This English surname of GOLDBY was metonymic occupational name for someone who worked in gold, a refiner, jeweller or gilder. Many of the modern family names throughout Europe reflect the profession or occupation of their forbears in the Middle Ages and derive from the position held by their ancestors in the village, noble household or religious community in which they lived and worked. The addition of their profession to their birth name made it easier to identify individual tradesmen and craftsmen. As generations passed and families moved around, so the original identifying names developed into the corrupted but simpler versions that we recognise today. It was also a nickname for someone with bright yellow hair, with reference to the colour of metal. The Old personal name persisted into the Middle Ages as a given name. The name has numerous variant spellings which include GOOLD, GOLD, GILDER, GOLDERBURG, GOLDBERGER, GOLDENFELD, GOLDLAND and GOLBY, to name but a few. Early records of the name mention Adam GOLD who was the bailiff of Montrose, 1296 and Willelmus GOLDE of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. As early as the year 1100, it was quite common for English people to give French names to their children, and the earliest instances are found among the upper classes, both the clergy and the patrician families. The Norman-French names used were generally the names most commonly used by the Normans, who had introduced them into England during the Norman Invasion of William the Conqueror in 1066. A notable member of the name was Joseph GOLDBERGER (1874-1929) the Hungarian born American physician and epidemiologist, born in Giralt. He came to the United States as a child and qualified in medicine (1895) at the Bellevue Hospital Medical College in New York City. He joined the United States Public Health Service in 1899, where he investigated the spread of a number of infectious diseases. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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