Recorded in the London church registers in the spellings of Featonby, Fetenbe, Fettenbee, Featenby, Fettingby and the obscure or probably extinct, Phetenby, this is an English locational surname. It is at least in part, of Danish-Viking origins, the suffix ending of '-by' meaning 'farm' in pre 7th century Scandanavian. Place names ending 'by' are particulary popular in East Anglia, however a study of all known gazetters throughout England has failed to reveal any place called by any of the surname spellings. In Lincolnshire records there is the surname of Fetherby, and curiously this is one itself which apparently derives from a 'lost' medieval village. 'Lost' villages are a phenomena of the British Isles, and it is estimated that over five thousand surnames do originate from these places, of which the only public reminder in the 20th century is the surname. Early examples of church register recordings include: Johes Fetherby of Swineshead, Lincolnshire, on January 28th 1587, Robert Fetenbe, whose daughter Mary was christened at St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on July 31st 1721, and Phillip Featonby, who married Catherine Moars (as spelt) at the church of St Anne's Soho, Westminster, on November 6th 1791. It is our opinion based on over fifty thousand individual researches on surnames world wide, that the spellings as found in London in the 18th century and onwards, are probably dialectal variants of the Lincolnshire surname Fetherby.
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