Fortman History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient Norman culture that was established in England after the Conquest of 1066 produced the name of Fortman. It was given to a strong, brave, or hardy person as the name was originally derived from the Old French fort, which meant strong. Another derivation suggests that the name is a local surname and it indicates that its bearer lived near a fortress or stronghold. The former is more common, but time has confused the two derivations and etymologists now disagree on which is appropriate in a given instance.

Early Origins of the Fortman family

The surname Fortman was first found in Lancashire where they were granted lands by William the Conqueror for their assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D. They were Lords of the manor of this estate. They are believed to be descended from the Norman noble, William de Fortibus, Earl of Albemarle, who married Isobel, Countess of Devon. This line eventually became Earls of Lancaster, and conjecturally the junior lines assumed the name Forte.

Important Dates for the Fortman family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fortman research. Another 56 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Fortman History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Fortman Spelling Variations

Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Fort, Forte, Forts, Fortes, Foort, Foorte and many more.

Early Notables of the Fortman family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Fortman family

Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Fortman or a variant listed above: John Fort who settled in Maryland in 1685; Francis Fort settled in Virginia in 1736; Claude Fort settled in Louisiana in 1756; J.A. Fort settled in San Francisco Cal. in 1852.

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