This interesting and unusual surname is a variant of 'Ferriby' which is of Old Norse origin, and is a locational surname deriving from either of the places called North Ferriby and South Ferriby in Lincolnshire. These two places are opposite each other on the Humber river. Both places are recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Ferebi', and both share the same meaning and derivation, which is 'the village at the ferry', derived from the Old Norse 'feria, ferja', ferry, with 'by', homestead, village. Locational surnames were mostly acquired by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. One Ellen Ferriby was christened at Barton-upon-Humber, Lincolnshire, on July 25th 1568, and one Richard Ferriby married Mawdlin Overton on August 1st 1664, at Killingholme, Lincolnshire. One Thomas Ferrebee married Susan Smith on September 21st 1664 at St. Jame's, Clerkenwell, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Fereby (marriage to Sibille Faraway), which was dated January 24th 1545, St. Stephen, Coleman Street, London, during the reign of King Henry V111, 'Good King Hal', 1509-1547. 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.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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