This most interesting surname is of Old Scandinavian origin, and is a variant of "Exelby", an English locational name from a place so called in Yorkshire, recorded as "Aschilebi" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Eskelby" in the Assize Court Rolls of 1252. The placename itself derives from the Old Danish personal name "Eskil" or the Old Norse personal names "Askell" and "Asketill", composed of the elements "oss, ass", god, and "ketill", kettle, sacrificial cauldron, with the Olde English pre 7th Century element "by", village, settlement, hence "Eskil or Asketill's settlement.The surname is first recorded in the mid 14th Century (see below). Locational surnames were originally given to the lord of the manor or as a means of identification to those who left their place of birth to seek work elsewhere. In 1577, Edmond Bainham married Ellen Esselbee in London, according to the Records of London Marriage Licences, while John Eshelby and Sarah Adcock were married in 1799 in London, recorded in the Marriage Register of St. George's, Hanover Square (1725 - 1809). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Askelby, which was dated 1342, in the "Register of the Freemen of the City of York", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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