Recorded as Rookesby, Rooksby, Rokesby, Rokeby, Rawkesby, Roxbee, Roxby, and others, this is an English surname. It is locational from villages called Roxby in the counties of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. These were first recorded in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 as Roscebi, and most modern nameholders do derive from these two sources. This is 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, the enclosure of the common lands, and the loss of tenant grazing, they headed for London. Early examples of the recordings 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. A coat of arms associated with the surname has the blazon of a silver field, charged with a black chevron between three rooks. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Sir Robert de Rokeby. This was dated 1348, when he was knighted by King Edward 111rd at the seige of Calais. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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