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Forbes Family History

Forbes Name Meaning

Scottish: habitational name from Forbes in Tullynessle Aberdeenshire so named from Gaelic forba ‘field district’ + the locative suffix -ais. The placename is pronounced in two syllables with the stress on the second and the surname until recently reflected this. Today however it is generally a monosyllable. Irish: shortened Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Firbhisigh ‘son of Fearbhisigh’ a personal name composed of elements meaning ‘man’ + ‘prosperity’.

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names 2nd edition, 2022

Similar surnames: Fornes, Forbus, Forbess, Torres, Forbis, Forren, Forrest, Gorges

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Where is the Forbes family from?

You can see how Forbes families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Forbes family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Forbes families were found in USA in 1880. In 1840 there were 108 Forbes families living in New York. This was about 23% of all the recorded Forbes's in USA. New York had the highest population of Forbes families in 1840.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Forbes surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Forbes ancestors do for a living?

In 1940, Farmer and Housewife were the top reported jobs for men and women in the USA named Forbes. 14% of Forbes men worked as a Farmer and 8% of Forbes women worked as a Housewife. Some less common occupations for Americans named Forbes were Truck Driver and Maid. .

View Census Data for Forbes | Data not to scale

*We display top occupations by gender to maintain their historical accuracy during times when men and women often performed different jobs.

Top Male Occupations In 1940

  • Farmer
  • Laborer
  • Salesman
  • Truck Driver

Top Female Occupations In 1940

  • Housewife
  • Teacher
  • Stenographer
  • Maid
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What Forbes family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 332,000 census records available for the last name Forbes. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Forbes census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search US census records for Forbes

Passenger Lists

There are 78,000 immigration records available for the last name Forbes. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

View all Forbes immigration records

Draft Cards

There are 51,000 military records available for the last name Forbes. For the veterans among your Forbes ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

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What is the average Forbes lifespan?

Between 1942 and 2004, in the United States, Forbes life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1945, and highest in 1996. The average life expectancy for Forbes in 1942 was 49, and 73 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Forbes

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