Recorded as Blackby, Blackaby, Blackeby, Blackerby and possibly others, this is an English residential surname with Viking antecendents. It derives from residence at Black's Farm, as in the pre 7th century Old English 'Blak atta bi' with 'bi' being the Scandanavian word for a farm, and 'Blak' curiously meaning either 'black' or 'white'. If the meaning was black it was probably an ethnic name for a Celt, if 'white' it may have described a Norseman or Dane, since these were traditionally fair haired. It may also originate from a 'lost' medieval village called Blackeberwe' It is believed that some seven thousand British Isles surnames originate from now 'lost' locations. Richard Blackerby (1574 - 1648), the vicar of Great Thurlow in Essex, was a prominent puritan and a close supporter of Oliver Cromwell. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Simon de Blackeberwe. This was dated 1275 in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Devon, during the reign of King Edward 1st of England. He was known to history as 'The Hammer of the Scots', and reigned from 1272 to 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.