England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Sotheby family lived in Lincolnshire, at Sotebi, from which their name is derived. The surname Sotheby is thus, a local name, which means it derived from the name of a place where members of the family once owned land or where they may have resided.
Early Origins of the Sotheby family
Lincolnshire where Ralph of Sotby held the village and church of Sotebi from the Bishop of Bayeux. This village church is still famous for its Norman chancel arch.
Early History of the Sotheby family
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Sotheby Spelling Variations
Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Sotheby, Sothaby, Sotherby, Southerby, Southby, Southey and many more.
Early Notables of the Sotheby family (pre 1700)
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Migration of the Sotheby family to the New World and Oceana
Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Sotheby name or one of its variants: Henry and Elizabeth Southey who settled in Virginia with their children Mary and Thomas in 1623; Dan Southerby settled in Virginia in 1653; Mary Southerby settled in New England in 1755..
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