Recorded as Stainsby, Stansby, and Stanesby, this is an English locational surname. It originates from the village of Stainsby in Lincolnshire, in the parish of Ashby Puerorum, or from a hamlet called Stainesby which is now part of the town of Hucknall, in Derbyshire. In both cases there is a Viking element through the suffix -by formerly -'bi', and meaning a dairy farm. The meaning and origin of the prefix is open to argument. The 'Dictionary of English Place names' suggests that it was personal name of the pre 7th century 'Steinn', but it may also be a development of 'stan' meaning stone, and hence stony farm. Locational surnames are ones that were usually given either to the local lord of the manor and his descendants, or more often to people who had left their former homes to move somewhere else, probably in search of work. The easiest way to identify such people was to call them by the name of the place from whence they came, a practice which soon lead to the development of 'sounds like' spellings. In this case early examples of the surname recording include: John Stanesby in the register of students of Oxford University in the year 1598, and Alice Stainsby who was apparently buried at the church of St James Clerkenwell, in the city of London, in 1663.
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