This very interesting locational surname is found in a wide variety of spellings. These include Rookesby, Rook(s)by, Rokeby, Rawkesby and Roxby, and it is very arguable as to whether it derives from the same source or a wide variety of different sources. The villages now called Roxby in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, were first recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book as 'Roscebi', and in 1235 as Rokesby, and it is our opinion that most modern nameholders derive from these two sources. This is further confirmed by the fact that most early recognizeable recordings are from the Yorkshire region, although recordings are also found in London shortly afterwards. This is not surprising, London as the capital city did have a better administration than elsewhere. Furthermore when people left their original villages (usually) through plague, civil war, or the enclosure of the commons, and the loss of tenant grazing, they headed for London. Examples of the surname recording include Margey Rokesbie at Monk Fryston, Yorkshire on May 1st 1575, Anthonie Rookesbie, who married Anna Dethick at St Mary Woolchurch, London, on February 24th 1588, Elizabeth Rooksby, a witness at St Dunstans Church, Stepney on April 18th 1634, and Deborah Roxby, who married John Shaw at St Benets, Pauls Wharf, London on September 26th 1734. The Coat of Arms granted to the family is silver, a chevron black between three rooks black membered blue. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Sir Robert de Rokeby, which was dated 1348, knighted by Edward 111 at the seige of Calais, during the reign of King Edward 111, known as 'The father of the Navy', 1327 - 1377. 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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