This is a very rare English surname. According to existing records it was only recorded in three English counties before the year 1812, and even then there seems to be very few examples. Be that as it may the name is locational and originates from a place called Golby or Goalby or something similar, except that no such place is to be found in any of the known gazetters of the British Isles for the past three centuries. The name suggests a Danish-Viking origin in that the suffix -by is a short form of the pre 7th century word "-byr" meaning a farm and introduced into England by the Invaders from Scandanavia. The prefix as Gol or Goal was probably Gold, then used as a popular personal name for a child with fair hair, as well as being descriptive of the metal gold. Surnames form "lost" villages are a phenomena of the British Isles and it is estimated that as many as five thousand surnames originate from this source. As to where and why all these places have disappeared has been the subject of several books, but changes in agriculture, the draining of the fens and wetlands, as well as disasters such the various great plagues of the Middle Ages, all played a part. In this case recordings of this surname include Harry Goalby who was christened at Snenton, Nottinghamshire, on July 10th 1704, and Thomas Goalby who married Sarah Nibbitt at Hatton, Warwickshire, on January 9th 1776.
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