Frearson One-Name Study

About the Frearson One-Name Study

I registered with the The Guild Of One-Name Studies [GOONS] in 2006.  I have been researching my family of Frearsons and the name Frearson / Freason for the past 15 years, during which time I have assembled a great many Frearson trees and a considerable number of records of Frearson families in the UK and around the world including USA and Australia.  These have now been combined into some 60 main trees [see: Frearson Family Trees] but there are still many individuals and small family groups that have not yet been “joined up”.  Research work continues

A Frearson DNA Project is under way with  the Family Tree DNA  testing organisation.  The first test results are available, and the sample from an Australian individual from the D0 family group shows a match. 

An update on the Project is given on the Frearson DNA Project Page and information on the potential testing status of the Frearson Family Groups is also given on that page.

Male Frearsons from these other Family Groups who are interested in taking part, should contact John Frearson at the email number below.

Frearson Family members, and other interested parties, can assist with funding and it is hoped that a series of small donations will enable more lines to be tested.  Those interested should also contact John Frearson at the  Email number below.

Origin of the surname

Various origins for the name can be found and an edited version of one possible view is given below:

This interesting surname is of early medieval English origin, and is a patronymic form of Frear, which derives from the Middle English and Old French “frere”, friar, monk, or from the Latin “frater”, a brother.   The name would not necessarily be given to the son of a friar or monk as such, but would more likely be a nickname for a person with qualities associated with such a man, for example, pious bearing, or even for a man employed in a monastery. 

The creation of surnames from nicknames was a common practice in the Middle Ages.  Robert (le) Frere is noted in the 1196 Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire, but the patronymic is not recorded until the 14th Century.  The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John le Frereson, which was dated 1335, in “A Descriptive Catalogue of Ancient Deeds”, Staffordshire, during the reign of King Edward III.   

Recordings of the surname from English Church Registers include: the marriage of Henry Frierson and Isabell Litler on July 2nd 1571, at St. Gregory by St. Paul, London; and the marriage of Agnes Frearson and Thomas Tomlinson at Hawkshead, Lancashire, on August 4th 1577.

Various spellings can be found in documents, although the commonest are Frearson and Freason [and in early documents some have been confused by the double ff form of the capital F – so ffrearson and ffreason are equivalent early forms].  Many other spellings or mis-spellings are found as erroneous entries in, for example, original Census documents and more so in the mis-transcriptions found on the web!

Distribution of the name

There are some early, isolated, instances of the name in London, Oxfordshire, Staffordshire and Yorkshire.  These may be fortuitous similar spellings, but such earlier references do not [at present] develop into any defined family groupings and are difficult to categorize

The Frearson name in the seventeenth to nineteenth Century was concentrated across the borders of the counties of Derbyshire and Leicestershire [and in Derby and Leicester themselves] and to a lesser extent, and slightly later, in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.  

An apparently quite separate population occurs from the sixteenth century and before in the southern Lake District and Lancashire.

Subsequent migration finds instances in many counties in UK, and of course overseas, with Frearson families migrating to the Australasian and North American continents.

The advent of DNA testing means that if suitable male lines of these various Frearson family groups can be traced down to present day male relatives, it may be possible for some of the presently separate families to be connected.  A Frearson DNA Project to support the research is currently underway.

The name in USA is more frequently found as Frierson / Frieson, in part due to the different transcription at Ports of Entry, but more often due to European names of similar spellings / pronunciation that have originated independently and migrated with the population movements of the nineteenth and twentieth century.  Those versions are not [at present] included in this study.

Whilst there are no well known “famous” Frearsons, there are characters of interest, and some are listed on the Some Interesting Frearsons page.

Family trees for many Frearson families have been established by use of census data and other sources.  These are being further extended using contacts via Genes Reunited and similar sites.  The Family Trees and their references are listed on the Frearson Family Trees page

Data extracted from the Records

Relevant entries have been, or are being, abstracted from the following major sources:

              The England & Wales BMD index entries 1837 – 2005; Census Index entries from England & Wales 1841-1901; The 1939 Register; International Genealogical Index; National Burial Index; Times Digital Archive; Derby Mercury Digital Archive; The On-line Digital Newspaper Archive, Gale Historical Newspaper Collections; The British Newspaper Archive: ; The London Gazette.

 Additional information has been obtained from the following Archives and Record Offices:

                The National Archives (TNA); Coventry Record Office; Derbyshire Record Office; Hampshire Record Office; Lancashire Record Office; Lichfield Record Office [now at Staffordshire Record Office]; Leicestershire Record Office; Lincolnshire Record Office; Nottinghamshire Record Office.

New Contacts and family information are always very welcome.  For further information; or if you would like to assist in the study, write or email to the address below.

Contacts are held of Frearsons, and those interested in the Frearson name.  These are classified into those wishing their details to be held only by the study, and those who are happy to have their details passed to other researchers.