Show ContentsForth History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

In ancient Anglo-Saxon England, the ancestors of the Forth surname lived at or near a forth, which is an area of the river that is shallow enough to be crossed by wading. The word forth developed into the modern English word ford. [1]

Forth is "a well-known river of Scotland; also a village in Lancashire." [2]

Early Origins of the Forth family

The surname Forth was first found in Hampshire where an early Latin form of the name appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Bruman de la forda. [3] Later, Eadric æt Fordan was listed as an Old English Byname in Somerset 1100-1130. Reginald de la Forthe was found in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 for Suffolk. In Sussex, Geoffrey atte Forde was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of 1296. [4]

Another source notes that William de la Forde was listed in Kent in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 [5] and in Somerset, William atte Forde was listed there 1 Edward III (during the first year of the reign of King Edward III.) [6]

Early History of the Forth family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Forth research. Another 98 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1270, 1379, 1610, 1676, 1659 and 1660 are included under the topic Early Forth History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Forth Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Forth are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Forth include: Forth, Forthe, Fourth, Fourthe, Forith, Foryth and many more.

Early Notables of the Forth family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Forth Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Forth Ranking

In the United States, the name Forth is the 12,633rd most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [7]

United States Forth migration to the United States +

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Forth or a variant listed above:

Forth Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Forth, aged 16, who arrived in Virginia in 1619 aboard the ship "Bona Nova" [8]
  • John Forth, who landed in Virginia in 1623 [8]
  • George Forth, aged 27, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 [8]
  • Jon Forth, who landed in Virginia in 1637 [8]
  • Jennett Forth, who landed in Virginia in 1651
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Forth Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Ann Forth, who settled in New York in 1820
  • Henr Forth, who landed in North America in 1832 [8]
  • H. Forth settled in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • Cathr Forth, aged 60, who arrived in New York, NY in 1874 [8]
  • Emilie Forth, aged 26, who landed in Baltimore, Maryland in 1893 [8]

Australia Forth migration to Australia +

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

Forth Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Forth, (Ford), Welsh convict who was convicted in Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire, Wales for 7 years, transported aboard the "Claudine" on 20th May 1821, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [9]
  • Mr. Joseph Forth, (Freer), British convict who was convicted in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Competitor"18th March 1823, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [10]
  • Mary Ann Forth, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Constance" in 1848 [11]
  • Thomas Forth, aged 27, a farm labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Hyderabad" [12]

Contemporary Notables of the name Forth (post 1700) +

  • Elisabeth "Lisette" Denison Forth (1786-1866), American slave who worked as a maid and became a landowner and philanthropist
  • Craig Forth, American former college basketball player for the Syracuse Orange from East Greenbush, New York
  • Mercy "Miss Kitty" Forth, American actress, best known for her leading role as Eve in Eve's Dropping In (2003)
  • John Forth (1769-1848), British jockey and racehorse trainer, the oldest man to have ridden a Epsom Derby winner
  • Eric Forth (1944-2006), British politician, Shadow Leader of the House of Commons (2001-2003)
  • Jane Forth (b. 1953), American actress, known for her work on Trash (1970), The Prowler (1981) and Women in Revolt (1971)

HMAS Sydney II
  • Mr. Herbert Forth (1919-1941), Australian Able Seaman from Flemington, Victoria, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [13]

  1. Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  2. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  4. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  6. Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  7. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  8. 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)
  9. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th February 2021). Retrieved from
  10. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 5th March 2021). Retrieved from
  11. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) CONSTANCE - 1848. Retrieved from
  12. South Australian Register Wednesday 15th March 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Hyderabad 1854. Retrieved
  13. HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from on Facebook