This interesting and long-established surname has two distinct possible sources, each with its own history and derivation. Firstly, Barnaby may be of Old Scandinavian origin, and a locational name from the hamlet of Barnaby near Guisborough in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Recorded as "Bernodebi" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Bernaldeby" in the "Cartularium prioratus de Gyseburne", dated 1231, the place was so called from the Olde English pre 7th Century male given name "Beronwald", a compound of the elements "beorn", young warrior, and "wald", rule, and the Old Norse "byr", enclosure, settlement. Locational surnames were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. The second possibility is that Barnaby derives from the Middle English vernacular form of the given name Barnabas, borne by the companion of St. Paul (Acts 4:36). This is of Aramaic origin, from "Bar-nabia", son of Nabia, a byname meaning "exhortation". One Roger Barnaby was noted in the 1331 Feet of Fines for Cambridgeshire. A Coat of Arms granted to the Barnaby family is a silver shield with two trefoils slipped erminois on a green fesse flory counterflory between three black boars' heads couped. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Bernaldeby, which was dated 1160, in the "Cartularium prioratus de Gyseburne", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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