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

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

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


When the first dictionaries were invented in the last few hundred years, spelling gradually became standardized. Before that time, scribes spelled according to sound. Names were often recorded under different spelling variations every time they were written. Forsythe has been written 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 Forsythe research. Another 158 words(11 lines of text) covering the years 1365, 1446, 1504, and 1621 are included under the topic Early Forsythe History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Some of the Forsythe 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.


The crossing to North America did not seem so great in comparison with the hardships many Scots endured at home. It was long, expensive, and cramped, but also rewarding. North America offered land and the chance for settlers to prove themselves in a new place. And many did prove themselves as they fought to forge a new nation in the American War of Independence. The ancestors of those Scots can now experience much of their once-lost heritage through the Clan societies and highland games that have sprung up across North America in the last century. A search of immigration and passenger lists revealed many important, early immigrants to North America bearing the name of Forsythe:

Forsythe Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • James Forsythe, who landed in New Jersey in 1685

Forsythe Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Thos Forsythe, who landed in America in 1805
  • William Forsythe, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1817
  • Kitty Forsythe, who landed in New York in 1817
  • Daniel Forsythe, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Ps in 1827
  • Alexander Forsythe, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1834

Forsythe Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Thomas Forsythe, aged 30, a farmer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Edward Reid" in 1833
  • Mary Forsythe, aged 26, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Edward Reid" in 1833
  • William Forsythe, aged 3, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Edward Reid" in 1833
  • Mary Jane Forsythe, aged 1, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Edward Reid" in 1833

Forsythe Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Elizabeth Forsythe, aged 26, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Queen of the Avon" in 1859


  • George E. Forsythe (1917-1972), American mathematician and computer scientist
  • John Forsythe (1918-2010), American actor best known for his voice-over on Charlie's Angels
  • Linda Forsythe (b. 1950), American model and Playboy magazine's Playmate of the Month for its February 1970 issue
  • Edwin Bell Forsythe (1916-1984), American Republican Party politician
  • Abe Forsythe (b. 1981), Australian film and television actor, director, writer and producer
  • Bruce Forsythe CBE (b. 1928), British showman and entertainer appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2006
  • Clifford Forsythe (1929-2000), Northern Ireland Ulster Unionist Party politician
  • Drew Forsythe (b. 1949), Australian actor, singer, writer and comedian


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.


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  1. Adam, Frank. Clans Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands 8th Edition. London: Bacon (G.W.) & Co, 1970. Print. (ISBN 10-0717945006).
  2. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  4. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  5. Prebble, John. The Highland Clearances. London: Secker & Warburg, 1963. Print.
  6. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. The Charters of David I The Written Acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of His Son Henry, Earl of Northumerland, 1139-52. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999. Print.
  7. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  8. Skene, William Forbes Edition. Chronicles of the Picts, Chronicles of the Scots and Other Early Memorials of Scottish History. Edinburgh: H.M. General Register House, 1867. Print.
  9. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  10. Scarlett, James D. Tartan The Highland Textile. London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1990. Print. (ISBN 0-85683-120-4).
  11. ...

The Forsythe Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Forsythe 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 3 June 2014 at 16:44.

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