This interesting surname is of Old Norse origin, and is a locational name from Whisby in Lincolnshire, deriving from the Old Norse personal name "Hvitr", plus "byr" settlement, hence "Hvitr's byr". The placename appears as "Wizebi" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Wiscebi" in the Assize Court Rolls of `1202. The surname may also be a dialectal variant of the various places called Westby in Lancashire, Lincolnshire, and the West Riding of Yorkshire, so called from the Old Norse "vestr" meaning "west", plus "byr". Variations in the spelling of the surname include Wisbey, Wissby, Wasbey, and Westby. Church Records list the marriage of William Wissby to Alice Coles on May 3rd 1640 at St. Michael Bassishaw, London, and the christening of Thomas, son of Rowland Wisbye, on September 2nd 1649 in Bourne, Lincolnshire. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is silver, on a blue bend three silver escallops. The Crest is an elephant's head proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nicholas Wisby, which was dated November 17th 1636, married Winifred Dyer at St. Andrew by the Wardrobe, London, during the reign of King Charles 1st, known as "The Martyr", 1625 - 1649. 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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