This interesting and unusual surname is English. It is locational and there are many spellings including Oxby, Oxbe, Oxtaby, Oxtarby, Oxterby, Oxtoby, Oxteby, and Oxtiby There is no such place in the gazetters of the British Isles suggesting that the name originates either from a now "lost" medieval site of which the only surviving memory is the surname itself in all its spellings, or possibly as a transposed spelling of an existing place. If the latter then possibly the Lincolnshire village of Owersby and formerly Oresbi, near Market Rasen, is a candidate. In the 20th century the surname is concentrated on East Yorkshire, in the area around Beverley and Market Weighton. The origination is the Danish Viking personal name Awair followed by the traditional Viking 'bi', meaning farmstead. In the late medieval period, tenants were often driven off their lands to facilitate sheep farming, and these people took as their surnames, the name of their former home. As however spelling was rudimentary and local dialects almost different languages, surnames took on a phonetic appearance. Early examples of the name recording include Thomas Oxbe, at the famous church of St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, city of London, on October 15th 1580, John Oxtiby and his wife Isable, witnesses at Lund near Beverley on December 9th 1657, whilst on June 30th 1669, Jane Oxtoby married Joshua Champion at Rowley near Hull. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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