This interesting surname of English origin is a dialectal variant of the locational name Kirby or Kirkby from any of the various places so called in Northern England, deriving from the old Norse "Kirkja" meaning "church" plus "byr" "settlement". The surname dates back to the early 12th Century, (see below). Further recordings include Ketellus de Kerkabi (1191) "The Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire", and Adam de Kirkeby (1273), "The Hundred Rolls of Yorkshire". Variations in the idiom of the spelling include Kerby, Kerbey, Kirkbey, etc., Susanne, daughter of Benjamin and Ester le Paire Karby, a French Huguenot, was christened at Threadneedle Street, London, on July 30th 1671. Ann Karby married John Braiser on September 13th 1731 at St. Benet Pauls Wharf, London and Bailey Karby married Rose Woodwards on November 30th 1766 at St. Matthew Bethnal Green, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Godebold de Kirkebi, which was dated 1131 - 1148, in the "Feudal Documents from the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds", Suffolk, during the reign of King Stephen, known as "The Count of Blois", 1135 - 1154. 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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