Recorded as Searby, Seruby, Serby, Searsbey, Searsby, and possibly others, this is an English locational surname. It originates from Searby cum Ownby, a village near Caistor in the county of Lincolnshire, and in the region known as Lindsey. The name means Saefari's -byr with Saefari being an ancient Norse-Viking personal name based upon "sae" meaning sea, and "-byr," - a farmstead. The place was first recorded in the famous Domesday Book for the county in the year 1086 as Seurbi, and later in 1119 as Safebi. It is unclear when the modern spelling was established but probably about the year 1500. Locational surnames of this type were often "from" names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original homes to settle somewhere else. As London was often the only city that the average villager would have heard off, it was to this place with its streets traditionally "paved in gold" that people went seeking fame and fortune. Certainly this surname in its various forms is well recorded in the surviving church registers of Greater London from at least Elizabethabethan times. These early recordings include Jonas Serby who married Mary Godfrey at the church of St Christopher le Stocks, in the city of London, on February 19th 1594, Clement Searby who was a christening witness at St Johns Hackney, on October 10th 1624, and Mary Searsby who married David Williams at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on October 28th 1670.
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