Show ContentsSorbie History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Sorbie surname evolved from any of several places so named in Northern England. The place name comes from the Old Norse "saurr," meaning "ground," and "the Old English "byr," meaning farm. [1] [2]

Early Origins of the Sorbie family

The surname Sorbie was first found in the North Riding of Yorkshire at Sowerby, a chapelry, in the parish and union of Thirsk, wapentake of Birdforth. Another chapelry named Sowerby can be found in the West Riding of Yorkshire. [3] Both date back to the Domesday Book of 1086 when they were both recorded as Sorebi at that time. [4]

Castle Sowerby is a civil parish in the Eden District of Cumbria, England and it is here that Odierna de Sourebi was recorded in the Pipe Rolls of 1195. Years later, Richard Surby was listed in London in 1381 and in the same year, William Sourby was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls. [5]

Also in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379, we found Thomas de Sawreby; and Johannes de Sawreby. [6]

"Sowerby is the name of parishes and townships in the North and West Ridings, in Lancashire, and Cumberland. Between the reigns of Charles II. and George I. three Thomas Sowerbys were buried in the minster yard, Ripon. Soureby was a Yorkshire surname in the reign of Edward I.. The Sowerbys are also represented in the counties of Cumberland, Durham (around Darlington), and Lincoln." [7]

Today, the variants Sower and Sowers is an abbreviated form of the name Sowersby. [5]

Early History of the Sorbie family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sorbie research. Another 108 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1699, 1757, 1822, 1757, 1787, 1871, 1787, 1822, 1788, 1854, 1788, 1822, 1811, 1854, 1811, 1812, 1884, 1812, 1844, 1825, 1891, 1825, 1843, 1852, 1854, 1891 and 1847 are included under the topic Early Sorbie History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Sorbie Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Sorbie include Sowerby, Sowerbie, Sowersby, Sorebi, Soreby, Soureby, Sowerbutts, Sourbutts, Sorbutt, Sowers and many more.

Early Notables of the Sorbie family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Thomas Surbey, an English water engineer made notes of the lock at Hudd's Mill in 1699. James Sowerby (1757-1822) was a British naturalist and illustrator, whose sons would continue his work. He was the son of John Sowerby (descendant of an old border family through the Yorkshire branch) and Arabella, his wife, was born in London on 21 March 1757. He became a student at the Royal Academy, and was an articled pupil of Richard Wright, the marine painter. In his early years he was a teacher of drawing and a portrait-painter. His eldest son...
Another 448 words (32 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Sorbie Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Sorbie migration to the United States +

Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Sorbie or a variant listed above:

Sorbie Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Robert Sorbie, who settled in Texas in 1844

New Zealand Sorbie migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Sorbie Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Jane Sorbie, (b. 1857), aged 22, Scottish dairy maid, from Midlothian travelling from Clyde aboard the ship "Nelson" arriving in Invercargill, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 28th August 1879 [8]

Contemporary Notables of the name Sorbie (post 1700) +

  • John Sorbie (1740-1813), Scottish progenitor to many of the North American descendants
  • Trevor John Sorbie MBE (1949-1972), Scottish celebrity hairdresser, Artistic Director for Vidal Vidal Sassoon in 1972
  • Dr. Charles Sorbie (1931-2010), Scottish-born Canadian professor and Head of Orthopaedic Surgery at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario
  • Andrew Sorbie Haddow, Scottish professional association football player from Glasgow

  1. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  3. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  5. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  6. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  7. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  8. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from on Facebook