Recorded as Fenbie, Fenbye, Fenby, Finby, Finbie, and others, this is an English surname. It is locational from a hamlet called (now) Ashby cum Fenby some five miles from the port of Grimsby in the county of Lincolnshire. The place name is part pre 7th century English and part Danish-Viking being from the words 'fenn', meaning a marsh or lake, and 'by,' the pre 7th century Scandanavian word for a farm. Fenby was first recorded in that spelling in the famous Domesday Book of 1086. It must be almost unique in firstly actually meaning what it says, secondly that it has kept the same spelling for the best part of a thousand years, and thirdly that the place itself is probably the same size today as it was in those far off times. Locational surnames though are usually 'from' names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original homesteads to move somewhere else. This was often the city of London where the name has been regularly recorded since the time of Charles 1st (1625 - 1649). These recordings include Thomas Fenby at St Botolophs without Aldgate, on December 1st 1639. However in Lincolnshire itself recordings are even earlier. They include Robert Fenby, a christening witness at North Kelsey church, on June 23rd 1563.
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