This is an Olde English locational name which derives from the medieval hamlets of Fearnside found in both Yorkshire and Lancashire. The name originates from residence at a hillside covered with fern, and this may well be the case, however it is equally possible that the location had some other meaning now lost. The surname has been popular in the North for many centuries, but is only rarely found in other regions. The name recordings include the following examples 1595, Robert Farnside of Worsley, Lancashire in the Chester Wills record, 1615, Henry Ferneside of Thurston, Cheshire, whilst on June 17th 1657 David Fearnside married Susan Chipindale at Bradford parish church. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Johis Fernesyde, which was dated December 16th 1571, a witness at Halifax parish church, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as Good Queen Bess, 1558 - 1603. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.