Show ContentsRoby History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient Strathclyde Briton name Roby is derived from the personal name Robert, which is composed of the elements hrod, meaning famous, and berht, meaning bright. 1 2

Early Origins of the Roby family

The surname Roby was first found in Stirlingshire, but we must look to Aberdeen to find one of the more interesting entries, that of Beatriux and Issobell Robie (Robye) who were listed as witches in 1597 which was not that unusual of the religious conflicts of that time. 3

Jok Robb was a voter in Monkland in 1519 and Nicholas Rob was a witness in Dumfriesshire in 1542. John Rob was a witness in Glasgow in 1551 and 1554. 3

While the name is traditionally Scottish, to the south in England early records were also found. Richard Robbe, Robe was found in the Pipe Rolls for Sussex in 1177-1178 and Richard Robbe was found in Somerset in 1212. Later, Simon Robes was listed in 1319 and Adam Robbes was listed in the Subsidy Rolls for Suffolk in 1327. 4

Early History of the Roby family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Roby research. Another 112 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1542, 1551, 1554, 1646, 1688, 1709, 1713, 1740, 1753 and 1890 are included under the topic Early Roby History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Roby Spelling Variations

Scribes in Medieval Scotland spelled names by sound rather than any set of rules, so an enormous number of spelling variations exist in names of that era. Roby has been spelled Robb, Robbie, Roby, Robe, MacRobbie, MacRobb and others.

Early Notables of the Roby family

Notable amongst the family at this time was James Robe (1688-1753), Scottish Presbyterian divine, son of Michael Robe, minister of Cumbernauld. He studied at Glasgow University, and was licensed by the presbytery of Linlithgow in 1709. In 1713...
Another 38 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Roby Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Roby Ranking

In the United States, the name Roby is the 2,899th most popular surname with an estimated 9,948 people with that name. 5

Ireland Migration of the Roby family to Ireland

Some of the Roby family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 70 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Roby migration to the United States +

The number of Strathclyde Clan families sailing for North America increased steadily as the persecution continued. In the colonies, they could find not only freedom from the iron hand of the English government, but land to settle on. The American War of Independence allowed many of these settlers to prove their independence, while some chose to go to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Scots played essential roles in the forging of both great nations. Among them:

Roby Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Samuel Roby, who settled in New England in 1630
  • Henry and Catherine Roby, who settled in Boston in 1637
  • Henry Roby, who landed in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1639 6
Roby Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Roby, who arrived in Virginia in 1719 6
Roby Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Roby, aged 47, who landed in New York in 1812 6
  • E M Roby, aged 27, who settled in America from London, in 1892
  • Mary Roby, aged 33, who immigrated to the United States from Southampton, in 1897
Roby Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Mary Roby, aged 42, who landed in America, in 1903
  • Marguerite Roby, aged 38, who settled in America from Warlington, England, in 1908
  • Willard Roby, aged 65, who immigrated to the United States, in 1911
  • Alice Roby, aged 34, who landed in America from Ashton on Tyre, England, in 1912
  • Eliza Roby, aged 49, who landed in America from Wyan, England, in 1916
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Roby migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Roby Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Roby, British convict who was convicted in Liverpool, Merseyside, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Cornwall" on 28th February 1851, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) 7

New Zealand Roby 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:

Roby Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Roby, Australian settler travelling from Sydney, Australia aboard the ship "Bristolian" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand in 1842 8

Contemporary Notables of the name Roby (post 1700) +

  • Erica Roby, American actress
  • Richard Roby (b. 1985), American professional basketball player
  • Victor Mills "Vic" Roby Jr. (1917-2011), American radio and television announcer, voice-over artist and public affairs show host
  • Douglas Fergusson Roby (1898-1992), American athlete and Olympics official
  • Courtney Eugene Roby (b. 1983), American football wide receiver
  • Martha Dubina Roby (b. 1976), the U.S. Representative for Alabama
  • Reginald Henry "Reggie" Roby (1961-2005), American college and professional football player
  • Clara Roby, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from New Mexico, 1960
  • Charles W. Roby, American Democratic Party politician, Postmaster at Portland, Oregon, 1885-89
  • Charles A. Roby, American politician, Member of New Hampshire State Senate 19th District, 1907-08
  • ... (Another 14 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

USS Arizona
  • Mr. Raymond Arthur Roby, American Seaman First Class from California, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking 9

Suggested Readings for the name Roby +

  • A Genealogical History of the Robie Family in England and America by Eva Barbara Robie Schwarting.
  • Meshack Turner III, hi Wife, Sarah Robey Tucker bu Lucille R. Maddox.

  1. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  3. Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  4. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  6. 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)
  7. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 11th March 2021). Retrieved from
  8. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  9. Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from on Facebook