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

Where did the English Frisby family come from? What is the English Frisby family crest and coat of arms? When did the Frisby family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Frisby family history?

The name Frisby was brought to England in the great wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Frisby family lived in Leicestershire, in a town called Frisby which is now lost to the map. A number of towns called Frisby exist in England, all deriving their names from the Old Norman word frisir, which indicated someone from the area of Frisia or Friesland.


Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Frisbie, Frisby, Frisbee, Frisebie, Frisebye, Friseby and many more.

First found in Leicestershire where the family were Lords of the manor of Frisby at the time of the taking of the Domesday Book, [1] a survey by William the Conqueror in 1086, after his conquest of England in 1066 A.D. Conjecturally they are descended from Fulk, a Norman noble who held this land from Hugh de Grandmesnil. The village is now deserted and lies on Frisby Hall farmland. Also in Leicestershire Frisby on the Wreake were estates held by Earl Hugh and may have had some connection to the family.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Frisby research. Another 141 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1965 and 1929 are included under the topic Early Frisby History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Some of the Frisby family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 35 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Frisby or a variant listed above:

Frisby Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Ann Frisby, who landed in Virginia in 1633
  • Elizabeth Frisby settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Ann Frisby settled in Virginia in 1637
  • Elizabeth Frisby, who arrived in Maryland in 1649
  • Thomas Frisby, who arrived in Maryland in 1652

Frisby Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • John Frisby, who landed in America in 1765

Frisby Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Adolphus Frisby settled in New York State in 1823
  • J Frisby, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • A Frisby, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • William Frisby, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1855
  • W Frisby, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1855

Frisby Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • John Frisby arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Gratitude" in 1848


  • Edgar Frisby (1837-1927), English-born, American astronomer from Great Easton, Leicestershire
  • Leander Franklin Frisby (1825-1889), American Republican politician and lawyer from Wisconsin
  • Clare Kathleen Frisby (b. 1966), English BBC newsreader for "Look North" in West Yorkshire
  • Captain Cyril Hubert Frisby VC (1885-1961), English recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • Nick Frisby (b. 1992), Australian rugby union footballer
  • Terry Frisby, New Zealand stand up comedian, part of the New Zealand Brat Pack
  • Terence Frisby (b. 1932), English playwright and novelist, best known for his play There's A Girl In My Soup
  • Roger Harry Kilbourne Frisby QC, Recorder of the Crown Court, London, England
  • Major General Richard George Fellowes Frisby CBE, DSO, former Chief of Staff to the C-in-C Allied Forces, Europe
  • Audrey Mary Frisby, Magistrate in London, England


The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Semper fidelis
Motto Translation: Always faithful.


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  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)

Other References

  1. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  2. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  3. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  4. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  5. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  6. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  7. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  8. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  9. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  10. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  11. ...

The Frisby Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Frisby 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 28 May 2015 at 15:48.

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