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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


The surname Quimby was first found in Leicestershire where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor. After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, having prevailed over King Harold, granted most of Britain to his many victorious Barons. It was not uncommon to find a Baron, or a Bishop, with 60 or more Lordships scattered throughout the country. These he gave to his sons, nephews and other junior lines of his family and they became known as under-tenants. They adopted the Norman system of surnames which identified the under-tenant with his holdings so as to distinguish him from the senior stem of the family. After many rebellious wars between his Barons, Duke William, commissioned a census of all England to determine in 1086, settling once and for all, who held which land. He called the census the Domesday Book, [1] indicating that those holders registered would hold the land until the end of time. Hence, conjecturally, the surname is descended from the tenant of the lands of Quenby, held by Richard from Robert de Tosny or Tonei, the chief tenant, who was recorded in the Domesday Book census of 1086.

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Quimby are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Quimby include Quenby, Quinby, Quimby, Quemby, Quynby, Querenby, Quarmby, Quesenberry, Quisenberry, Quisnby, Quesnby, Quymby and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Quimby research. Another 202 words (14 lines of text) covering the year 1934 is included under the topic Early Quimby History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Quimby, or a variant listed above:

Quimby Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Robert Quimby, who landed in New England in 1663

Quimby Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Manuel Quimby, who came to New York in 1761

Quimby Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • John B. Quimby, who settled in Vermont in 1848
  • G Quimby, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • R Quimby, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851


  • William R. "Bill" Quimby (b. 1936), American author and retired columnist, editor and publisher
  • Robert Quimby (b. 1976), American astronomer
  • Arthur R. "Art" Quimby (1933-2010), American college basketball standout
  • Harriet Quimby (1875-1912), early American aviator and a movie screenwriter
  • Frederick Clinton "Fred" Quimby (1886-1965), American seven-time Academy Award winning animator, best known as the producer of Tom and Jerry cartoons
  • Phineas Parkhurst Quimby (1802-1866), American mental healer, born in Lebanon, New Hampshire
  • Edith H Quimby (1891-1982), American pioneer in the field of radiology


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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. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  2. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  3. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  5. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  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. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  8. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  9. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  11. ...

The Quimby Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Quimby 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 1 December 2014 at 22:01.

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