The surname of BOOTHBY was a locational name 'of Boothby' the name of two parishes in Lincolnshire. In the middle ages it was customary for a man to be named after the village where he held his land: this name identified his whole family and followed him wherever he moved. It could have been his place of birth, or the name of his land-holding. These local surnames were originally preceded by a preposition such as "de", "atte", "by" or "in". The names may derive from a manor held, from working in a religious dwelling or from literally living by a wood or marsh or by a stream. Early records of the name mention Adam de Boothby who was the abbot of Peterborough in 1370. Henry Boothby was vicar of Stow-Bardolph in County Norfolk in the year 1497. Matthew Beadle and Anne Boothby were married in London in 1608, and Brooke Boothby married Susanna Bristowe at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1784.
In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another.
An eminent member of the name was Sir Robert John Graham Boothby (1900-86) the Scottish Conservative politician, born in Edinburgh. He was educated at Eton and Oxford, and in 1924 was elected MP for East Aberdeenshire. He became parliamentary secretary for Sir Winston Churchill from 1926 until 1929. From 1940-41 he was parliamentary secretary to the ministry of food, and later served in the RAF. He was raised to the peerage in 1958, and became an outstanding commentator on public affairs on radio and television. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.