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

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

The Picts of ancient Scotland were the tribe of the ancestors of the Forsyth family. The name Forsyth is derived from the old Gaelic personal name Fearsithe, which means man of peace. However, some recorded examples of the surname Forsyth suggest that it is occasionally a local name derived from residence a place named Forsythe.


Before the first dictionaries appeared in the last few hundred years, scribes spelled according to sound. spelling variations are common among Scottish names. Forsyth has been spelled Forsyth, Forsythe, Forseyth, Forsy, Foursides and others.

First found in Stirlingshire, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Forsyth research. Another 158 words(11 lines of text) covering the years 1365, 1446, 1504, and 1621 are included under the topic Early Forsyth History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Some of the Forsyth family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 141 words(10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


In those unstable times, many had no choice but to leave their beloved homelands. Sickness and poverty hounded travelers to North America, but those who made it were welcomed with land and opportunity. These settlers gave the young nations of Canada and the United States a strong backbone as they stood up for their beliefs as United Empire Loyalists and in the American War of Independence. In this century, the ancestors of these brave Scots have begun to recover their illustrious heritage through Clan societies and other heritage organizations. Early passenger and immigration lists reveal many Scottish settlers bearing the name Forsyth:

Forsyth Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Gilbert Forsyth, who arrived in Hartford, Conn in 1672
  • James Forsyth who settled in New England in 1685
  • Matthew Forsyth, who landed in New Jersey in 1693

Forsyth Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Alexander Forsyth, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1717
  • Catherine Forsyth settled in Georgia in 1747
  • Berobeer Forsyth, aged 22, landed in Carolina in 1774
  • Bezabeer Forsyth, aged 22, arrived in Carolina in 1774
  • Archibald Forsyth, aged 22, arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1775

Forsyth Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Adam Forsyth settled in Philadelphia in 1802
  • John Forsyth, who landed in America in 1810
  • Joseph Forsyth, who landed in New York in 1810
  • Mary Forsyth, who landed in New Jersey in 1811
  • Valentine Forsyth, who arrived in New Jersey in 1811

Forsyth Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Jas Forsyth, who arrived in Canada in 1820
  • William Forsyth, aged 24, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Neptune" in 1833
  • Robert Forsyth, aged 16, arrived in Saint John aboard the ship "Prudence" in 1838
  • Rebecca Forsyth, aged 25, arrived in Saint John aboard the ship "Prudence" in 1838

Forsyth Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Nelson Forsyth, Scottish convict from Edinburgh, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on July 29th, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
  • James Forsyth, a joiner, arrived in Van Diemenís Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Ann Forsyth, English convict from Durham, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on December 14, 1835, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Austraila
  • James Forsyth arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Lady Mary Pelham" in 1836
  • John Forsyth, aged 46, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Nugget"

Forsyth Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • William Forsyth, aged 33, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jane Gifford" in 1842
  • Elizabeth Forsyth, aged 23, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jane Gifford" in 1842
  • Mary Forsyth, aged 3, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jane Gifford" in 1842
  • William Forsyth, aged 1, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jane Gifford" in 1842
  • Simon Forsyth arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Phoenix" in 1860


  • John Forsyth (1780-1841), American cabinet member from Fredericksburg, VA
  • John Forsyth Sr. (1780-1841), American politician, 13th United States Secretary of State (1834-1841)
  • Alexander John Forsyth (1768-1843), Scottish inventor of the first workable percussion cap for the ignition of gunpowder in firearms
  • Craig Forsyth (b. 1989), Scottish footballer
  • Bill Forsyth (b. 1946), Scottish film director and writer best known for his films Gregory's Girl (1981), Local Hero (1983), and Comfort and Joy (1984)
  • Andrew Russell Forsyth FRS (1858-1942), Scottish mathematician, recipient of the Royal Medal in 1897
  • Thomas "Tom" Forsyth (b. 1949), former Scottish association footballer and manager
  • Alex Forsyth (b. 1952), Scottish footballer
  • Kate Forsyth (b. 1966), Australian writer, poet, editor, and journalist from Sydney, Australia
  • Sergeant Samuel Forsyth VC (1891-1918), New Zealand Expeditionary Force recipient of the Victoria Cross during WWI



  • Genealogy of Newton-Forsyth by Leo L. Lemonds and Zelma Newton Bose.
  • A Genealogical Record: Forsyth of Naydie by Frederic Gregory Forsyth Vicomte.

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: Instaurator ruinae
Motto Translation: A repairer of ruin.


Forsyth Clan Badge
Forsyth Clan Badge

Buy JPG Image

A clan is a social group made up of a number of distinct branch-families that actually descended from, or accepted themselves as descendants of, a common ancestor. The word clan means simply children. The idea of the clan as a community is necessarily based around this idea of heredity and is most often ruled according to a patriarchal structure. For instance, the clan chief represented the hereditary "parent" of the entire clan. The most prominent example of this form of society is the Scottish Clan system...


Septs of the Distinguished Name Forsyth
Forcey, Forceys, Forsaith, Forsaithy, Forsaord, Forsaorde, Forsaork, Forsaorth, Forsaorthe, Forsaorthy, Forsey, Forseys, Forseyth, Forsy, Forsyses, Forsyth, Forsythe, Fourside, Foursides and more.


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  1. Moody David. Scottish Family History. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0806312688).
  2. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  3. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  4. Bloxham, Ben. Key to Parochial Registers of Scotland From Earliest Times Through 1854 2nd edition. Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1979. Print.
  5. Bain, Robert. The Clans and Tartans of Scotland. Glasgow & London: Collins, 1968. Print. (ISBN 000411117-6).
  6. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  7. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Scotch Irish Pioneers In Ulster and America. Montana: Kessinger Publishing. Print.
  8. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  9. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and David Hicks. The Highland Clans The Dynastic Origins, Cheifs and Background of the Clans. New York: C.N. Potter, 1968. Print.
  10. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
  11. ...

The Forsyth Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Forsyth 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 8 January 2015 at 12:49.

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