This surname is of the locational group of surnames 'of Kirby' in County Lancashire. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. During the middle ages it was customary for a man to be named after the village where he lived, or from the land that he owned. This name would identify his whole family, and would follow them wherever they moved. Early records of the name mention Godebold de Kirkebi 1121, County Suffolk, and Ketellus de Kerkebi appears in Yorkshire in the year 1191. Richard Kyrby was recorded in County Suffolk in the year 1200. Adam de Kyrkeby 1273 County Yorkshire. Johannes de Kirkeby of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. John Kerbie married Elizabeth Bendowe at St. George's Chapel, Mayfair, London in 1594. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. Since the dawn of civilisation the need to communicate has been a prime drive of all higher mankind. The more organised the social structure became, the more urgent the need to name places, objects and situations essential to the survival and existence of the social unit. From this common stem arose the requirements to identify families, tribes and individual members evolving into a pattern in evidence today. In the formation of this history, common usage of customs, trades, locations, patronymic and generic terms were often adopted as surnames. The demands of bureaucracy formally introduced by feudal lords in the 11th century, to define the boundaries and families within their fiefdoms, crystallized the need for personal identification and accountability, and surnames became in general use from this time onwards. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory.
Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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