This surname of English origin is a locational name either from the port in Northern Yorkshire deriving from the Old Norse 'huitr' meaning place named Whitby in Cheshire coming from the Old English pre 7th Century 'hwit' meaning 'white' (i.e., stone built) plus 'burh' 'manor-house' or 'fortified place'. The name dates back to the late 13th Century, (see below). Further recordings include one Robertus de Whytby (1379) 'The Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire'. Variations in the idiom of the spelling include Witby, Whitbie, Whitbye. One Agnes Whitbey was christened on June 3rd 1563 at Frodsham, Cheshire and Dorothie Whitbye was christened at Stokesley, Yorkshire on January 1577. One Richard Whitby was recorded as living in Virginia in 1623 having emigrated to the New World. Daniel Whitby (1638 - 1726) received a B.A., at Trinity College, Oxfordshire in 1657 and an M.A., in 1660. He later became bishop of Salisbury in 1668. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ricardus de Whiteby, which was dated 1272, 'Register of the Freeman of the City of York', during the reign of King Edward 1, 'The Hammer of the Scots', 1272 - 1307. 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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