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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

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

The illustrious surname Forshee is classified as a habitation surname, which was originally derived from a place-name, and is one form of surname belonging to a broader group called hereditary surnames. Habitation names were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. Topographic names, form the other broad category of surnames that was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree.

Other local names are derived from the names of houses, manors, estates, regions, and entire counties. As a general rule, the greater the distance between an individual and their homeland, the larger the territory they were named after. For example, a person who only moved to another parish would be known by the name of their original village, while people who migrated to a different country were often known by the name of a region or country from which they came. Forshee is a place-name from in the parish of Prescot, Lancashire. The surname Forshee is a habitational name, which is a variety of local names, and belongs to the larger category of surnames, known as hereditary surnames.In this case, the name Forshee is derived from Fourgeres, a place-name found in Bretagne, France. It was brought to England by the Bretons who accompanied William the Conqueror in his conquest of England in 1066; while William was a Norman Duke, fully a third of his forces were from Brittany.


Since the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules, Breton surnames have many spelling variations. Latin and French, which were the official court languages, were also influential on the spelling of surnames. The spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules. Therefore, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England after the Norman Conquest, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. The name has been spelled Foreshaw, Foreshawe, Forshaw, Forshawe, Foreshoe, Forshoe, Forshew, Foreshew and many more.

First found in Buckinghamshire, where Ralph de Fougeres was tenant in chief and held many Lordships in Buckingham, Devon, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Surrey. The name Forshaw phonetically responds to this Breton name and has been linked to this notable Breton stock, which was descended from Alan, Baron of Fourgeres in Brittany living about 900 A.D. Descended in 1066 was Maine II who was Baron of Fougeres at the time of the Conquest. Maine was succeeded by Raoul or Ralph in 1084 and held his lands in chief in Devon. He was a great benefactor and founded the Abbey of Savigny and the Abbey of Risle which were amongst his vast domains in Normandy. His son Henry became a monk at the Abbey of Savigny. Both Ralph and William de Fougeres attended Duke William at the Conquest.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Forshee research. Another 131 words (9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Forshee History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Forshee, or a variant listed above:

Forshee Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • I Forshee, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851

Forshee Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Mr. James Forshee U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784


  • Ray Louis Forshee (1884-1974), American Democrat politician, Candidate for Supervisor of Pittsfield Township, Michigan, 1941
  • Ivan Forshee, American Republican politician, Chair of St. Francois County Republican Party, 1949
  • Frank J. Forshee (1896-1991), American Democrat politician, Candidate for supervisor of Pittsfield Township, Michigan, 1934, 1935, 1937, 1938, 1940


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  1. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  2. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  3. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  4. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  5. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  6. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. 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. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  9. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  10. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Forshee Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Forshee 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 23 November 2015 at 09:51.

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