This long-established name, found chiefly in East Anglia and the north-east of England, is of Old Norse origin, and is a variant form of the locational surname Ris(h)by, which derives from any of various places called Risby, for example in Lincolnshire, near Scunthorpe, in Suffolk, near Bury St. Edmunds, and in East Yorkshire, near Bentley. Risby in Lincolnshire is recorded as "Risebi" in the Domesday Book of 1086; that in Suffolk as "Resebi, Risebi" in Domesday, and "Rissebi" in 1166; and Risby in Yorkshire is "Risbi" in Domesday, and "Risceby" in 1229. The Lincolnshire Risby is derived from the Old Norse "hris", brushwood, and "byr", farm, settlement; hence, "farm in brushwood"; the places in Suffolk and Yorkshire are named with the Old Norse "ryths", clearing, and "byr", as before. Locational surnames were used particularly as a means of identification by those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere, and this circumstance frequently led to the accidental creation of variant forms of the original name. The surname development has included: (in Lincolnshire) Risby (1571); Rusbie (1575); Rushbe (1588); and, in Yorkshire, Rishbie (1590). William and Thomas, the sons of Robert Rushby, were christened at Glemsford in Suffolk on August 2nd 1562. The family Coat of Arms depicts a red saltire engrailed between four red roses on a silver shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Risbie, which was dated March 8th 1555, witness to the christening of his son, Robert, at Lamarsh, Essex, during the reign of Queen Mary, known as "Bloody Mary", 1553 - 1558. 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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