This is an English locational surname, but of Danish-Viking pre 7th century origins. It originates either from the village of Girsby in the county of Lincolnshire, or possibly from a now "lost" medieval village of which the only memory today is the surname. This is recorded in several spellings including Gisby, Gisbye, Guisby and the rare Gosby, although there may be other forms that we have not been able to identify. The village of Girsby has itself undergone many spelling changes in the thousand years or so since it was first recorded. These include Grisberi in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles of the year 1050, and again in the famous 1086 Domesday Book of William 1st, and later still as Grisbi. The name probably means either the farm "bi", belonging to "a youth" from the Olde English "gurle", or it may have been the Viking personal name "Griss" meaning grey, as in grey haired. Locational surnames of this type usually developed after the villagers left the village and moved elsewhere in search of work. When this happened they often took, or were given, as their surname, the name of their original village. We do know in this case that the name was well recorded in London from the late 16th century. Examples of the recordings taken from these early church registers include Michael Gisby, a witness at the famous church of St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on June 22nd 1606, and Jone Gisbye, married at St Mary Whitechapel, London, on June 12th 1671. The earliest recording may be that of Joan Gysebye, who married William Page, at St Brides church, Fleet Street, London, on October 28th 1594.
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