I commenced the One Name Study into the name of ATHERTON in January 2009.
Nil variants to be considered initially.
This name, recorded as Atherton and Eatherton (Etherton is the subject of a separate ONS), is of 7th century Olde English and Anglo-Saxon origins. It is locational from a place so called in Lancashire. The earliest recording of this placename is found in the Fees Rolls of that county for the year 1212, when it is spelt as 'Aderton', and then later in the Post Mortem Records of 1322 as 'Atherton'. The name is derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name 'Aethelhere', of uncertain etymology, and 'tun', a settlement, town; hence, 'Aethelhere's town'. During the Middle Ages, when it became common for people to migrate from their place of birth to seek work elsewhere, they would often adopt or be given the village name as a means of identification. This resulted in a wide dispersal of the name. An early example of the surname recording taken from authentic church registers include Roger Atherton, who married Elizabeth Stringfellowe, on September 22nd 1599, at Farnworth North, Prescot, Lancashire.
Amongst the interesting recordings associated with this surname is that of William Atherton, an early settler in the New World. He is reported as being granted a ticket to sail from the Barbadoes to Boston, New England, in October 1679. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry de Athertone, which was dated 1332, in the 'Subsidy Rolls of Lancashire', during the reign of King Edward 111, known as 'The Father of the Navy', 1327 - 1377.
In the ONS database for 2002 for England and Wales, the surname Atherton appears 10,715 time - this places the surname ranking at = 707. The database is also said to include a level of duplicate entries and misspelt surnames, as well as people currently living abroad and temporary visitors to England and Wales. However, experience suggests that multiplying the result of the surname by 0.93 will give a good idea of the living population of the surname.
Having now spend most of my research in the UK area, I now wish to extend it to a more 'global' picture - I'm more than happy to discuss names and receive 'offerings' to assist my quest In addition to these below, I do hold other data, so please do not hesitate to contact me
Now available to view are:
Births from 1837 - 1911.
Marriages from 1837 - 1911: Currently, about 80% of spouses details are held.
Deaths from 1837 - 1911.
I the DNA Group Administrator for the surname ATHERTON. Details can be seen at:
The Atherton One Name Study (ONS) Website -
Facebook (Atherton ONS) Page -
For further information, contact:
Mr Derek Atherton
33 Copse View,
This page last updated 27 January 2014.
Profiles of other one-name studies registered with the Guild may be found here.