- This interesting surname is an English locational name derived from Derby in either Derbyshire or Lancashire or from Darby in Lincolnshire. The name is in all cases derived from the Old Norse "djur" meaning a deer and "byr" meaning a farm or settlement. Derby in Derbyshire, called then Deoraby, was referred to as early as 917 A.D. in the "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle". The Domesday Book (1086) refereed to "Derbei" in Lancashire. The earliest recorded use of surname was in the mid 13th Century (see below). Another recording of the name was that of Edelota Darby in "The Hundred Rolls, Oxfordshire" (1278). The surname occurs under the variants Darby and Derby. In Hampshire, one Alice Darbye married Thomas Chandler at Brading on November 12th 1570. A famous Darby was Abraham Darby (1677 - 1717); founder of the iron-market dynasty of Coalbrookdale. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger de Derby, which was dated 1160 - 1182, Register of Antiquities, Lincolnshire, during the reign of King Henry 11, "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
Surnames reference. 2013.