- A transposed variant spelling of the Lincolnshire locational name Welby, near Grantham. The name is Anglo Saxon pre 10th century and means 'The dweller at the farm (by) near the Spring (waella)'. This type of locational name was generally given to a former inhabitant when he or she moved to a new area. This very act immediately created the liklihood of corrupted spelling, particularly when the name holder was as usual, illiterate or the place minor or unknown. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas de Wellebie which was dated 1202, The Lincoln Pipe Rolls during the reign of King John, Nickname 'Lackland', 1216 - 1272. 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.