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The Tim Sorby Genealogy Home Page

Updated September 15, 2013

Timothy Malin Dare Sorby
PO Box 3147
1139 Dover Ave
Ashland, OR 97520
United States
541 488-4232

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Welcome to the Tim Sorby Genealogy Home Page.
I hope you will find the following information both useful and informative.
The Origin of the Sorby name is most likely Scandinavian. In England it probably resulted from the numerous invasions by Danes and Norsemen in the North East of Britain. The ”by” is Scandinavian ending meaning place or dwelling and thus in the North East of Britain it is a common ending for towns and villages and hence surnames.
Worldwide, it appears there are two major roots for the name Sorby; Great Britain and the Scandinavian countries such as Sweden and Norway. It is very likely that the name Sorby in Britain has Scandinavian roots but enough time has passed that it would be virtually impossible to trace back and make any connection and so for all intents and purposes they can be considered independent sources.
English Sorbys probably derive their name from the word “Sour” which means wet or marshy and thus Sourby is a place or town by a marsh or something similar. There is a town of Sourby in the North East of England.
In North America, the majority of the Sorbys did not originate from Great Britain but from Norway or other Scandinavian countries. In Norway there is a town of "Sorby". I understand this means South Town.
I have come across a number of instances where individuals have adopted the name Sorby who have come from places such as Poland and have either changed or adapted their names to Sorby for ease of pronunciation or spelling. In some cases these name adaptations have been for political reasons. Norwegian Sorbys and the British Sorbys may share their name but are probably not related.
I am interested in finding out information on Sorbys in general, however I am primarily interested in Sorby’s whose ancestors originate in Britain.
Sorbys in Britain seem to have two major centers. Yorkshire England and Lanarkshire Scotland. There is also smaller pocket of Sorbys from Ireland. It is suspected that these Sorbys may have originally been Scottish Sorbys.
In general the Scottish Sorbys originally spelled their name Sorbie and seemed to be concentrated around Stonehouse, Lanarkshire in the 1700-1800's. There is a Sorbie Castle/Tower in Scotland.
The English Sorbys seem to originate and be concentrated in the Sheffield area. There are very few records of the name Sorby in the 1600s and it seems the name arose from similar names such as Sowerby, Saurby and Sorsby. Sowerby is a name that is widespread throughout Yorkshire, Cumberland and Lancashire and I have found one or two instances of Sorby arising from this root. By far and away the most common root for the Sheffield Sorbys seems to be Sorsby which evolved from Sawrsby or Sowersbye or Sawrsbye or similar and seems to have very definite connections to the Sheffield area and surrounding towns. Spellings of names before the 17h centruy varied wildly and unless you were nobility, a landowner or a merchant, records prior to the 17th and 18th century become sketchy and hard to find.

If you are a Sorby/Sorsby or possible relative visiting this page for the first time or have not contacted me before by e-mail or conventional mail please take a moment to send me an e-mail at the address shown above identifying yourself. I am endeavoring to continue the work of WH Sorby and identify and other Sorby/Sorsby pedigrees which I have called "The Sorby Project", the details of which are outlined in the Link below with the same name. The success of the project depends on your corrections additions and contributions.
If you scroll down to the reports section and click on the report labeled Internet tree: All in one tree of Timothy Malin Dare Sorby, and follow the instructions you should be able find the index which may have you or a family member already listed. (tip: Click in the box area of the applet before typing F to bring up the index).

I look forward to hearing from you,

Yours-Tim Sorby

GEDCOM Trees (viewing trees requires 4.0 or later)

  • Descendants of Jeremiah Sorsby b.abt 1745 (37 KB)
    Some of Jeremiah Sorsby's descendants adopted the Sorby spelling. They may be linked to the Robert Sawrebye pedigree but no link has as yet been established

Family Photos

  • Mary Ellen Sorby (Creswick) (71 KB)
    Mary Ellen Sorby married Alfred Creswick and they resided at Gatefield, Sheffield. The photo was taken in 1910. The Creswick family has had a long association with the Sorby family over many generations.
  • Henry Clifton Sorby (38 KB)
    This portrait of Henry Clifton Sorby hangs in the Mappin building of Sheffield University and an identical picture hangs in Cutlers Hall in Sheffield.
  • Henry Clifton Sorby (15 KB)
    Henry Clifton Sorby was a pioneer in the science of Microscopic Spectroscopy
  • Sorby Crest (18 KB)
    Sorby Crest
  • John Sorby b.1755 &son Edwin & grandson Horatio (79 KB)
    Painting of John Sorby b.1755-d.1829 and son Edwin b.1792-d.1864 and grandson Horatio b.1819-d.1907. The Painting was painted in February 1828 by John Frederick Herring the famous English horse painter. The painting was sold by the Sorby family for several thousand pounds to an unknown buyer. The painting shows a portrait of John Sorby at the age of 73 on his horse Patrick. Edwin Sorby (shown at right on foot) aged 36 and Horatio Sorby Edwin’s son aged 9 (on the white horse). The painting also shows dogs Banco and Smock. The Location depicted in the painting is not known but is most likely the grounds surrounding John’s residence at Orgreave Hall (now demolished and swallowed by the opencast Orgreave mine)
  • Fircliffe, Darley, Nr. Matlock, Derbyshire, (46 KB)
    Home of Alfred Sorby b.1800. Alfred along with his brothers John And Henry were involved with there father John's business John Sorby and Sons Edge Tool Maufacurers. Both John and Alfred moved to Darley, Nr.Matlock, Derbyshire. Henry (father of Henry Clifton Sorby the scientist and Sheffield University patron)remained in Sheffield until his death
  • Sorby Coat of Arms (45 KB)
    Sorby Coat of arms. How authentic this coat of arms is has not been verified
  • Orgreave Hall, Rotherham, watercolor painting (42 KB)
    The image is a copy of a painting of Orgreave Hall, by W. Nicholson, the family home of John Sorby b.1755 and later Richard Wilfred Sorby b.1840 his grandson. Although the artist is not known for sure, the painting is of similar style and the signatures match a William Nicholson (Registered Scottish Artist, RSA) 1781-1844. It is not known how much of a true to life depiction or idealized view the picture is or when it was commissioned. It must have been painted prior to Wilfred Richard’s tenure since Wilfred was born in 1840. It is known that Wilfred Richard’s daughter Gertrude Rowena Sorby passed the painting along to her descendants in the Waterfall family. There is an additional photo of Orgreave Hall on this website when it was used as a social club and administrative offices by the NCB. Although a listed building, it was not enough to save it and the building slipped into a poor state of repair, before it was demolished in 1993 to make way for the expansion of the Orgreave Mine and coke processing plant.
  • Cowley Hall, Darley, Nr. Matlock, Derbyshire. (55 KB)
    Cowley Hall was the home of John Sorby b.1786 and his youngest son Clement Sorby b.1822. The house was may or not have been Johns originally but from John's diary (see link) he paid Clement for lodging. John is son of John Sorby b.1755 who started John Sorby and Sons Edge Tool Manufacturers and was actively involved with the business until he moved to Darley.
  • John Sorby b. 28 June 1849 and Mary Julia De-Green (12 KB)
    John Sorby and Mary Degreen at their home in Michigan, USA Johh Sorby is descended from the John 1755 branch.-Richard 1806-John 1849. He emigrated to Michigan USA wher he married Mary Julia Degreen
  • Mineral : SORBYITE Pb19(Sb,As)20S49 (49 KB)
    Mineral : SORBYITE Pb19(Sb,As)20S49 Named for Henry Clifton Sorby, 1826-1908, an English chemist and geologist, the founder of metallography. Samples have been found at the following localities: -Taylor pit, Lot 13, Con. XIV, Huntingdon Twp., Hastings Co., Ontario (as minute loose striated metallic black crystal fragments and grains). - Candelaria, Mineral County, Nevada - Novoye, Khaidarkan, Kirgizia, former USSR -Madoc, Ontario Density : 5.52
  • Old map of Orgreave, Nr. Rotherham, Sheffield (29 KB)
    The Old map of Orgreave shows Orgreave and Rotherwood Halls in the bottom right hand corner. Since then the halls have been demolished.
  • Sheffield Map (147 KB)
    Map showing an overview of the Sheffield area in South Yorkshire, England.
  • Sheffield City Center Map (182 KB)
    Sheffield City Center Map
  • John Sorby b.1786 (103 KB)
    John Sorby b.1786 son of John Sorby b. 1755
  • Sorby Hall, Sheffield, University (45 KB)
    Tim Sorby outside "Sorby Hall" A hall of residence associated with Sheffield University, England.
  • Richard Sorby b. 1806 and his mare "Kitty" (93 KB)
    Richard Sorby of Rotherewood,(b. 4 Jul 1806-d.20 Aug 1862, and his mare “Kitty”. The picture is a copy of an 8x10 oil painting of Richard Sorby standing by his mare “Kitty” in the stable courtyard of what is presumed to be Rotherwood Hall, which was the home of Richard Sorby and his wife Margaret neé Green. Rotherwood Hall was located in the hamlet of Orgreave, Derbyshire which is just east of Sheffield, in southwest Yorkshire, and southwest of Rotherham, Derbyshire, England. Though not confirmed, Orgreave Hall appears to be in the background. Orgreave Hall was Richard’s childhood home and was the future home of his son Wilfred Richard. By 1993, both homes had been demolished with the expansion of the Orgreave Colliery. The picture is currently one of the only images of Richard, and is important since he is the common ancestor of the Michigan Sorbys and others by John, the Alberta Sorbys and others by Clara (and Bruce), the Hong Kong Sorbys and others by Frederick Leonard and others by Wilfred Richard and by marriage with Mary Ellen. Some of these “others” include Creswicks, Elcombs, Twidales and Waterfalls among others.
  • Amelia Sorbyb. 23 Dec 1816 (172 KB)
    Amelia Sorby was the daughter of John Sorby b.1786 and married James Hissey. Her Children are the only surviving members of John Sorby b.1786 branch of the family. The Sorby name thus became extinct for this branch of the family. The Hissey's posess John Sorby's family bible, entries in which provided a great deal about this branch of the family.
  • Orgreave Hall, Sheffield (65 KB)
    Orgreave Hall, Rotherham, on the outskirts of Sheffield. Orgreave Hall was the home of John Sorby b.1755 who founded John Sorby and Sons Edge Tool Manufacturers, and later his grandson Wilfred Richard Sorby b. 1840. Before it was demolished in 1993 Orgreave Hall was used as a social club and administrative offices by the NCB. Although a listed building, it was not enough to save it and it deteriorated into a poor state of repair, and eventually demolished to make way for the expansion of the Orgreave Mine and coke processing plant.
  • Amelia Sorby b. 23 Dec 1816 (304 KB)
    Amelia Sorby in a phaeton carriage
  • Vincent Sorby and Josephine Conway's wedding (62 KB)
    Vincent Sorby and Josephine Conway's wedding
  • JJ Hissey Memorial Kensal Green Sept 2002 (67 KB)
    JJ Hissey Memorial Kensal Green Sept 2002
  • The Web page Author Tim Sorby (239 KB)
    Tim Sorby was born in 1960 in Hong Kong, educated in England and now resides in Ashland Oregon, on the California Oregon border.

Family Tree Maker Reports and Trees


Related Files

  • Orgreave and Rotherwood Halls (9 KB)
    Orgreave and Rotherwood Halls were in the Sorby family at the end of the 18th Century and the beginning of the 19th Century. Since then they have both been demolished. Orgreave is now a giant open cast coal mine. What happened to Orgreave and Rotherwood Hall is a subject that needs more input. If you have any information you would like to contribute. Please send any information to Tim
  • John Sorby b.1786 Family bible edited version (445 KB)
    The edited version of the Sorby/Hissey family bible which belonged to John Sorby b.1786 helps identify individules places and animals. It is a work in progress but interesting to check out
  • The life and work of William Herbert Sorby (18 KB)
    William Herbert Sorby published his Sorby Genealogy in 1895. The genealogy refers to Sorbys who are descendants of Robert Sawrebye of Bridgehouses, Sheffield. The attached file is a tribute to his work and a brief overview of his life. If any one reading this has more information on the life of William Herbert or knowledge as to the whereabouts of his notes I would be extremely interested in being contacted. My email address is or I can be contacted at PO box 3147, Ashland, OR 97520. 541 488-4232
  • More about the JF Herring Picture of John Sorby (6 KB)
    Painting of John Sorby b.1755-d.1829 and son Edwin b.1792-d.1864 and grandson Horatio b.1819-d.1907. The Painting was signed and dated February 1828 by John Frederick Herring the famous English horse painter. The painting was originally sold by the Sorby family for several thousand pounds. The painting shows a portrait of John Sorby at the age of 73 on his horse Patrick. Edwin Sorby (shown at right on foot) aged 36 and Horatio Sorby Edwin’s son aged 9 (on the white horse).
  • Sorbie or Sorby (6 KB)
    British Sorbie/Sorbys can be divided into two groups; Those that have origins in England and those that have origins in Scotland.
  • Sorby WWI & WWII War Dead (85 KB)
    Sorby WWI & WWII War Dead
  • Transcript of WH Sorby's genealogy introduction an (82 KB)
    WH Sorby compiled a gealogy titled "Sorby" which was published in 1895 and forms the basis from which much of the trees displayed on this site was derived.
  • Entries from John Sorby b 1786 Family Bible (30 KB)
    This document is a transcription of entries from a Sorby Family Bible believed at one point to have belonged to John Sorby b 15 Jan 1786 of Cowley Hall, Darley, Nr. Matlock Derbyshire, England. The bible is now in possession of the Hissey/Henderson family. The entries, in this document, address fairly comprehensively, births deaths and marriages, of the descendants and relatives of the John Sorby (b 1786) branch of John Sorby (b 1755) and Elizabeth Swallow Part of the tree. John Sorby (b 1755) is one of the three brothers, Thomas, John and Samuel that most of the Sorby’s featured on this Web site are related to.
  • Canon Albert Ernest Sorby b.27 Jul 1859 (23 KB)
    Canon Albert Ernest Sorby was born on the 27th of July 1859 in Sheffield, So. Yorkshire, England. He was the 6th child and 3rd son of Thomas Austin Sorby and Dorothy Martha (neé Heathcote- daughter of Arthur Shepley Heathcote of Matlock, Derbyshire). Albert’s father was the grandson of Robert Sorby the founder of Robert Sorby and Sons, a successful firm of Edge Tool Manufacturers. Albert attended Cambridge and joined the Anglican clergy. He became Rector of Darfield and All Saints Church in So. Yorkshire, about 15 miles North of Sheffield and later became and Honorary Canon of the Diocese of Sheffield. The May 25th 2006 marks the 100 year anniversary of the Darfield (Ascension Day) Judgment, a legal precedent fought for by Albert E Sorby, for the right to attend religious holidays for school children. He died suddenly on the 1st of October 1934 whilst loading hay for the Harvest Festival. He is buried in the All Saint’s Churchyard in Darfield.
  • Descendants of George Sorby of Sheffield (43 KB)
    The following report is a genealogy contributed by Alex Sorby of York in 1999
  • Apology for an error (7 KB)
    2013 Apology for a serious error in the descendant tree of Thomas Sorby b.1752, relating to the erroneous family connection of Thomas Sorby baptized 1826
  • Sorby Project (10 KB)
    The purpose of the Sorby Project is to continue to identify the pedigrees of modern day Sorbys, this can only be done with your help. Plese check out this link.
  • 1856 Diary of John Sorby (b 1786) of Cowley Hall, (361 KB)
    John Sorby (b1786) son of John Sorby (b1775) and Elizabeth Swallow was born in Sheffield and worked with his father at John Sorby and Sons Edge Tool Manufacturers in Sheffield. Later on in life he moved to Darley, Nr. Matlock, Derbyshire and in 1856 wrote this diary which then became the possession of the Hissey family. A copy of the original transcription by Julia (Hissey) Henderson is posted here. This is a fascinating document and gives a glimpse into the life and going’s on of a Gentleman farmer in the late 1800’s. If you are reading this and have in your possession additional diary years or have similar historical Sorby documents that you would consider sharing, please contact Tim Sorby at

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