Farrises and the British Isles
I was always told the Farrises were Scotch-Irish (or Scots-Irish, if you like). I looked the name up in a book I've had for many years, "The Clans and Tartans of Scotland" by Robert Bain, first published in 1938. The map above is from the 1977 edition. The quality is not too good because the map was taken from the inside back cover. According to the author, the names Ferries and Fergus were family names from Clan Ferguson. The red dot shows the approximate location of the clan, almost parallel to County Antrim in Northern Ireland, where some of the Farrises ended up. Look a little to the northwest and you'll see Ayr. Some researchers have reported Farrises sailing from there. I know from other research that Ayr was a center of Covenanter activity, so these would be the very people eager to leave in search of religious freedom.

In another book, "The Surnames of Ireland" by Edward MacLysaght, we find Farris: "This has been used in Connacht and adjacent areas for Fergus. It is mainly found in Leitrim and Cavan. Fr. Livingstone informs me that in Co. Donegal Farris is an anglicized form of O'Fearaigh." And for Ferris: "In Kerry a variant of O'Fergus. It is also traditionally a cognomen of a branch of the Moriartys. In Ulster it is the name of a branch of the Scottish clan Ferguson fomerly MacFergus."

In York County, S.C., where I live, the name Ferguson has special impact. It was the energetic Scottish Col. Patrick Ferguson who led the Loyalist troops at the Battle of Kings Mountain, considered to be the battle that changed the course of the Revolutionary War in the south. Ferguson, faced with an ill-equipped hodge-podge of Patriots and mountain men, met his demise on the mountain. On the official list of Patriots were six Farises: Isaac, John, Larkin, Martin, Richard and Thomas. Alexander and Robert are on an unofficial list.

There are other versions of the origin of the name Farris. But if you enjoy the colorful aspects of the Scottish clans, check out the two tartan plaids below. You can use them to make desktop patterns or Web page backgrounds.

This is the tartan called Ferguson of Athol. It is shown as the main Ferguson plaid in Bain's book. This is the tartan called Ferguson of Balquhidder.
The name Ferries also is listed as a sept of the Clan Farquharson on its Web site, which you can visit here.
The town of Clover in York County — "the town with 'love' in the middle" — celebrates its Scotch-Irish heritage each year with a festival called Feis Clobhair. Clover also has a sister city in Northern Ireland, Larne.
Visit my site of Traditional Music of the British Isles.