This unusual name is of Old Scandinavian origin, and is a locational surname deriving from the place called 'Bilby' in the parish of Blythe in Nottinghamshire. The placename is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 for Nottinghamshire as 'Billebi', and in the 1242 Fees Court Rolls of the county as 'Byleby'. The name means 'Bille's farm', derived from the Old Swedish or Old Norse personal name 'Bille', 'Bili', originally bynames meaning 'sword', with 'by', homestead, farm or village. Locational surnames were usually given to the lord of the manor, and especially to those former inhabitants of a place who moved away and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. The modern surname can be found as Bilby, Bilbie and Bilbee. Isabel Bilbie and John Foxe were married on June 15th 1553 at Askham in Nottinghamshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robertus de Bilby, which was dated 1379, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Returns, during the reign of King Richard 11, known as 'Richard of Bordeaux', 1377-1399. 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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