This unusual name is of Old Norse origin, and is a variant form of the locational surname Orm(e)sby, which is derived from any one of the places called Orm(e)sby in Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Norfolk. Ormsby in Yorkshire, near Middlesbrough, is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Ormesbi", as are North and South Ormsby in Lincolnshire, near Louth. Ormesby in Norfolk, near Yarmouth, is recorded circa 1025 as "Ormisby", and in Domesday as "Ormesbei". All these places share the same meaning and derivation, which is "Orm's settlement", from the Old Norse personal name "Ormr", originally a byname meaning "snake, serpent, dragon", and cognate with the Olde English "wyrm" (worm, and the same range of meanings), with "byr", farm, settlement. Locational surnames were given particularly as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere; regional and dialectal differences subsequently gave rise to a variety of spellings, which in the case of Ormesby include: Ormsby, Ormsbie, Ormsbee, Armsby, Armesby, Arm(e)sbie and Harmsby. Examples from Church Registers include: the marriage of Lawrence Armsby and An Phillips at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London, on January 30th 1593, and the marriage of John Armsby and Francies Baxtor on February 25th 1611, at Spalding in Lincolnshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Ormesby, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Lincolnshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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.
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