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Our 2,768 members have registered
2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

I have traced my earliest ancestors back to 1672 in Burton Lazars ,S.E. of Melton Mowbray, many of whom are buried there. A James Digby 1672-1729 could in fact be Jacobus born19 Feb 1673 found in Toppesfield Essex with Gulielmus , Mariae , Gorge and Samuell with parents William and Mary I feel this could be him who settled in Burton. The saxon name 'Burton Saint Lazarus 'originates after Lord Roger de Mowbray's foundation of a Leper Hospital(in 1160). Building Foundations remain of the medieval Lazar House which was headquarters of the crusading order of St Lazarus in England. The hospital was disbanded in 1544 under HenryV111 with the emblem a red cross a possible origin of the organisation. It became a popular spa town to take the waters.

Variant names

Tigby or Digby was of Burton, Leicester
Desby of Gedney Hill, Holbeach
Dicbi( in the Doomsday Book 1086)
Diggeby (Pipe Rolls of 1197)

Name origin

The English surname DIGBY is of local origin derived from the locality where the bearer once lived or held land.In this instance the Parish of DIGBY in Lincolnshire is derived from the Old Norse meaning 'farm at the ditch or drain'.Records first recorded  in tthe "Registrum Antiquissimum"date back to Roger de Digby in 1160-1165  , during the reign of Henry 11 , known as the builder of churches. In 1250 the Feet of Fines for Leicestershire mention Geoffrey de Dyggeby. in 1497, the Feet of Fines for Warwickshire record one Simon Digby. An interesting name bearer, recorded in the "dictionary of National Biography" was Sir Everard DIGBY (1578-1606) a Gunpowder plot conspirator, who was converted to Catholicism at court by John Gerard in 1599 and knighted in1603. He was detailed to incite a rising in the Midlands at the time of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605, but deserted his companions when besieged in Holbeach House, Staffordshire on November 8th1605, and was executed in1606. A coat of Arms was granted to the family. As surnames in every country developed they lead to astonishing variants of the original spelling(1154-1189)

Historical occurrences of the name

Notable bearers of the name include Lord George Digby(1612-1677) an english nobleman. He became a member of Parliament,where he at first opposed the court, but afterwards joined the royal party and was expelled. He also wrote a play'Elvira'(the worst not always true)in 1677.Blazon of Arms:Azure a fleur- de- lis silver and a canton gold (Burke's Gen. Armory)p.285. Crest:an Ostrich silver holding in the beak a horseshoe  proper. Motto:Deo Non Fortuna - Through God not by Chance

Name frequency

In 1881 census Digby ranked =3371 and the count was 2215

Distribution of the name

from the 1891 census data the number of Digby families
in Essex were 217-431
in Norfolk 73-216
in Lincolnshire 73-216
other counties 1-72


Data is currently on paper copies . My Family tree is on Ancestry and Family Tree Maker.I will endeavour to compile a spreadsheet of BMD's next


 began September 2014