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2,395 study surnames with us
and a further 6,089 variant names.

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About the study

The OLBY One-Name Study

Name origin

The origin of the name is unknown, family legends hint at Huguenot ancestry; this has yet to be confirmed.

Name frequency

An uncommon suname, the 1881 Census of England, Wales and Scotland list 29 individuals with the OLBY surname, 22 of which have been verified - the remaining seven are enumerator errors. By the time of the 1901 Census there were 50 Olbys in England and Wales. The current UK population is estimated to consist of about 90 individuals.

Distribution of the name

Most, if not all, persons carrying the OLBY surname in the United Kingdom appear to be descendents of Robert Olby and Frances Overed, who were married at Blofield, NFK in 1790 and afterwards lived in Brandon, SFK. By the mid-19th century most of their descendents had migrated to Norfolk, London, Kent and Yorkshire.

From Flints to Fireplaces, recently published by Wild Oat Books, traces the history of some of the descendants of Robert Olby and Frances Overed from humble beginnings as gunflint makers in Brandon to their eventual success as builder's merchants in Ramsgate, Penge, Bognor Regis and Lewisham.


The OLBY One-Name Study webpages have:

* Vital Records: Births, Baptisms, Marriages, Deaths, and Burials, etc.
* UK Census returns 1841-1901
* UK Wills and post-1857 Probate Calendars
* UK Trade Directory Entries