Busby (Busbee) – Surname Saturday

Howell-Vincent-Busby Line
By Don Taylor

Name Origin[i]

Family Search indicates that Busby is a habitational name from Busby in North Yorkshire or possibly a habitational name in Leicestershire. According to Ancestry, it could also be a Scottish habitational name from the lands of Busby in Carmunnock (Renfrewshire).

Busbee is a variant of Busby. Other variants include Busbey, Bushby, Buzbee, & Buzby.


According to ForeBears, there are about 31,000 people with the Busby surname. Approximately 21,000 of them live in the United States. The greatest incidents of the Busby surname occur in Texas, California, and Alabama, which account for nearly a third of the Busbys in the US. Mississippi has the greatest frequency of the Busby surname (1 in 2,272). My Busby line came from Virginia and North Carolina.

My Busby Ancestors

  • 2nd Great-grandmother:  Elnora Busby – (c.1818 – bef.1900)
  • 3rd Great-grandfather: [Tentative] William Busby (c. 1800-____)[ii]

My Busbys in History

1880 – ForeBears indicates there were no Busby’s in North Carolina and only about 50 in Virginia, where Elnora was born.

1860s – Civil War – I have not found evidence that either Elnora or her husband, John Vincent, served during the Civil War. Likewise, it appears that none of her children served either, although I do need to do more research on her children.

1840 – Genealogy Bank suggests there were only 14 families in Virginia and one in North Carolina with the Busby surname.

Locations of my Busby Ancestors

Virginia – Born c. 1824, went to North Carolina before 1849.

Famous Busbys

The most famous people with the Busby surname include:

  • Matt Busby (1909-1994) – Football (Soccer) Player & Manager.
  • James Busby (1802-1871) – Governor General of New Zealand.
  • Steve Busby (1949- ) Baseball Player.

  • Busby Message Boards

A search for Busby on genealogy.com resulted in over 6,000 posts and over 8,000 messages on Ancestry Message Boards (formerly Rootsweb).[iii]

My Direct Busby Descendants

Some researchers suggest that Elnora’s father is William Busbee (1800-___). I am yet to confirm that. I’m reasonably confident that Elnora had a sister, Eliza, but I know of no people with the Busby surname/ 

Assuming Elnora’s father is William Busby, I have 147 known descendants of William in my tree: 45 Howell, 16 Boseman, and 13 Vinson/Vincents. I have previously written about three of them in nine postings.



[i] Common surname origins include:

  • Occupations (such as “Farmer”
  • Physical characteristics (such as “Short”)
  • Places or landmarks (such as “Hill”)
  • Patronymics, derived from father’s name (such as Johnson from ”son of John”).

[ii] I have not had the opportunity to personally research these individuals. As such, their names and dates are tentative and/or speculative.

[iii] Something I should review in the future.

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