Is your Surname registered?

Our 2,744 members have registered
2,397 study surnames with us
and a further 6,089 variant names.

4,462 total views, 1 views today



Sue Mastel

About the study

The Appleby Research Organisation (ARO) was set up in 1991 by Peter Talbot-Ashby. In 2013, due to failing health, Peter passed over the management of the project to three members of the Appleby Research Organisation. We are currently working together to ensure that the Appleby one-name study continues to support our 200 plus members around the world.

Variant names

In early parish records and manorial documents the surname was spelled in a wide variety of ways (APELBI, APULBE, APPILBE etc) - but by the 19th century the majority of holders spelled their surname APPLEBY. The main variant is APPLEBEE, but there are also a small number of families that have retained the alternative variant of APPELBE(E) - many of these families now live in Australia.

Name origin

APPLEBY is almost certainly a locational surname. Possible sources include:
  • 1. Appleby-in-Westmorland,
  • 2. Appleby Magna and Appleby Parva in the Midlands,
  • 3. Appleby in Lincolnshire

and two small villages in North Yorkshire:

  • 4. Uppleby by Easingwold and
  • 5. Eppleby near Richmond.
However as well as known place-names, it is possible that early holders of the surname acquired it because they lived or came from a farm or hamlet where apples were grown.  This could account for the early origins of clusters of families located in the south-west (particularly Somerset) and the South East of England.

Historical occurrences of the name

Some notable Applebys:
* Henry de Appleby, rector of Bolton-juxta-Bowland 1367
* John de Appleby, instituted as vicar of Tilney, Norfolk, England in 1372
* Sir Edmund de Appleby who died in 1375. He fought at the Batle of Crecy in France with King Edward III
* William Ivers Appleby 1811-1870 Journalist and pioneer on a Mormon Wagon Train to Utah.
* James Appleby, 1824-1835 who died aged 11 along with 75 boys in the Walsend Colliery Disaster.
* Thomas A. Appleby 1843-1925 Veteran of the American Civil War
* Stuart Appleby The Australian World Class golfer.

Name frequency

In Great Britain, Public Profiler gbnames, estimates that in 1998 there were 7,157 holders of the APPLEBY surname (192 per million names) and 189 holders of the APPLEBEE surname (5 per million names). There were too few holders of the APPELBE/BEE spelling to be included in their analysis.

According to World Names Profiler, the Frequency per million (FPM) for the two main variants were as follows:

United Kingdom           170.41 4.18
Australia 127.89 23.17
Canada 121.95 5.73
New Zealand 77.24 1.76
Ireland 27.43 -
United States 25.29 5.9


Distribution of the name

In the 1881 census of England and Wales, there were 5054 individuals carrying the surname APPLEBY or close variants, 346 carrying the surname APPLEBEE or close variants, and 72 carrying the surname APPELBY or close variants.

The above distribution maps (created using Archer software's 'Surname Atlas') show the clear distinction between the origins of the Appleby spelling mainly in the north of England and the Applebee spelling in Somerset and London/SE.  The third map reflects the much smaller number of surnames which were probably pronounced Appelbe/bee/bie.  Many of the holders of this last group of the surname are now found in Australia.

As a result of migration to the New World, APPLEBYs and APPLEBEEs are now found in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States.


In addition to core records such as GRO Births, Marriages and Deaths, and Census Returns, we have collected a growing number of Parish Register entries, Passenger Records, Wills and Probate records, Military and Criminal records as well as pedigrees and research material submitted by our members and friends. 
Over the past few years, we have been working on reconstructing Appleby trees and currently have details of over 80 reconstructed Appleby lines featured on our Appleby ONS and DNA Project website. 


In 2010, we established the APPLEBY DNA PROJECT at Family Tree DNA of Houston, Texas, USA and we welcome additional male Appleby descendants to represent their line of Applebys by participating in our yDNA project.
The Y-DNA test tells you about your paternal ancestry, which would be your father, his father and back in time through the direct male line.  You must be a male to take this test, and you should have one of the surnames shown above. In the past year, we have also started to accept Family Finder autosomal DNA testers in our Appleby surname project.  
Our DNA Project has successfully demonstrated connections between a number of different Appleby lines - with clusters in the North East of England, around Essex and in the Midlands.  We have also been able to connect lines in the USA and Australia with their English roots.  As more volunteers come forward to participate in this project, we hope to build a clearer picture of the origins of many more Appleby lines. 
Further information about the most recent results of our DNA Project is available here, please contact Sue using the contact details below if you are interested in joining our project.