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The Norman Conquest of England in 1066 added many new elements to an already vibrant culture. Among these were thousands of new names. The Kerby family lived at Kirkby in Furness. The name Kirkby means village with a church.

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The surname Kerby was first found in Lancashire. One of the first recorded references to the name was John Kirkby (died 26 March 1290,) an English ecclesiastic and statesman. He acted as keeper of the great seal during the frequent absences of the chancellor, Robert Burnell, during the reign of Henry III. He was Lord Treasurer from January 1284 to his death. On 26 July 1286, he was elected Bishop of Ely, a post he held until his death.

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Kirkby, Kirby, Kerribly, Kerwick, O'Kerwick and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kerby research. Another 255 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1816, 1690, 1753, 1625, 1681, 1661, 1681, 1649, 1709, 1693, 1702, 1708, 1658 and 1703 are included under the topic Early Kerby History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Outstanding amongst the family at this time was John Kirby (1690-1753), an English land surveyor and topographer, best known for his book The Suffolk Traveller; Richard Kirkby (c.1625-1681), an English politician, from Kirkby Ireleth in Lancashire. He was a Justice of the Peace and Member of Parliament for Lancaster (1661-1681). His...

Another 51 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kerby Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Some of the Kerby family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 37 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Kerby or a variant listed above:

Kerby Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Humfrey Kerby, aged 18, arrived in Barbados in 1635
  • Richard Kerby, who landed in Virginia in 1651
  • Joseph Kerby, who landed in Virginia in 1657
  • John Kerby, who arrived in Maryland in 1661
  • George Kerby, who landed in Maryland in 1661
  • ...

Kerby Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Hanna Kerby, who arrived in Virginia in 1706
  • Henry Kerby, who landed in Virginia in 1706

Kerby Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Cornelius Kerby, aged 31, arrived in Maryland in 1812
  • Mich Kerby, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816
  • Isaiha Kerby, who landed in Texas in 1835
  • James Kerby, who arrived in America in 1847

Kerby Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Eliz Kerby, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750

Kerby Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Thomas Kerby, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1843
  • Edward Kerby, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1843

Kerby Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Mary Ann Kerby arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Dorothy" in 1849
  • Julia Kerby, aged 25, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Sea Park"
  • Mary Kerby, aged 34, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Aliquis"
  • Cornelius Kerby, aged 26, a farm labourer, arrived in South Australia in 1859 aboard the ship "Escort"
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  • Yale Leland Kerby (1925-2013), American Republican politician, Candidate in primary for Michigan State Senate 19th District, 1948; Candidate in primary for Judge, Michigan Court of Appeals 2nd District, 1974
  • William Kerby, American politician, Postmaster at Hampton, Virginia, 1794-96
  • Leland Kerby, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Texas, 2004
  • William F. "Bill" Kerby (1908-1989), American chairman and CEO of Dow Jones & Co. and publisher of The Wall Street Journal from 1966 to 1975
  • Bill Kerby (1940-1970), American screenwriter, best known for writing or co-writing the 1970s films Hooper and The Rose
  • Air Vice-Marshal Harold Spencer Kerby CB DSC AFC (1893-1963), Canadian senior Royal Air Force officer, Commander of the British Air Forces in East Africa during World War II
  • Edwin Thomas John Kerby (1885-1971), Australian politician
  • Henry Briton Kerby (1914-1971), British Conservative Member of Parliament for Arundel and Shoreham
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Citations



    Other References

    1. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    2. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
    3. 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.
    4. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
    5. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
    6. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
    7. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
    8. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
    9. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    10. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
    11. ...

    The Kerby Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Kerby 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 6 October 2015 at 15:25.

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