Fortson History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
The name Fortson is part of the ancient legacy of the early Norman inhabitants that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. Fortson was a Norman name used for 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 Fortson family
The surname Fortson 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.
Early History of the Fortson family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fortson research. Another 56 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Fortson History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Fortson Spelling Variations
Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Fort, Forte, Forts, Fortes, Foort, Foorte and many more.
Early Notables of the Fortson family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Fortson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
In the United States, the name Fortson is the 7,758th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. 
Migration of the Fortson family
Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Fortson name or one of its variants: 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.
Contemporary Notables of the name Fortson (post 1700) +
- Benjamin Fortson (1904-1979), American politician, Secretary of State of Georgia (1946 to 1979)
- Courtney Fortson (b. 1988), American professional basketball player
- Sheila Fortson (b. 1983), American television journalist, model, and writer
- Daniel "Danny" Anthony Fortson (b. 1976), American professional NBA basketball player
- Thomas Fortson Gibbs (b. 1798), American politician, Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia, 1852-53 
Related Stories +
The Fortson 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: Fortis et audax
Motto Translation: Strong and brave