Colby History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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.

Early Origins of the Colby family

The surname Colby was 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.

Early History of the Colby family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Colby research. Another 80 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Colby History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Colby Spelling Variations

Colby 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. Many variations of the name Colby have been found, including Colby, Colbey, Coalby and others.

Early Notables of the Colby family (pre 1700)

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

Colby Ranking

In the United States, the name Colby is the 2,642nd most popular surname with an estimated 12,435 people with that name. [1]


United States Colby 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 Colbys to arrive on North American shores:

Colby Settlers in 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 [2]
  • Henry Colby, who settled in New England in 1633
  • Anne Colby, who settled in Virginia in 1655
  • Ann Colby, who arrived in Virginia in 1655 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Colby Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • M H Colby, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [2]
  • R K Colby, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [2]
  • D Colby, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [2]
  • T Colby, who landed in San Francisco California in 1851 [2]
  • S B Colby, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1855 [2]

West Indies Colby migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [3]
Colby Settlers in West Indies in the 18th Century
  • Samuel Colby, who landed in Jamaica in 1709 [2]

Contemporary Notables of the name Colby (post 1700) +

  • James Leo Colby (1961-2018), American film, television and stage actor from Arlington, Massachusetts
  • Bainbridge Colby (1869-1950), American lawyer, founder of the United States Progressive Party, Secretary of State for Woodrow Wilson
  • Everett Colby (1874-1943), American politician, member of the New Jersey Senate
  • Charles Carroll Colby PC (1827-1907), American-born, Canadian lawyer, businessman and politician
  • Carroll Burleigh "C.B." Colby (1904-1977), American children's book writer of over 93 books used in American public and school libraries
  • 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
  • Anita Colby (1914-1972), born Anita Counihan, American actress
  • Frank Moore Colby (1865-1925), American educator and writer
  • William E. Colby (1973-1976), American head of CIA
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Arrow Air Flight 1285
  • Mr. Stephen R Colby (b. 1964), American Specialist 4th Class from Colonial Beach, Virginia, USA who died in the crash [4]


Suggested Readings for the name Colby +

  • 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.

  1. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  4. ^ American War Memorials - Flight 1285. (Retrieved 2016, August 24) . Retrieved from http://www.uswarmemorials.org/html/monument_details.php?SiteID=317&MemID=550


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