Welcome to the Owston/Ouston One-Name Study

Owston and its variant Ouston is a locative name that contains the Old Norse element “austr,” meaning east; and the Old English suffix “tun” for farmstead.  While several English villages bear the names Owston, Ouston, and Oulston; none of the existing families can be satisfactorily connected to any of these locations.  Most, if not all, Owston and Oustons can be traced to one of two Owston families that originated in and around the Vale of Pickering that straddles the counties of North Yorkshire and the East Riding of Yorkshire.

The first occurrence of the name in the region was the 1452 recording of the will of John Oustyn of Place Newton in the parish of Wintringham.  During the next century, several Owston families were recorded in several nearby parishes.  While other early occurrences appear elsewhere in Britain suggesting multiple origins of the surname, it does not appear that descendants of these other families have continued to the present.

The current Owstons and Oustons can be traced to two distinct families that originated in Sherburn in Harford Lythe and Thornholme in the parish of Burton Agnes.  While traditional genealogical methods cannot trace these families to a common ancestor, Y-DNA results conclude that both lineages share a common patriarch who probably lived in the 15th century. Three older families from Staxton in Willerby and Ganton lived during the 15th to 18th centuries in the region.

The information of this blog comes from the combined original research of Roger J. Ouston, the late Timothy J. Owston, James M. Owston, and others.

Join us as we explore the etymology of the name and the history of those who bore it.   The Owston/Ouston One-Name Study is registered with The Guild of One-Name Studies.

Join the Owston Y-DNA Study.

See the results of the study.


Comments RSS
  1. Bill Smith

    Welcome to the GeneaBloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill 😉
    Author of “13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories” and family saga novels:
    “Back to the Homeplace” and “The Homeplace Revisited”
    The Heritage Tourist at In-Depth Genealogist: http://www.indepthgenealogist.com/

  2. J Owston

    Dear J Owston,

    Its another J Owston here from the Teeside#2 line. Dispite you appearing in quite a few places I couldn’t find an e-mail address. Perhaps you could contact me?




  3. Graham

    I am trying to contact the person who posted the OWSTON material to FamilySearch
    submission id:MM7L-DR8
    contributor: date:15 May 2011
    There is a major error in the material – a descendant of Hannah OWSTON who married Wm BULLOCK, Hannah SHARP is recorded as marrying the wrong person!

    • jowston

      Unfortunately, we do not know who that was. We are aware of the existence of Hannah Sharp, but do not currently have her in our genealogy as we are not sure of her connection to Hannah Owston/Ouston wife of William Bullock. It is supposed that she is the granddaughter of Hannah, but we have not attempted to trace this connection as of yet.

  4. Graham

    Hannah Owston is my GGG-grandmother and I descend through Hannah Sharp via her parents Michael Sharp & Elizabeth Bullock who emigrated to South Australia

    • jowston

      Thanks for the additional information.

  5. Ty

    Hello, my name is Ty Owston, my father is David Owston and my grandpa is Richard(Dick) Owston. Would love to meet more Owston’s and learn about it.

    • jowston

      Welcome Ty. You come from a long branch of Owstons that include the following:

      Ronald Blair Owston (1909-1985)
      Clarence Andrew Owston (1877-1949)
      William Harrison Owston (1837-1926)
      William Owston (1803-1866) who came to the USA in the 1830s.
      Thomas Owston (1782-1869)
      Thomas Owston (1755-1823)
      John Owston (1705-1782)
      Francis Owston (1667-1733)
      George Owston (1636-1676)
      Peter Owston (1598-1669)
      William Owston (died 1602)
      Peter Owston (died 1568)

      Most of the Owstons and Oustons descend from Peter. Other Owstons descend from a relative of his whose name was Robert Owston.

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