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About the study

A worldwide study of the surname and variants, which comes together in a One Named Society with members from, England, Canada, United States of America, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Variant names

Featherston, Fetherstone, Fetherston, Fetherstonhaugh, Fetherstonehalgh,Featherstonehaugh, Featherstonehalgh, Featherson,  Feverstone, Featherstun,Fatherson are just some of the variants I have found.

Name origin

A DNA project was started in 2004 to try and give some insight into the origins of the name, we started on the presumption that the name may have come from the Castle, first results indicate that this may not be true, but more results are needed to draw any conclusions at this stage of the project.

History of the name

Above: Cuthbert Featherston cir 1550  said to have been a cryer in the court of Queen Elizabeth I. Federstonhaugh owned the Castle Featherstone around 1215 near Haltwhistle in Northumberland.
New research proves the link between Featherstone in West Yorkshire and Featherstone in Northumberland. With West Yorkshire being the source of the name in England.

Name frequency

There are around 5,000 of the surname and variants in the 1881 census of England.

In the USA

In 1990, Featherstone was ranked #7839.
In 2000, Featherstone was ranked #9698.


In 1990, Featherston was ranked #8743.
In 2000, Featherston was ranked #10224.


Distribution of the name

The name can be found in greater numbers in the English counties of Durham, North & East Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Kent, Devon- Back to when Parish records began. The first known Featherstone in the U.S.A. was around 1612, although he was known to have died during the expedition, many have followed. There are many in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Ireland is thought to have the name via a settlement after the English civil war.


To date I have collected Births Deaths and Marriages from the beginning of Civil registration up to 1960, Many family tree's from around the world, and lots of census material, this collection keeps growing.
First World War records and parish records are being developed.


From a very small sample so far it would appear our names are location based.



William Featherstone
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