Whitby History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Whitby arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Whitby family lived in Yorkshire, at Whitby. "This place was called by the Saxons Streanes-heale, which Bede interprets Sinus Phari, or "the bay of the lighthouse;" and in the Domesday Survey is styled Whitteby, or "the white town. It owes its origin to the foundation of a monastery here by Oswy, King of Northumbria, in fulfillment of a vow made prior to the battle of Winwidfield, in which he defeated and killed Penda, the pagan king of Mercia, who had invaded his territories in 655. " [1]

Early Origins of the Whitby family

The surname Whitby was first found in Yorkshire where they are believed to be descended from William de Percy, the most heroic of Norman nobles who held the lands of Whitby, in the East Riding of York, from 1066. He went to the first Crusade in 1096 and died at Mountjoy near Jerusalem.

Early rolls confirm Yorkshire as the first stronghold of the family as Tiece de Witebi was listed there in the Pipe Rolls of 1181. Later Thomas de Whiteby was listed in Yorkshire in 1295. [2]

Ricardus de Whiteby was listed as a Freeman of York 21-2 Edward I (during the 21st year of King Edward I's reign) and later the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 included Robertas de Whytby, smyth. [3]

As one might expect, with the close proximity to Scotland, early records include: Johannes de Whitebi, Nicholaus de Whitebi, Ranulphus de Whitebi, and Robert de Whitebi who all rendered homage at Berwick to King Edward I of England in 1291. Warin de Whiteby, burgess of Perth also rendered homage to the same king in 1296, and Henry de Wyteby held land in Waldeugate, Berwick, in 1307. [4]

Early History of the Whitby family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Whitby research. Another 102 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1291, 1585, 1619, 1307, 1639, 1614, 1629, 1638, 1726, 1655, 1642, 1644, 1652 and 1655 are included under the topic Early Whitby History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Whitby Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Whitby, Whiteby and others.

Early Notables of the Whitby family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Henry Whitby who held the lands in Berwick in 1307; Edward Whitby (died 1639), an English lawyer and politician, Member of Parliament for City of Chester (1614-1629); Daniel Whitby (1638-1726), a controversial English theologian and...
Another 42 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Whitby Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Whitby Ranking

In the United States, the name Whitby is the 16,282nd most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [5]


United States Whitby migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Whitby or a variant listed above were:

Whitby Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Richard and Daniel Whitby, who settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Richard Whitby, who arrived in Virginia in 1623 [6]
  • Kath Whitby, who landed in Virginia in 1654 [6]
  • Thomas Whitby, who arrived in Virginia in 1654 [6]
  • Kath Whitby, who settled in Virginia in 1654
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Whitby Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Whitby, who landed in America in 1802 [6]
  • James Whitby, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1808
  • Betsey Whitby, aged 39, who landed in Massachusetts in 1812 [6]

Australia Whitby migration to Australia +

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

Whitby Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William Whitby, aged 21, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Ascendant" [7]
  • James Whitby, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Bolton" in 1849 [8]
  • Edward Whitby, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Elizabeth" in 1849 [9]
  • Mr. Robert Whitby, English convict who was convicted in Guildford, Surrey, England for 7 years, transported aboard the ""Blenheim"" on 24th July 1850, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) and Norfolk Island, Australia [10]
  • Charles Whitby (aged 17) arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Eliza"
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Whitby 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:

Whitby Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • William Whitby, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1841
  • A. W. Whitby, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Phoenix" in 1860
  • Mrs. Mary Whitby, (b. 1809), aged 52, English settler, from Essex travelling from London aboard the ship "Royal Stuart" arriving in Lyttlelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 8th October 1861 [11]
  • Mr. James Whitby, (b. 1811), aged 50, English shepherd, from Essex travelling from London aboard the ship "Royal Stuart" arriving in Lyttlelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 8th October 1861 [11]
  • Miss Anna Whitby, (b. 1845), aged 16, English domestic servant, from Essex travelling from London aboard the ship "Royal Stuart" arriving in Lyttlelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 8th October 1861 [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Whitby (post 1700) +

  • William Edward "Bill" Whitby (1943-2016), American Major League Baseball pitcher who played one season for the Minnesota Twins in 1964
  • William Edward Whitby (b. 1943), American Major League Baseball pitcher who played in 1964 for the Minnesota Twins
  • Audrey Whitby (b. 1996), American teen actress and comedian, best known for the recurring role on the television comedy series The Thundermans
  • Mary Anne Theresa Whitby (1784-1850), née Symonds, an English writer, landowner, and artist who had extensive correspondence with Charles Darwin about silkworms
  • Dr Blay Whitby, English philosopher and technology ethicist at the University of Sussex
  • Thomas Brand Whitby (1813-1881), English cricketer who played for Kent in 1837
  • Joy Whitby (b. 1930), English television producer and executive
  • Mike Whitby, Baron Whitby, an English Conservative Party politician and former leader of Birmingham City Council (2004-2012)
  • Mr. John Whitby, British sheriff, held the joint position of Sheriff of Nottingham, England from 1682 to 1683
  • Mr. Richard Whitby, British sheriff, held the joint position of Sheriff of Nottingham, England from 1647 to 1648
  • ... (Another 7 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Whitby 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: Virtus vitium fugere
Motto Translation: It is virtue to shun vice


  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  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. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The ASCENDANT 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Ascendant.htm
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The BOLTON 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Bolton.htm
  9. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) ELIZABETH 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Elizabeth.htm
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/blenheim
  11. ^ 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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