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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the English Colby family come from? What is the English Colby family crest and coat of arms? When did the Colby family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Colby family history?

The ancestors of the name Colby date back to the days of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from their residence in Colby, a parish in the county of Norfolk.

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Colby has been spelled many different ways, including Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred years, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Colby, Colbey, Coalby and others.

First found in Norfolk where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Colby research. Another 265 words(19 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Colby History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Colby Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Colbys to arrive on North American shores:

Colby Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Anthony Colby and his wife Susannah who settled at Salem Massachusetts in 1630
  • Anthony Colby, who landed in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1632
  • Henry Colby settled in New England in 1633
  • Anne Colby settled in Virginia in 1655
  • Ann Colby, who arrived in Virginia in 1655


Colby Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Samuel Colby, who landed in Jamaica in 1709

Colby Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • M H Colby, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • R K Colby, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • D Colby, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • T Colby, who landed in San Francisco California in 1851
  • S B Colby, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1855

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  • William E. Colby (1973-1976), American head of CIA
  • Anita Colby (1914-1972), born Anita Counihan, American actress
  • Anthony Colby (1792-1873), American businessman and politician, Governor of New Hampshire (1846-1847)
  • Barbara Colby (1940-1975), American actress tragically killed in a drive-by shooting
  • Frank Moore Colby (1865-1925), American educator and writer
  • Carroll Burleigh "C.B." Colby (1904-1977), American children's book writer of over 93 books used in American public and school libraries
  • Charles Carroll Colby PC (1827-1907), American-born, Canadian lawyer, businessman and politician
  • Everett Colby (1874-1943), American politician, member of the New Jersey Senate
  • Bainbridge Colby (1869-1950), American lawyer, founder of the United States Progressive Party, Secretary of State for Woodrow Wilson
  • Thomas Frederick Colby (1784-1852), British major-general and director of the Ordnance Survey


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  • The Colby Family in Early America: Early Generations of the Descendants of Anthony Colby of Boston, Cambridge, Salisbury and Amesbury, Massachusetts, 1595-1661 by Frederick Lewis Weis.
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  1. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  2. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  3. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  4. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  5. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  6. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  7. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  8. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  9. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  10. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  11. ...

The Colby Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Colby Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 23 July 2014 at 22:49.

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