This most interesting surname, with the variants Coningsby, Colisbe and Conigsby, is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from a place called Conisby, a hamlet two miles north of Frodingham in North Lincolnshire, which was recorded as "Cunesbi" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Cunigesbi", circa 1115, in the "Lincolnshire Survey". The placename itself derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "Cyningesburg", itself composed of "cyning", king and "burg", a fortified place, fort, hence "the king's fort". There is also a minor place called Conisby, situated just north of Bruichladdich on the island of Islay, off the west coast of Scotland. The surname is well recorded in the Church Registers of London. Early examples of the surname include the marriage of Elizabeth Conesbie and Thomas Stele on June 4th 1559, at Rotherham in Yorkshire; the marriage of Alis Cunsbe and George Harris on January 27th 1566 at St. Margaret's, Westminster, London; and the christening of Joseph Conisbee at Weld Chapel, Southgate, London, in 1835. William Conisby, aged 31 yrs., was one of the early settlers in the New World, arriving in the Barbadoes in December 1635. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Margaret Conesby, which was dated November 24th 1550, marriage to Thomas Foster, at St. Stephen's, Coleman Street, London, during the reign of King Edward V1, known as "The Boy King", 1547 - 1553. 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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