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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

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.


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.


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.


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


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
  • 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 United States in the 18th Century

  • Samuel Colby, who landed in Jamaica in 1709

Colby Settlers in 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


  • 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
  • Thomas Frederick Colby (1784-1852), British major-general and director of the Ordnance Survey


  • 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. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  2. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  3. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  4. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  5. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  6. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  8. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  9. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  10. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  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 11 March 2015 at 14:18.

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