Recorded in several forms including Houtbe, Houtbie, Houtbee and the more usual Houtby, although all are rare, this is an English surname. It is or rather was, locational from a "lost" village in the county of Lincolnshire, where the name in all its various spelling was first recorded. Certainly there does not appear to be any surviving placename anywhere in theBritish Isles which is close enough in spelling to give a definate location, and "Lost" medieval villages are a feature of both the British landscape, and the surnames listing. It is estimated that not less than three thousand surviving surnames do derive from this source, and we believe that this is one of them. As to the meaning of the place name and hence the surname, it clearly has some Danish-Viking influence through the suffix "by" from the pre 10th century "byr" and meaning a farm, whilst the prefix may be an Olde English pre 7th century personal name such as "Hofa", a popular baptismal name in those parts, or a derivative of "hough" meaning a hill. Early examples of the surname recordings include: Alexander Houtby, a witness at St Swithins church, Lincoln, on October 1st 1569, and Ann Houtbie, who married Richard Parkes at Tetney, Lincolnshire, on July 15th 1610.
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