This interesting surname is of Old Norse origin, and is a locational name from a place thus called in Leicestershire. Barsby is recorded as "Barnesbi" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Barnesbia" in the 1177 Pipe Rolls of the county. The derivation of the name is from the Old Norse "barn", child, which occurs as a byname, and as a fictitious Christian name, and the Old Norse "byr", Old Swedish "by", a village or homestead; hence, "Barn's homestead". "By" is common as a second element in the parts of England where Scandinavians settled, with the first element mostly being Scandinavian personal names, but English and even Norman elements also occur. During the Middle Ages, when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. In the modern idiom the name can be found as Barsbe, Barsbey and Barsby. Recordings of the surname from English Church Registers include: the christening of Margery Barsbye on September 25th 1565, at Belgrave, Leicestershire; the marriage of John Barsby and Margaret Burbidge on October 27th 1571, at Gaddesby, Leicestershire; and the marriage of Anthony Barsbye and Elizabeth Darbe on January 11th 1589, at St. Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Barsbie, which was dated April 8th 1562, a christening witness at the Church at Queniborough, Leicestershire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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