This interesting surname is ultimately of Greek origin, and derives from the Greek form of the Hebrew male given name "Tovya", Jehovah is good. The Book of Tobit (son of Tobias) in the Apocrypha was excluded from the Authorized Version of the Bible by the Reformers. Tobias prior is listed in the "Placenames of Essex" (circa 1142). Tobias Matthew was Archbishop of York; he had an eccentric son, always known as Tobie, a picturesque figure at the Court of James 1 of England (and V1 of Scotland) (1603 - 1625). The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 13th Century (see below) and can also be found as Toby and Tobey, and William Toby is noted in the Hundred Rolls of Lincolnshire (1275). Recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include: the christening of John, son of William and Bridget Tobias, on February 6th 1698 at St. Olave's, Southwark; the christening of Sarah, daughter of John and Anne Tobias, on April 15th 1726 at St. Mary Whitechapel; and the christening of William, son of Philip and Mary Tobias, on August 18th 1551 at St. Sepulchre's. The Coat of Arms most associated with the family is a chequy field black and gold, on a silver fess a red cinquefoil, the Crest being a perch's head issuant proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Simon Toby, which was dated 1272, in the "Court Rolls of the Abbey of Ramsey", Cambridgeshire, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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