Birkby History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

There are no fewer than three locations in England named Birkby. In Cumbria, Birkby is in the parish of Crosscanonby (or Cross Canonby) and the remaining two locations are found in North Yorkshire and West Yorkshire. It is from this area of England that the surname Birkby claims as its ancient homestead.

Early Origins of the Birkby family

The surname Birkby was first found in West Yorkshire or North Yorkshire at Birkby, townships and parishes. The North Yorkshire location is presumably the oldest at it dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 where it was first listed as Bretebi. [1] Both place names mean "farmstead or village of the Britons." [2] One of the first records of the name was William de Bretteby, who was listed in the Assize Rolls of Yorkshire in 1219. Years later, William Birtby was listed again in Yorkshire in 1462. [3] Conjecturally, the surname is descended from the tenant of the lands of Birkby near Huddersfield held by the King's steward, who was recorded in the Domesday Book census of 1086.

Important Dates for the Birkby family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Birkby research. Another 109 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1510, 1600 and 1487 are included under the topic Early Birkby History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Birkby Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries. For that reason, spelling variations are common among many Anglo-Norman names. The shape of the English language was frequently changed with the introduction of elements of Norman French, Latin, and other European languages; even the spelling of literate people's names were subsequently modified. Birkby has been recorded under many different variations, including Birkby, Berkby, Beckby, Bickby, Birkbie, Birkbee, Bickbie, Burkby, Burkbie, Birkbye, Birchby, Berchby and many more.

Early Notables of the Birkby family (pre 1700)

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

Birkby migration to the United States

To escape the uncertainty of the political and religious uncertainty found in England, many English families boarded ships at great expense to sail for the colonies held by Britain. The passages were expensive, though, and the boats were unsafe, overcrowded, and ridden with disease. Those who were hardy and lucky enough to make the passage intact were rewarded with land, opportunity, and social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families went on to be important contributors to the young nations of Canada and the United States where they settled. Birkbys were some of the first of the immigrants to arrive in North America:

Birkby Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Catherine Birkby, who arrived in Maryland in 1654
  • Catherine Birkby, who landed in Maryland in 1654 [4]
  • Samuell Birkby, who settled in Maryland in 1657
Birkby Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Birkby, who was on record in New York in 1831
  • William Birkby, aged 6, who settled in America, in 1897
Birkby Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Fred Birkby, aged 26, who immigrated to the United States from Bradford, in 1907
  • Ernest Birkby, aged 40, who landed in America from Leith, Scotland, in 1910
  • Mary Birkby, aged 6, who immigrated to the United States from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1911
  • Ernest Birkby, aged 47, who immigrated to America from Cleckheaton, England, in 1915
  • James Birkby, aged 21, who landed in America, in 1918
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Birkby (post 1700)

  • Robert C. Birkby, American adventure guide, author, photographer, speaker and trail designer
  • Phyllis Birkby (1932-1994), American architect, feminist, filmmaker and educator
  • Evelyn Corrie Birkby (b. 1919), American newspaper columnist, author, and radio personality
  • Dr Ian Birkby (b. 1961), English professional rugby league footballer of the 1970s and 1980s


  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
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