Show ContentsBielby History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Bielby traces it's origins as a habitational name from the village of Bilby, a hamlet in Nottinghamshire, now part of the civil parish of Barnby Moor. Today one must look to Australia for some of the more interesting facts about the surname Bilby. There, the name Bilby is an Australian species of nocturnal animal and the name is a native alternative to the Easter Bunny - the Easter Bilby. But Australia's origin is far different than the hamlet in Nottinghamshire. For there the name is borrowed from the Yuwaalaraay Aboriginal language of northern New South Wales, and means a "long-nosed rat."

Early Origins of the Bielby family

The surname Bielby was first found in Bilby, Nottinghamshire, a township, in the parish of Blyth. In the mid 1800s the hamlet had about 221 inhabitants and measured about 1,918 acres in size. [1]

Bielby is a village and civil parish in the East Riding of Yorkshire, and as of 2011, it had a population of 211. The village dates back to at least the Domesday Book where it was listed as Belebi [2] in the union of Pocklington, land held by the King in Yorkshire and was derived from the Old Scandinavian personal name + by as in "farmstead or village of a man called Beli" [3]

And it is her in Yorkshire where we find the first records of the family. The Curia Regis Rolls of 1198 list Ralph de Bittebi. [4] The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 include: Robertus de Bilby; and Willelmus de Bilby as both holding lands there at that time. [5]

Early History of the Bielby family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bielby research. Another 129 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1086, 1379, 1541, 1544, 1604, 1635 and 1730 are included under the topic Early Bielby History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bielby Spelling Variations

Bielby has been spelled many different ways. 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. Spelling variants included: Bilby, Bilbie, Billby, Bylby, Bilsby, Bilbye and others.

Early Notables of the Bielby family

More information is included under the topic Early Bielby Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Bielby migration to the United States +

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 Bielbys to arrive on North American shores:

Bielby Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • John William Bielby, aged 23, who landed in America, in 1919
  • Charles Bielby, aged 19, who immigrated to the United States, in 1920
  • Robert Bielby, aged 23, who immigrated to America from Beverley, England, in 1922

Australia Bielby migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Bielby Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Elizabeth Bielby, (Beilby), (b. 1834), aged 18, English diary maid who was convicted in Beverley, Yorkshire, England for 10 years for larceny, transported aboard the "Duchess of Northumberland" on 25th November 1852, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [6]

New Zealand Bielby 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:

Bielby Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Bielby, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Robert Henderson" arriving in Bluff, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 18th November 1863 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Bielby (post 1700) +

  • William T. Bielby, American Professor of sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Paul Anthony Bielby MBE (b. 1956), English former football midfielder for Manchester United
  • Matt Bielby (b. 1956), British magazine editor from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

  1. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  4. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  6. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 22nd July 2021). Retrieved from
  7. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from on Facebook