Despite its appearing to be an English name, probably from a placename with the Old Scandinavian suffix 'by', meaning homestead or village, there are no records of the surname before the early 19th century. This tends to mean that the surname is an anglicised French Huguenot name in this case 'de l'arbre' meaning 'of the trees'. The surname 'Larby' as 'Larbee' is first recorded in America, in the 'Muster of the Inhabitants of Virginia' of 1624, where one 'Jacob Larbee' is recorded as one of the 'Dead at Peirseys Hundred'. During the 17th and 18th centuries many surnames were brought to Britain and North America by Huguenots fleeing religious persecution in France. It was common for a French name like 'de L'arbre' to become 'Larby' and 'Larky' with the influence of regional and dialectual differences. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Larkby married Sarah Mail. which was dated 15th April 1807, St. Paul's, Convent Garden, London. during the reign of King George III, 'Farmer George' 1760-1820. 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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