Recorded as Tobey, Toby, Toobey, Tooby and possible others, this is an English surname. It is derived from the male personal name Tobias, the Greek form of the Hebrew name Torya, meaning "The Lord is Good". Tobias and its derivatives were introduced into Europe by returning knights and pilgrims from the famous Crusades to the Holy Land in the 12th century. They became popular as both personal and surnames in the Middle Ages, and there was something of a revival in the 18th Century owing to the famous Punch and Judy shows, where the dog is called Toby and accompanied Tobias on his travels. Langland's medieval book "Piers Plowman" written in the year 1362 contains the line, "And kan telle of Tobye, and of twelve Apostles". Early recordings include Thomas Tooby of Somerset in 1327, whilst the first recording may be that of Simon Toby. This was dated 1271, in the Court Rolls of the Abbey of Ramsey, Cambridgeshire, during the reign of King Henry IIIrd, 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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