Search billions of records on



General Info
Family Tree

Contact Me


Origin of the ELLERBY Name

The origin of ELLERBY as a place name is Scandinavian. It comes from "Aelfweard's farm", and over the years it transformed - "Aulerdebi", "Ewardeby", "Elwardby," "Elerdebey". The Normans brought the ELLERBY name to northeastern England, and several villages in Yorkshire still carry the name.


In England, the ELLERBY name was originally found in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. The name apparently spread west into Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Cheshire and Lancashire, especially during the late 1800s. In the 1100s the ELLERBEE spelling was common in Yorkshire, but this spelling had ceased to be used in England by the 1700s. In the western counties such as Lancashire and Cheshire, the ELLABY spelling, rather than ELLERBY, is now common.

In the USA, the name appears to have mainly come from England with one or more early colonial settlers who settled and spread into the southeastern coastal states. Since these southern states allowed slave ownership until the Civil War in the 1860s, the name also spread to the African-American population. ELLERBE, ELLERBEE, ELEBY, and ELLERBY are among the most common variations of the name, with the ELEBY spelling appearing to be exclusively African-American. The ELLIBEE family appears to be a branch of the southern ELLERBE(E) family who moved to Indiana and Ohio in the early 1800s. For more information on the ELLERBEE/ELLERBE/ELLIBEE and related families in the USA, see the book, The Ellerbe Family History by Ronald William Ellerbe (Baltimore: Gateway Press, Inc., 1986). Unfortunately, the book is now out of print, but it is available in the major genealogy libraries in the USA. With just a couple of exceptions, all of the ELLABYs in the USA belong to a single family, of which I am a descendant. This ELLABY family arrived in the USA from England circa 1830, settling in the Louisville, Kentucky area by 1834.

ELLERBY is the most common spelling in Canada. There appear to be more than one line of the name in Canada, due to several separate families emigrating from England at different times from the 1830s and later.

While rare, a few ELLERBYs and ELLABYs are also found in Australia, and New Zealand. I do not have much family information as yet on the name in these locations. As in England, the ELLERBY spelling is found more frequently than ELLABY.

And, naturally, the ELLERBY surname is found in Scandanavia. I have not done much research on the name is this area of the world as yet, so I have little information on spelling variations in the Scandanavian countries. ALLERBY and ELLEBY are two common spellings I have come across in American immigration records, while ELLEBY and ELLEBYE appear to be the official spellings in Denmark.

ELLERBY One-Name Project

I am collecting information on the ELLERBY, ELLABY, ELEBY, ELLERBEE, etc. families worldwide, and I now have about 10,000 individuals in my database. Please feel free to inquire if I have information on your ancestors. If you would like to share your family data with me, I'd be pleased to put you in contact with anyone else I come across researching the same line!


The information on the origins of the ELLERBY name came from information shared with me by Conrad Plowman of England, and from information posted to the Ellerbee Family Genealogy Forum. Alison Fernandes provided data on the frequency of ELLABY and ELLERBY in Australia.

Dividers courtesy of

Last updated Friday, 08-Aug-2008 20:31:09 MDT

The information on these pages has been developed by the efforts of a number of researchers who, jointly, have spent untold hours on compiling the data presented here. In respect of these efforts, the information on this website may not be reproduced in any format for commercial profit, and may not be published elsewhere in any format without permission from the author(s). All rights reserved.