Forster History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Forster 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, Forster would have appeared independently in various parts of Britain. Alternately, some instances of this surname are thought to derive from the Old French (Norman) word "forcetier," which was originally an occupational name for a maker or user of scissors or clipping shears.

Early Origins of the Forster family

The surname Forster was first found in Northumberland where early records include John Forester, listed in the Pipe Rolls of Surrey of 1183, Warin le Forstere in London in 1199, and Richard le Forester listed in the Feet of Fines of Essex in 1240. There was a line of Forsters who held Bamborough Castle, Northumberland, beginning with Sir John Forster, said to have fought with King Richard I in the Crusades of the 12th century; Governing the castle until the mid 18th century. 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. Adderstone in Northumberland was another ancient family seat. "The manor [of Adderstone] was possessed by the ancient family of Forster, from whom it came, in 1763, to John William Bacon, Esq." [1] And another branch of the family ewas found at Beadnell, again in Northumberland. "Here is a small castle, which formerly belonged to the family of Forster; and close to the sea are remains of a chapel, supposed to have been a cell to Coldingham monastery." [1]

Early History of the Forster family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Forster research. Another 129 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1202, 1275, 1379, 1515, 1602, 1663, 1619, 1620, 1649, 1711, 1677, 1704, 1574, 1572, 1575, 1569, 1635, 1633, 1635, 1511, 1558, 1555, 1558, 1698, 1668, 1720, 1701, 1714, 1703, 1715, 1709, 1709 and 1711 are included under the topic Early Forster History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Forster Spelling Variations

Although the name, Forster, appeared in many references, from time to time, the surname was shown with the spellings Forrester, Forester, Forrest, Forster, Foster, Forrestor, Forrister, Fewster, Foister, Foyster and many more.

Early Notables of the Forster family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family name during their early history was Sir John Forster (c.1515-1602), English administrator and soldier; Sir William Forster; and his son, Sir Humfrey Forester, 1st Baronet (died 1663) of Aldermaston, Berkshire, Sheriff of Berkshire (1619-1620); and his son, Sir Humphrey Forster, 2nd Baronet (c 1649-1711), an English politician, Member of Parliament for Berkshire in 1677, Sheriff of Berkshire in 1704. Sir Humphrey's second son, William Forster...
Another 68 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Forster Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Forster family to Ireland

Some of the Forster family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 79 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Forster migration to the United States +

Gradually becoming disenchanted with life in Ireland many of these uprooted families sailed aboard the armada of sailing ships known as the "White Sails" which plied the stormy Atlantic. These overcrowded ships often arrived with only 60 to 70% of their original passenger list, many dying of cholera, typhoid, dysentery or small pox. In North America, some of the first immigrants who could be considered kinsmen of the Forster family name Forster, or who bore a variation of the surname were

Forster Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Josias Forster, aged 43, who landed in Bermuda in 1635 [2]
  • Jane Forster, who arrived in Maryland in 1653 [2]
  • Richard Forster, who landed in Maryland in 1653 [2]
  • Richard, Forster Jr., who arrived in Maryland in 1653 [2]
  • Ann Forster, who arrived in Maryland in 1653 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Forster Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Peter Forster, who arrived in New Jersey in 1709 [2]
  • Johan Mike] Forster, who landed in New York in 1709 [2]
  • Johan Georg Forster, who arrived in New York, NY in 1710 [2]
  • Hans Michael Forster, who settled in Philadelphia in 1727
  • Johan Jac Forster, aged 30, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1741 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Forster Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Forster, who landed in America in 1806 [2]
  • Elnr Forster, who landed in America in 1806 [2]
  • Francis Forster, who landed in Maryland in 1807 [2]
  • Frederick Forster, who arrived in Mississippi in 1839 [2]
  • Andra Forster, who landed in New York, NY in 1843 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Forster Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Bertha Forster, who arrived in Colorado in 1903 [2]

Canada Forster migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Forster Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mrs. Forster, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1778
Forster Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Miss. Wilhelmine Forster, aged 2 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Canton" departing 20th June 1847 from Bremen, Germany; the ship arrived on 7th August 1847 but she died on board [3]

Australia Forster migration to Australia +

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

Forster Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

New Zealand Forster 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:

Forster Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • James Rumsey Forster, aged 22, a bookseller, who arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Gertrude" in 1841
  • John Forster, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Whitby" in 1841
  • Lucy Forster, aged 21, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Lloyds" in 1842
  • Richard Forster, aged 18, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ambrosine" in 1860
  • Holman Forster, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of Beauty" in 1863
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Forster (post 1700) +

  • Robert Forster (1941-2019), American actor nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1997 for Jackie Brown
  • William Forster (1784-1854), English-born, American preacher, Quaker elder and a fervent abolitionist, an early member of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society in 1839
  • Brigadier-General George Jacob Forster (1891-1979), American Assistant Commanding General 66th Division (1944-1945) [9]
  • John Forster (b. 1948), American folk musician
  • George J. Forster (1905-1988), American politician, Mayor of Madison, Wisconsin, 1950-55 [10]
  • George H. Forster, American Democrat politician, Member of New York State Senate 11th District, 1880-81; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1888 [10]
  • George Forster, American Democrat politician, Mayor of Rockville, Connecticut, 1904-11, 1929; Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Vernon; Elected 1908 [10]
  • Dianna Forster, American Republican politician, Member of Michigan Republican State Central Committee, 1979 [10]
  • Charles M. Forster, American politician, Circuit Judge in Michigan 13th Circuit, 1975-85 [10]
  • Burton T. Forster, American politician, American Independent Candidate for Presidential Elector for Michigan, 1968 [10]
  • ... (Another 27 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Bismarck
  • Georg Forster (1921-1941), German Matrosengefreiter who served aboard the German Battleship Bismarck during World War II when it was sunk heading to France; he died in the sinking [11]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Frederick G Forster (b. 1919), English Engine Room Artificer 4th Class serving for the Royal Navy from Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [12]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Thomas Forster, British Engine Room Artificer, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [13]
  • Mr. Stanley Arnold Forster (1925-1943), English Able Seaman from England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking, died whilst a Prisoner of War in 1943 [13]


  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 76)
  4. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Albion voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1826 with 192 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/albion/1826
  5. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Argyle voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1831 with 251 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/argyle/1831
  6. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) ISABELLA WATSON 1846. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1846IsabellaWatson.htm
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) ROYAL GEORGE 1848. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1848RoyalGeorge.htm
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) ALFRED 1848. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1848Alfred.htm
  9. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2012, February 29) George Forster. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Forster/George_Jacob/USA.html
  10. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 23) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  11. ^ Bismarck & Tirpitz Class - Crew List Bismarck. (Retrieved 2018, February 06). Retrieved from https://www.bismarck-class.dk/bismarck/crew/bismarck_crew.html#crew_details
  12. ^ 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
  13. ^ 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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