Forsyth History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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. [1]

However, some recorded examples of the surname Forsyth suggest that it is occasionally a local name derived from residence a place named Forsythe.

There appears to be two origins for the family: Stirlingshire and Edinburghshire. [1] Another source claims the family came from "Forcett (whence also Fawcett) a township in the wapentake of Gillingwest, in the [North Riding] of Yorkshire," [2] but this source's claim is doubtful.

Early Origins of the Forsyth family

The surname Forsyth was first found in Stirlingshire, where "Osbert filius Forsyth [who] had charter of a hundred shilling land in the tenement of Salakhill (now Sauchie), sheriffdom of Stirling, from Robert I c. 1308." [3]

The Edinburghshire's first entry was that of "William de Fersith, bailie of Edinburgh, 1365, [who] may be William of Forsythe, servant of Aleyn of Bollone of Edinburgh, merchant of Scotland, 1394." [3]

Early History of the Forsyth family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Forsyth research. Another 278 words (20 lines of text) covering the years 1364, 1364, 1368, 1405, 1420, 1418, 1428, 1446, 1451, 1461, 1471, 1497, 1498, 1504, 1525, 1525, 1512, 1446, 1504, 1621, 1980, 1929, 1402, 1423, 1439, 1424, 1426, 1452, 1487 and are included under the topic Early Forsyth History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Forsyth Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Forsyth family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan at this time was William de Fersith, who participated at an inquest in Edinbergh, 1402. He may be William Fersith (without 'de'), who was burgess of Edinbergh in 1423. Thomas of Forsythe was listed in Edinburgh, 1439. Robert of Forsythe had a safe conduct in England...
Another 49 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Forsyth Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Forsyth family to Ireland

Some of the Forsyth family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 76 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Forsyth migration to the United States +

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, Connecticut in 1672 [4]
  • James Forsyth who settled in New England in 1685
  • Matthew Forsyth, who landed in New Jersey in 1693 [4]
Forsyth Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Alexander Forsyth, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1717 [4]
  • Catherine Forsyth, who settled in Georgia in 1747
  • Berobeer Forsyth, aged 22, who landed in Carolina in 1774 [4]
  • Bezabeer Forsyth, aged 22, who arrived in Carolina in 1774 [4]
  • Archibald Forsyth, aged 22, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1775 [4]
Forsyth Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Adam Forsyth, who settled in Philadelphia in 1802
  • John Forsyth, who landed in America in 1810 [4]
  • Joseph Forsyth, who landed in New York in 1810 [4]
  • Mary Forsyth, who landed in New Jersey in 1811 [4]
  • Valentine Forsyth, who arrived in New Jersey in 1811 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Forsyth migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Forsyth Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. James Forsyth U.E., "Forsythe, Forsey, Farsee" (b. 1738) born in Middletown, Middlesex County, Connecticut, USA from Springfield, Pennsylvania, USA who settled in Home District, Stamford [Niagara Falls], Ontario c. 1783 he died in 1813, married to Eunice with 6 children [5]
  • Mr. James Forsyth U.E. who settled in Home District [York County], Ontario c. 1784 [5]
  • Mr. John Forsyth U.E. who settled in Hampton, Kings County, New Brunswick c. 1784 [5]
  • Mr. Robert Forsyth U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [5]
  • Mr. George Forsyth U.E. who settled in Home District [York County], Ontario c. 1784 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Forsyth Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • James Forsyth, who arrived in Canada in 1820
  • William Forsyth, aged 24, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Neptune" in 1833
  • Robert Forsyth, aged 16, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Prudence" in 1838
  • Rebecca Forsyth, aged 25, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Prudence" in 1838

Australia Forsyth migration to Australia +

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

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 [6]
  • James Forsyth, a joiner, who arrived in Van Diemen’s 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, Australia [7]
  • James Forsyth, who arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Lady Mary Pelham" in 1836 [8]
  • Miss Catherine Forsyth, (b. 1813), aged 24, Scottish house servant who was convicted in Glasgow, Scotland for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Atwick" on 28 September 1837, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land), she died in 1903 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Forsyth 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:

Forsyth Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Forsyth, aged 33, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jane Gifford" in 1842
  • Elizabeth Forsyth, aged 23, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jane Gifford" in 1842
  • Mary Forsyth, aged 3, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jane Gifford" in 1842
  • William Forsyth, aged 1, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jane Gifford" in 1842
  • Mr. Thomas Forsyth, British settler, as the 2nd Detachment of New Zealand Corps of Royal New Zealand Fencibles travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Minerva" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 8th October 1847 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Forsyth (post 1700) +

  • John Forsyth Sr. (1780-1841), American politician, 13th United States Secretary of State (1834-1841)
  • John Forsyth (1780-1841), American cabinet member from Fredericksburg, VA
  • John Forsyth, American politician, Postmaster at York, Pennsylvania, 1788-89 [11]
  • James Forsyth, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from New York, 1892; Chair of Tioga County Republican Party, 1910 [11]
  • James Forsyth Jr., American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Albany County 4th District, 1884 [11]
  • J. Frank Forsyth, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Virginia, 1940 [11]
  • Don Forsyth, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Illinois, 1952, 1964; Candidate for University of Illinois trustee, 1956 [11]
  • Cora A. Forsyth, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from New York, 1924 [11]
  • Benjamin Forsyth (1775-1814), American politician, Member of North Carolina State Legislature, 1807 [11]
  • Alexander Forsyth, American politician, Representative from Michigan 10th District, 1894 [11]
  • ... (Another 32 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMAS Sydney II
  • Mr. Glenbervie Edwin Forsyth (1918-1941), Australian Electrical Artificer 4th Class from Elsternwick, Victoria, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [12]


The Forsyth Motto +

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.


Suggested Readings for the name Forsyth +

  • 1597 Genealogy of Newton-Forsyth by Leo L. Lemonds and Zelma Newton Bose, A Genealogical Record: Forsyth of Naydie by Frederic Gregory Forsyth Vicomte.

  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  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 Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1823 with 151 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1823
  7. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Arab voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1835 with 132 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/arab/1835
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) LADY MARY PELHAM 1836. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1836LadyMaryPelham.htm
  9. ^ Convict Records of Australia (Retreived 23rd August 2020, retreived from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/atwick)
  10. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  11. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 23) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  12. ^ HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from http://www.findingsydney.com/roll.asp


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