Recorded in a number of spellings including Risbie, Risby, Risbey, Risbee, and probably others, this is an English locational surname. It originates from any or all of the four places called Risby in the counties of Lincolnshire, Suffolk and Yorkshire. The place name probably translates as 'the farm in the rushes' from the Olde English word 'risc' meaning rushes, and the Danish-Viking 'byr' meaning a farm or possibly in some cases a small village or hamlet. Risby near Market Rasen in Lincolnshire is recorded in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Risebi' as is the Suffolk village in the same records.Locational surnames are usually 'from' names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original homesteads, and settled somewhere else. The easiest way to identify such strangers was to call them by the name of the place from whence they came. Spelling over the centuries being at best erratic and local accents very thick., often lead to the creation of 'sounds like' spellings. This surname is well recorded in the surviving registers of the city of London, and early Elizabethan examples include Elizabeth Risby who married John Winthrop at St Peters church in the city of London, on February 6th 1568, and Esaye Risbie, who was christened at St Brides Fleet Street, on February 2nd 1614.
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