Forbes Family History

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Forbes Name Meaning

Scottish: habitational name from a place near Aberdeen, so named from Gaelic forba ‘field’, ‘district’ + the locative suffix -ais. The place name 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: reduced Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Firbhisigh ‘son of Fearbhisigh’, a personal name composed of Celtic elements meaning ‘man’ + ‘prosperity’. A family of this name in Connacht was famous for its traditional historians, compilers of the Book of Lecan.

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press

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

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Forbes Ethnicity Estimate

What are the common regions with the Forbes name?

These results combine data from everyone in the AncestryDNA® database with the last name Forbes. The Ancestry® ethnicity regions shown are top five most common on average for these people.

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  • England & Wales


  • Ireland & Scotland


  • Germanic Europe


  • Cameroon, Congo, & Southern Bantu Peoples


  • Benin/Togo


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Forbes Family Origin

Where is the Forbes family from?

Forbes Family Occupations

What did your Forbes ancestors do for a living?

In 1880, the most common Forbes occupation in the USA was Farmer. 30% of Forbes's were Farmers. Farmer, Laborer and Keeping House were the top 3 reported jobs worked by Forbes. A less common occupation for the Forbes family was Farming.

View Census data for Forbes | Data not to scale

  • Farmer

  • Laborer

  • Keeping House

  • Farming


Census records can tell you a lot of little known facts about your Forbes ancestors, such as occupation. Occupation can tell you about your ancestor's social and economic status.

Forbes Historical Records

What Forbes family records will you find?

Census Record

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 1940's US census records for Forbes

Passenger List

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.

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Draft Card

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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You've only scratched the surface of Forbes family history.

Forbes Life Expectancy

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

An unusually short lifespan might indicate that your Forbes ancestors lived in harsh conditions. A short lifespan might also indicate health problems that were once prevalent in your family. The SSDI is a searchable database of more than 70 million names. You can find birthdates, death dates, addresses and more.

Famous Forbes Family Ancestors

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