SURNAMES as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. They were not in use in England or in Scotland before the Norman Conquest, and were first found in the Domesday Book. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. It was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) it became general practice amongst all people. HARNBY was of the locational group of surnames 'the dweller at the high-burg' the Roman fort on a hillside or mountain, from residence therein. The name was derived from the Old English word 'Hiarni's by'. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land and indicated where he actually lived. History researchers have examined reproductions of such manuscripts as the Domesday Book (1086) The Ragman Rolls (1291-1296) The Pipe Rolls , Parish Registers and Tax records to glean their information. Early records of the name mention HERNEBI (without surname) who was listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book in 1086, County Yorkshire. HARMBUR (without surname ) was documented in 1251 in County Cheshire. The name was familiar to the North Riding of Yorkshire. 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 flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.
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