This unusual name is of Old Scandinavian origin, dating back to the settlement of northern England by invading Norse, Swedish and Danish peoples during the 8th and 9th Centuries. It is a locational surname, deriving from any one of the places called Gunby in Lincolnshire and in East Yorkshire; both Gunby St. Nicholas and Gunby St. Peter, in Lincolnshire, are recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Gunnebi", and both placenames mean "Gunni's homestead", from the Old Danish personal name Gunni, meaning "battle", and the Old Danish\Swedish "by", homestead village. The place in Yorkshire is recorded as "Gunelby" in "the Coucher Book of Selby" in 1066, and means "Gunhild's homestead", from the Old Swedish personal name Gunhild, meaning "battle-strife", with "by" as before. An early recording of the modern surname is that of the marriage of John Gunby and Elizabeth Parett at St. Dionis, Backchurch, London, in 1542. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas de Gunneby, which was dated 1292, in the "Charters of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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