This is a famous English surname. It is locational and originates from the village of Formby in Lancashire, near the seaside town of Southport. The village is first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 in the spelling of Fornebi, from the Norse-Viking personal name "Forni" and the word "-bi" meaning a farm in Scandanavian, which is still the case today. It is not clear when the place spelling changed the middle letter from "n" to "m", but probably about the year 1400 when Middle English became the standard language. Locational surnames are usually "from" names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original village and moved elsewhere. That does not seem to be the case here. Not only is Formby a popular Lancashire surname, but several recordings show that it was popular within the village itself, which is most unsual. These early recordings include Margerie Formbie who married John Haughton at Ormskirk, on June 13th 1563, Katherine Formby who married John Speakman at Formby, in 1684, the precise date is not known, and Lawrence Formby, who married Mary Rice also at Formby, on April 20th 1762.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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