This interesting surname is of Old Norse origin, and is a locational name from a place, south west of Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, called Gaddesby. Recorded variously as "Gadesbi" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Gaddesbia" in the 1177 Pipe Rolls of that county, the place was so called from the Old Norse personal byname "Gaddr", from "gaddr", a sting, with "byr", settlement, homestead. Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. Regional and dialectal differences subsequently gave rise to several variations in the original spelling, and in the modern idiom the surname is found as Gadesby, Gaddesby, Gadsby and Gatsby. On September 10th 1585, Margarett Gadsby, an infant, was christened in Quorndon, Leicestershire. Thomas Gadsby, aged 19 yrs., who embarked from London on the ship "George" bound for Virginia, in August 1635, was one of the earliest recorded namebearers to settle in America. Ecclesiastical Records of Lancashire note one William Gadsby, pastor of Black Lane chapel, Manchester, in 1805. A Coat of Arms granted to the Gadsby family is a black shield with an ermine chevron between three silver pheons, the Crest being a silver stag passant. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Agnes Gadesby, which was dated January 21st 1567, marriage to Richard Deacon, at Shackerstone, Leicestershire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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