This is an English locational surname. Recorded in the modern spellings of Barmby and Barnby, it is of northern origins from one or all of the various places called Barmby, as in Barmby on the Moor, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, or Barmby on Don, near Doncaster, in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The meaning of the name is open to conjecture. It is certainly Danish-Viking pre 8th century, the suffix '-by' originally -'bi' meaning a farm or small settlement in Scandanavian, whilst the prefix may be a personal name such as 'Biarni', a name well recorded in its native land, or it could derive from the Olde English 'bera', meaning a bear.This may well also have been a personal name, as the bear as an animal, had been extinct in the area many centuries before the first recordings of the place names in the famous Domesday Book of 1086. This listed all known English villages and settlements at that date. The transposition of the letters 'n' and 'm' was quite normal in medieval times, as shown in what is believed to be the first known recording. This was Richard de Barneby in the Hundred Rolls of Yorkshire for the year 1273, with Thomas de Barmby appearing in the Poll Tax rolls of 1379. Other recordings include Charles Barmbye in the register of Oxford University in 1584 - 85, and Francis Barnbye of the city of York, also in 1585.
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