The name originates in the West Riding of Yorkshire, in the town of Featherstone, first found in the Doomsday Book, which was commissioned in December 1085 by William the Conqueror, who invaded England in 1066. The first draft was completed in August 1086 and contained records for 13,418 settlements in the English counties south of the rivers Ribble and Tees (the border with Scotland at the time). Doomsday book entry for Featherstone in West Yorkshire.
There is also another Featherstone in Staffordshire which appears in the same book, we are still looking for how this is connected to the family name.
Featherstone Castle in Northumberland, is linked to a marriage in the Featherstone in West Yorkshire, the family adding a “haugh” to the end of the name, to highlight the fact that they were different and living in a “haugh” (this means the side of a valley). Thus the area below the castle became the most active in producing Featherston families, in the district of Weardale in County Durham. Early 15-16th century records indicate lead mining and farming as the most common occupation. Ths mining occupation is also found in the other counties associated with the families who moved into other counties of Britain. Moving south, we have, North and East Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Nottingamshire and, Kent. Where considerable numbers are found at the time when Parish records begin in the 1500’s. However early records are also found in Staffordshire, Devon, less so in Northumberland, Northamptonshire, Cheshire, Gloucestershire, Cornwall, Sussex, Norfolk, Warwickshire, and of course around London, Surrey, and Middlesex.
Ireland became another home for the name in the 15th century early indications point to a Cuthbert probably from the Weardale area who bought lands in Ireland in the mid 1600’s. Early records in the 16th century also find the family name in the United States of America, which was at the time still a colony of Great Britain.
Australia, Canada and New Zealand, and South Africa followed as those countries became part of the British Empire.
India has quite a population of Featherstone incomers, usually employed by the trading arm of the British.
Work is continuing trying to sort through the family connections in all these countries, if you can help please let us know. You can view our Data at this site