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

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

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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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.

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.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kerby research. Another 269 words(19 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.

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Another 187 words(13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kerby Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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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.

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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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  • Bill Kerby (1940-1970), American screenwriter, best known for writing or co-writing the 1970s films Hooper and The Rose
  • 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
  • Henry Briton Kerby (1914-1971), British Conservative Member of Parliament for Arundel and Shoreham
  • Edwin Thomas John Kerby (1885-1971), Australian politician
  • 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


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  1. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  2. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  3. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  4. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  6. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  7. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  8. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  9. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  10. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  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 26 November 2014 at 20:37.

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