This uncommon and interesting name is of Old Norse origin, and is a variant form of the locational surname deriving from any one of the places in Lincolnshire, and in Yorkshire, near Doncaster, called Firsby. The places now called East and West Firsby, in Lincolnshire near Market Rasen, were recorded as one settlement in the Domesday Book f 1086, as "Frisebi", while the other Lincolnshire Firsby, near Spilsby, appears as "Friseby" in the Book of Fees of the county of 1254. The places all share the same meaning and derivation, which is "the Frisian's settlement", derived from the Old Norse "Frisir", with "byr", a farm. The Frisians were the people who came from the province of the North Netherlands called Friesland. Interestingly, there are places in Leicestersire called Frisby, recorded in the Domesday Book as "Frisebie", which have retained their original name form; Firsby results from a common metathesis in Middle English, which also gave "brid" and "bird" for bird (Olde English "bridde"). The surnames deriving from Firsby include Fisbey, Fessby, Feasby, Forsbey and Phorsbey. Examples from Church Registers include: the marriage of Elizabeth Feasby and Robert Ker at St. James', Duke's Place, London, on January 24th 1698, and the marriage of Ann Forsby and Robert Wastell in Catterick, Yorkshire, on November 23rd 1737. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Fishbye, which was dated June 4th 1576, witness to the christening of his son, Philip, at All Saints, Saltfleetby, Lincolnshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558-1603. 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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