Recorded as Sneesby, Sneesbee, Sneesbie, Sneezby, and others, this is an English locational surname. It is however one which clearly owes something to the Vikings, the suffix "-by" being a short form of the pre 7th century Scandanavian word "byr," meaning a farm, or sometimes a settlement. The problem is to identify the location. None of the gazetters of the Brisih Isles for the past three centuries list a place called Sneesby or anything like it, and yet the surname is well recorded in the surviving church registers of the city of London, and probably other places from the begining of the Stuart period in the early 17th century. The prefix is possibly Olde English and a form of the word "snaed" meaning a piece of land, although this is conjecture as is the siting of the original village. To add to the complication locational surnames are usually "from" names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original villages to live somewhere else, so contact with an original source is broken. We believe that is was probably in East Anglia, but as some three thousand surnames of the British Isles are known to have originated from now "lost" medieval villages, the task is difficult. Early examples of the surname recording include Elizabeth Snesby or Snisby, christened at Harrow on the Hill, Middlesex on April 1st 1620, and Francis Sneezbee christened at St Margarets Westminster, on December 16th 1632.
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