Filby History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Filby family

The surname Filby was first found in Norfolk at Filby, a parish, in the East and West Flegg incorporation, hundred of East Flegg. [1] This parish dates back to before the Domesday Book of 1086 where it was listed as Filebey. [2] Literally the place name means "farmstead or village of a man called Fili or Fila." [3]

So, conjecturally, the surname is descended from the tenant of the village and lands of Filby, held by Thorold, Sheriff of Lincolnshire, from William de Warrenne, a Norman Baron, who was recorded in the Domesday Book census of 1086. At the time of the Domesday the village contained 10 salthouses and was surrounded by Filbey Broad.

Early History of the Filby family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Filby research. Another 75 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1202, 1273, 1280, 1315, 1325, 1557, 1582, 1581, 1581, 1582 and 1886 are included under the topic Early Filby History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Filby Spelling Variations

Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Filby, Filbey, Filbee, Filbie, Philby, Philbey, Phillbee, Fylbey, Fylby and many more.

Early Notables of the Filby family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was William Filbie (c.1557-1582), an English Roman Catholic priest from Oxfordshire. " On 25 March 1581 he was ordained priest in the church of St. Mary at Rheims, by the bishop of Châlons-sur-Marne, and soon afterwards he returned to England upon the mission. He was apprehended at Henley while incautiously attempting to speak to Father Edmund Campion, who was being conducted to London with other prisoners (Simpson, Edmund Campion, p. 228). They were all committed to the Tower, 22 July 1581. Filbie...
Another 88 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Filby Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Filby migration to the United States +

Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Filby or a variant listed above:

Filby Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Jeans Filby, who arrived in Virginia in 1640 [4]

New Zealand Filby 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:

Filby Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Kate A. Filby, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Blairgowrie" in 1875

Contemporary Notables of the name Filby (post 1700) +

  • Ian Filby (b. 1954), retired English professional football striker
  • The Ven William Charles Leonard Filby (1933-2009), Anglican priest, Archdeacon of Horsham (1983 – 2002)


  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. ^ 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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