Recorded in several spelling forms including Hanby, Handby, and the possible dialectals Anby, Ansbye, Ainsby and Ainsbury, this is an English surname but of pre 10th century Danish-Viking origins. It is locational and as such derives from the village of Hanby in the parish of Lavington, Lincolnshire. The village name and hence the later surname translates as 'Hundi's farm' with 'Hundi' being a personal name of the period, and '-bi' being the Danish for 'farm'. The village name is recorded several times in the 1086 Domesday Book as 'Hundebi' whilst the later name developments include: Thomas Hanbye who married in London in 1582, and Jan Hanby who married William Dand at Hanover Square, also London, in 1769. According to the famous register known as the International Genealogical Index, the spellings as Ainsby, Ainsbury, etc. derive from the same source. We have some considerable doubts, and our opinion is that the origination is certainly locational, but from a now 'lost' village, which may well have been in Lincolnshire. Some five thousand British surnames are estimated to originate from lost villages, so this is not an uncommon feature of many names. An early example is that of William Ainsby at the famous church of St Clement Danes in the city of London, on March 4th 1781. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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