The Featherston Family in the United States|
There are several questions which deserve consideration when trying to determine where in England the Featherston family in the United States originated and how the various spellings of the name came about. First there has long been the theory that the two early settlers Charles (1637) and William (1642) were not related. Charles first appeared in Charles City, Virginia in 1753 having been transported by Major Abraham Wood. An examination of where his known fellow Englishmen originated in England has provided no definite clues. William (1642) on the other hand has been identified in LDS records as the son of Thomas Fetherson and Ann who were married 30 Jun 1627 in All Saints, West Bromich, Stafford, England. This William was thought to be the William christened 31 Jul 1627 in Hampton, in Arden, Warwick, England according to LDS records. This appears to be the William which was awarded land patents in Charles City, Va in 1699. Other records city names spelled as William (Will) Fetherston, William Fetterton and William Fetherstone in the same time and place frame. Are they the same individual? Nothing in the records indicate where this Featherston may have originated in England. So, given the conundrum presented above, how can we possibly state that these two individuals are related? Are they brothers or possibly cousins? An examination of the naming patterns of successive generations and migratory patterns of the Featherston family across the United States was conducted. And sure enough, as the expansion of the United States westward occurred along with the various Featherstons being awarded land grants for service during the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Indian Wars the two branches followed similar patterns. My father was named Charles Henry and in my personal database, there are least 18 of the same name. John Henry was another common name as was Francis Marion, Burwell, and of course William being the most common. All of the names can be found in multiple generations of both branches and often in the same geographical location. Conclusive? No. So, the only way to actually determine if there are truly two branches of Featherstons in the United States is the use of Y-DNA. Y-DNA follows the male line for generations with minor genetic mutations . This should allow us to connect with the same Haplogroup in England and answer the question of where in England did the United States Featherston originate. Thus far, we have 25 Y DNA samples from male Featherstons from around the world. It is impossible to draw conclusion from the limited numbers that we have collected but one fact is obvious, the branches are much more varied than originally thought. There is not one obvious American branch and in fact, the dominate Haplogroup found in the United States does not match any yet identified Haplogroup tested in England or elsewhere but they do match each other. The Charles and William line seem to originate from the same individual but there are still insufficient samples to say that conclusively. The two major groups are J-M253 and R-M269. Outliers do exist and some of the tests are for not enough markers to be able to determine relationships. What proofs do we have as to when and where the spellings of the name occurred? Examination of the documents and family bibles and other sources such as census records, leads me to conclude that the spellings varied from the first time the name was recorded in American historical records. In my own branch as early as 1803 records are being spelled as Featherstun and military records of the same individual are being spelled Featherston. At this point, no one seems to be spelling with the final ?e? and many adopted the ?stun? ending permanently. However in Richard?s branch (1718-1795) the use was and is still continued in the present generation with the final ?e?. Conclusion: spellings are different in in multiple branches and it is only since official vital record keeping began in most areas west of the original 13 colonial sometime around 1910 that the spellings chosen remained consistent.
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Zacharia married in Lincolnshire in 1733|
Where was he baptised, other records point to the same county, but as yet we have not found his baptism
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All five of the tested descendants of William Featherston, born 1642, have the same Y-DNA haplotype J-M172. Amongst the five, three of the four sons of William's son William (1685) have been shown to be related. An effort needs to be extended to find a male descendant of Charles (1637) to determine if the same Y-DNA haplotype appears.