History of your Surname
Get access to Foster family records.Start a free trial

Foster Family History

Foster Name Meaning

English: variant of Forster ‘worker in a forest’. English: perhaps a nickname from Middle English foster ‘foster parent’ (Old English fōstre a derivative of fōstrian ‘to nourish or rear’). But other explanations are equally or more likely. English: from Old French forcetier ‘maker of scissors’; see Forster English: variant of Fewster from Anglo-Norman French Middle English fu(y)ster ‘maker of saddletrees’ (compare Foister ). Probably an Americanized form of one or more similar (like-sounding) Jewish surnames such as Forster .

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

Similar surnames: Forster, Oster, Easter, Hoster, Fester, Fosse, Bolter, Koster, Osmer

Search for a relative to learn more about your family history.

Hint: Try searching for a relative alive in 1940.

Black & white image of a young woman scientist

Where is the Foster family from?

You can see how Foster families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Foster family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Foster families were found in USA in 1880. In 1891 there were 8,172 Foster families living in Yorkshire. This was about 20% of all the recorded Foster's in United Kingdom. Yorkshire had the highest population of Foster families in 1891.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Foster surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Foster ancestors do for a living?

In 1939, General Labourer and Unpaid Domestic Duties were the top reported jobs for men and women in the United Kingdom named Foster. 6% of Foster men worked as a General Labourer and 65% of Foster women worked as an Unpaid Domestic Duties. Some less common occupations for Americans named Foster were Incapacitated and Private Means. .

View Census Data for Foster | 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 1939

  • General Labourer
  • Builders Labourer
  • Bricklayer
  • Incapacitated

Top Female Occupations In 1939

  • Unpaid Domestic Duties
  • Unpaid Domestic
  • Housewife
  • Private Means
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What Foster family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 1 million census records available for the last name Foster. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Foster census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search Australian census records for Foster

Passenger Lists

There are 168,000 immigration records available for the last name Foster. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in Australia, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

View all Foster immigration records

Draft Cards

There are 274,000 military records available for the last name Foster. For the veterans among your Foster ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

View all Foster military records

You've only scratched the surface of Foster family history

Discover More

What is the average Foster lifespan?

Between 1940 and 2004, in the United States, Foster life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1942, and highest in 2003. The average life expectancy for Foster in 1940 was 39, and 73 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Foster

Discover the unique achievements of ancestors in the Foster family tree

Explore Your Tree

Browse profiles of historical people with the Foster last name

Search for another surname
Enter last name/surname
Start a 14-Day Free Trial