This interesting surname is locational from "Colby", a place in Norfolk and Westmorland, and "Coleby" in Lincolnshire, so called from the Old Norse personal name, "Koli", a byname for a person of swarty appearance, from "kol" (char) coal, and the Old Norse "byr", settlement. Colby in Norfolk was recorded as "Colebei" (Domesday Book 1086) in Linconshire). At the Church of St. Gregory by St. Paul, London, Thomas Colbe was christened on March 26th, 1561. On February 10th 1646, Elizabeth Coleby married Thomas Taylor at St. Bartholomew the less, London. On June 16th 1640, at St. Mary Abbots, Kensington Ann Colbey, daughter of Philip and Rebecca was christened. The first recording of the name in Oxfordshire dates from 1711, at Banbury, when one John Coleby married Martha Hunt. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph de Colebi, which was dated circa 1192, "Early Yorkshire Charters", Farrer and Clay, during the reign of King Richard 1, "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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