Forsythe History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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. [1]

However, some recorded examples of the surname Forsythe 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 Forsythe family

The surname Forsythe 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 Forsythe family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Forsythe 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 Forsythe History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Forsythe Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Forsythe 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 Forsythe Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Forsythe family to Ireland

Some of the Forsythe 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 Forsythe migration to the United States +

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 [4]
Forsythe Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Forsythe, who landed in America in 1805 [4]
  • William Forsythe, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1817 [4]
  • Kitty Forsythe, who landed in New York in 1817 [4]
  • Daniel Forsythe, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Ps in 1827 [4]
  • Alexander Forsythe, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1834 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Forsythe migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Forsythe Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Forsythe, aged 30, a farmer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Edward Reid" in 1833
  • Mary Forsythe, aged 26, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Edward Reid" in 1833
  • William Forsythe, aged 3, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Edward Reid" in 1833
  • Mary Jane Forsythe, aged 1, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Edward Reid" in 1833

New Zealand Forsythe 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:

Forsythe Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Elizabeth Forsythe, aged 26, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of the Avon" in 1859

Contemporary Notables of the name Forsythe (post 1700) +

  • Edwin Bell Forsythe (1916-1984), American Republican Party politician
  • Linda Forsythe (b. 1950), American model and Playboy magazine's Playmate of the Month for its February 1970 issue
  • John Forsythe (1918-2010), American actor best known for his voice-over on Charlie's Angels
  • George E. Forsythe (1917-1972), American mathematician and computer scientist
  • Earlene Forsythe (b. 1949), American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Nevada, 2004 [5]
  • Clellan S. Forsythe (1895-1953), American Republican politician, Served in the U.S. Navy during World War I; Automobile dealer; Member of New York State Assembly from Onondaga County 2nd District, 1945-48 [5]
  • Charles E. Forsythe, American Republican politician, Candidate for West Virginia State House of Delegates from Harrison County, 1958, 1962 [5]
  • Carl W. Forsythe, American politician, Mayor of Ferndale, Michigan, 1941-49 [5]
  • C. W. Forsythe, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1900 [5]
  • Albert Palaska Forsythe (1830-1906), American Republican politician, U.S. Representative from Illinois 15th District, 1879-81 [5]
  • ... (Another 13 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Forsythe 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.


  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. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 23) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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