglas" from New Ross


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: In corda inimicorum regis
Motto Translation: In the King's enemies


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  1. Harris, Ruth-Ann and B. Emer O'Keefe. The Search for Missing Friends Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot Volume II 1851-1853. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1991. Print.
  2. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  3. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  4. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  5. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
  6. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1978. Print.
  7. 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).
  8. 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.
  9. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
  10. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Forristal Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Forristal 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 10 January 2011 at 09:12.

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