Show ContentsFurse History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Anglo-Saxon name Furse comes from when the family resided in an area of Devon that contained large amounts of the furze plant. This plant was a prickly shrub with yellow flowers and was often found in large amounts covering a heath.

Early Origins of the Furse family

The surname Furse was first found in Devon at Fursdon, a historic house and farming estate. "From the days of Henry III, if not from an earlier period, this ancient family has resided at this place from whence the name is derived." [1]

Early History of the Furse family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Furse research. Another 61 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1340, 1620 and 1638 are included under the topic Early Furse History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Furse Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries; therefore,spelling variations are common among early Anglo-Saxon names. As the form of the English language changed, even the spelling of literate people's names evolved. Furse has been recorded under many different variations, including Furse, Furze, Fursdon, Fursdonne and others.

Early Notables of the Furse family

Distinguished members of the family include

  • Thomas Furse, 1620, descended from the original Thomas Furse

United States Furse migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that shrouded England made the far away New World an attractive prospect. On cramped disease-ridden ships, thousands migrated to those British colonies that would eventually become Canada and the United States. Those hardy settlers that survived the journey often went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Furse or a variant listed above:

Furse Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Henry Furse, who arrived in Maryland in 1675 [2]
Furse Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • William Furse, who landed in New York in 1795 [2]
Furse Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Furse, aged 38, who arrived in South Carolina in 1812 [2]

Australia Furse migration to Australia +

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

Furse Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Furse, English convict who was convicted in Southampton, Hampshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Eliza" on 12th December 1849, arriving in Norfolk Island and Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [3]

New Zealand Furse 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:

Furse Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Emma Furse, aged 27, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Soukar" in 1874
  • Selina Furse, aged 19, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Soukar" in 1874
  • Miss Emma Furse, (b. 1847), aged 27, Cornish housemaid departing on 22nd August 1874 aboard the ship "Soukar" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 2nd December 1874 [4]
  • Miss Selina Furse, (b. 1853), aged 21, Cornish nursemaid departing on 22nd August 1874 aboard the ship "Soukar" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 2nd December 1874 [4]
  • Mr. William Furse, (b. 1853), aged 21, Cornish farm labourer departing on 16th November 1874 aboard the ship "Rakaia" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 7th February 1875 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Furse migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [6]
Furse Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Morris Furse who settled in Barbados in 1685

Contemporary Notables of the name Furse (post 1700) +

  • Elizabeth Furse (1936-2021), Kenya Colony-born American small business owner, faculty member of Portland State University and politican
  • John Houseal Furse, American officer in the United States Navy
  • Charles Wellington Furse (1868-1904), English Painter
  • Judith Furse (1911-1974), British actress on stage and in film
  • Roger Furse (1903-1972), British art director
  • Dame Katherine Furse (1875-1952), British Director of the Women's Royal Navy Service

The Furse 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: No desit virtus
Motto Translation: No lack of power

  1. Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  2. 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)
  3. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 28th February 2022). Retrieved from
  4. Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to Wellington 1872-1880 [PDF]. Retrieved from
  5. Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 30). Emigrants to Lyttelton 1858-84 [PDF]. Retrieved from
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