Last name: Kirby

Recorded in many spelling forms including: Cerby, Cirby, Curby, Cerbee, Kirby, Kirkby, Kirkebye, Kerbey, Kerby, and Kurby this is an English surname. It is of locational origin from one of the numerous places named Kirby or Kirkby, as for example, Kirby le Soken in the county of Essex; Kirby Cane in Norfolk; Monks Kerby in Warwickshire; Kirby Hill in the North Riding of Yorkshire; Kirkby on Bain in Lincolnshire; and Kirkby Lonsdale, in Westmorland. These places, recorded variously as Chirchebi, Kerkeby and Kirchebi in the famous Domesday book of 1086 for the above counties, derive from the Northern Middle English word "kirk", meaning a church and ultimately from the Olde Norse word "kirkja," with "byr", a farm. The Olde English pre 7th Century "cyrice", also meaning "church," accounts for the initial "C" in some Domesday Book recordings. Early examples of the surname recording taken from surviving early registers include: Richard Kyrby in the Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk in 1524, whilst on October 19th 1589, Ann Kirby was christened at the famous church of St. Dunstan's in the East, Stepney, and Nathaniel Curbee was christened at the church of Holy Trinity in the Minories, in the city of London, on February 21st 1647. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Godebold de Kirkebi. This was dated 1121, in the records of the Abbey of Bury St. Edmund's, Suffolk, during the reign of King Henry 1st of England, 1100 - 1135. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017

Surname Scroll

Enjoy this name printed onto our colourful scroll, printed in Olde English script. An ideal gift. View Details.

pat kirby
The surname Kirby (O'Ciarmhaic) has Irish origins and has for many centuries been synonymous with East Limerick, and especially Knockainey. The O'Ciarmhaic tribe were kings of Small County. It would be useful if your website accurately reflected this.. Patrick Kirby (Padraig O'Ciarmac) Gortavcoosh, Murroe East Limerick

THE ANSWER TO KIRBY VS. KIRBY (sorry for the caps, just trying to get people's attention). The surname Kirby is derived from the Danish Kirkeby or Kirkby. Kirby was given a baronet in the north of England since their ancestors came over with William in 1066. Remember, the Normans were "Francophized" Danes and Norwegians. Essentially, it is now considered an English surname, though not common. The surname Kirby in Ireland is an anglicized derivative of O'Ciarmhaic from the 18th century (as is Kerwick). This was an attempt to reduce English prejudice against the family. Many Irish families did the same. Since another derivative of the name is O'Cearba which sounds similar to Kirby, and since the English Kirby's and Fitzgerald's were assigned as Marcher Lords governing various conquered Irish holdings (including the barony of Small County which was ruled in the Kingdom of Munster by the Eoganacht Aine Cliach and most of the time by the O'Ciarmhaic), the adoption of "Kirby" was chosen. -Michael Kirby

Andy Kerby

Yes, "Kirby" is an English/Germanic surname. However, far more of the Kirbys on this fair planet are of Irish descent given that the Celtic O'Ciarmhaic line of Kerry and Limerick was forced to adopt the rough English equivalent, and then they were scattered to the winds during the potato famine. You know who you are.

Subscribe to our newsletter

View previous newsletters.

Powered by MailChimp