Silby History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Silby family

The surname Silby was first found in North Yorkshire at Selby, a town and civil parish that dates back to the time of the Vikings as archaeological investigations in the area have revealed extensive remains, including waterlogged deposits in the core of the town dating from that time. One of the first records of the place name was in c. 1030 where it was listed as Seleby. A little more than 50 years later, it was listed as Salebi in the Domesday Book and literally meant "farmstead or village near sallow-trees" having derived from the Old English word "sele" + the Old Scandinavian word "by." [1] It is understood to be the traditional birthplace of King Henry I, fourth son of William the Conqueror, in 1068/69. It is best known for Selby Abbey, which it is claimed that when Benedict of Auxerre in 1069 saw three swans on a lake in Selby, he understood that to be a sign of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, hence the Arms of Selby Abbey has three swans. The township of Moat in Cumberland was the scene of many battles with the Scots of the north. "It more than once fell into the power of the Scots, and on one occasion was taken by David, King of Scotland, who caused the two sons of the governor, Sir Walter Selby, to be strangled." [2]

Early History of the Silby family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Silby research. Another 175 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1603 and 1667 are included under the topic Early Silby History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Silby Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Selby, Selbie and others.

Early Notables of the Silby family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Silby Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Silby migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Silby Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Robert Silby, aged 19, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [3]

New Zealand Silby 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:

Silby Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Silas Silby, aged 34, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Blairgowrie" in 1875
  • Ellen Silby, aged 35, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Blairgowrie" in 1875
  • Eliza G. Silby, aged 5, who arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand aboard the ship "Blairgowrie" in 1875
  • Miss Eva H. Silby, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Tainui" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand in December 1890 [4]


The Silby Motto +

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 sapit suprema
Motto Translation: He is always wise about the highest matters.


  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ 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)
  4. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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