Is your Surname registered?

Our 2,766 members have registered
2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

1,435 total views, 1 views today




About the study

The study was born out of desperation after encountering a genealogical brick wall. Official records had been lost during bombing in World War 2 so I started collecting all references to the name Farthing which I believed was an unusual name.

As the study has grown, I have built up quite a database from my research and that of others who have contacted me. I have been able to construct some family groups and put people in touch with others who share the same ancestors.

I would be delighted to hear from anyone either wanting information or with details to share.

Variant names

The main variants included in the study are Farden, Fardin(g) and Fardon.

Name origin

It is generally accepted that Farthing means a fourth part, of either land or coinage. The illustration shows the pre decimal coin but a numismatist, Charles Farthing, has sent me details of a viking coin from the period of King Canute; a FARThEIN.

Historical occurrences of the name

Farthings usually followed solid, traditional occupations of Ag Labs, carpenters, blacksmiths, shoemakers, tailors, drapers, merchants, grocers, drapers, bakers, chemists, the military and so far, just one rat catcher. Others teetered towards infamy appearing in court cases; some were petty criminals but there were also bankrupts, convicts, a highwayman and a suspected bigamist. To redress the balance, there were clergymen including the Bishop of Montreal The Rev. John Cragg Farthing and a Baptist missionary who sadly together with his wife and small children was murdered during the Boxer rebellion in China in 1900.

Name frequency

My family assured me that the name Farthing was very unusual; despite living in London, they had never encountered anyone with the same name. They must have lead very sheltered lives.

In the 1881 census return there were 1586 Farthings. From figures produced by the Office of National Statistics in 1992, that number had risen to 2,200.

Distribution of the name

Today in the U.K. the name Farthing is most numerous in the following areas in descending order; East Anglia especially Suffolk, the West Country, Greater London, the North East especially around Newcastle on Tyne, Kent and the East Riding of Yorkshire.

Other countries with significant Farthing populations are Australia, Canada, the U.S.A. and New Zealand.


As the study has been in existence for over 20 years, the database is large comprising not only my research but that of others. Please contact me for details.