This very interesting surname, recorded in Church Registers of England, Ireland, France and Germany under the variant spellings Rouby, Roubay, Ruby, Rubi, Rubee and Ro(e)by, has two primary sources, each with its own history and derivation. Firstly, Rubie may be of Old French origin, and a locational name from Roubaix in Nord, France, initially recorded as "de Roubaix" in the late 14th Century (see below). In 1411, the marriage of Marie De Roubaix to Antoine De Croy was registered at Roubaix, Nord. The surname from this source is recorded in the Munster county of Cork from the early 18th Century, the marriage of Catherine Rubie to Matthias Smith being registered in Cork city in 1702. The second main source of the surname, particularly applicable in Germany, is the medieval given name "Ruby, Rubie", itself a pet form of "Reuben", from the Hebrew "Reuven" (interpreted in Genesis 29:32 as "reu", behold, and "ben", son). On May 7th 1594, Daniel, son of Johannes Ruby and Barbara Barthin, was christened at Speyer, Pfalz, Bayern, Germany. Finally, Rubie may be of Old Scandinavian origin, and a dialectal variant of the more familiar Roby, itself a locational name from Roby in Lancashire, so called from the Old Swedish "ra", a boundary mark, with "by", settlement. On October 27th 1539, Elizabeth Roby was christened at Farnworth, Lancashire, and on June 24th 1610, John Rubie was christened at St. Mary's, Whitechapel, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jean de Roubaix, which was dated 1389, in Birth Registers of Roubaix, Nord, France, during the reign of King Charles V1, of the House of Valois, 1380 - 1422. 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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