The surname Turbyfill originates from the ancient French surname Turbeville. Variations of the name Turbeville include Turbyfill, Turbefill, Turleyfill, Turbefield, Troublefield, and Turbyfield. This type of surname is derived from the place where the initial bearer of the name once ruled, lived, or held significant property. This name indicates “one who came from Turbeville”, an ancient village in Normandy. The precise location of Turbeville is unknown.

Turbeville Coat of Arms
displayed in a church stain-glass window in Great Britain

John "The Planter" Turbyfill
(circa 1740)
Settled in Virginia

The latter portion of the surname (ville) is derived from the French word meaning “villa”, “place of”, or “residence”. It is common for “ville” to evolve into variations including “field” and “fill”. There are several possibilities as to the first part of the name. The Greek work for turmoil, “turbê” is a likely possibility. Another possible origin is the Germanic word for “turf” (Medieval Latin “turbariâ” or Anglo-Norman “turberie”) indicating a place where a peat bog existed. Some etymologists have even suggested the name Turbeville may be a derivative of Thor, the mythical god of thunder and war. It is difficult to know the exact meaning without researching the original location of the village Turbeville. The place name Turbeville was translated into Latin form as De Turbida Villa. The Turbeville name was brought to England during the Norman French invasion of 1066.

Records of variations from the Turbeville surname date back to the 12th century. In 1115, the name Ralph de Turbeilli was referred to in the “Liber Wintoniensis” in Hampshire, England. A few years later (1121) Robert de Turbetuula was noted in the “Ancient Charter” of Herefordshire. Hugo de Turbevilla was listed in the same document in 1123. During the reign of king Edward I, Sir Thomas Turberville (circa 1290) attempted to betray the infamous “Longshanks” into the hands of the French. Sir Thomas Turbeville was found guilty of treason and sentenced to death by hanging in London, England. A contemporary poet wrote of the event: “Turbat transquilla clam, Thomas Turbida villa” . This single event may well account for the myriad of variations in the Turbeville surname, the relative demise of the Turbeville name in England, and the subsequent emergence of the name in the New World!

Some work claims our lineage is connected to Sir Payne de Turberville.  This research indicates the family line descends from twelve Turberville knights who came from France with William the Conqueror in 1066.  If one ascribes to this this theory, our ancestors were rewarded with the Castle of Coity and  land in Glamorganshire, Wales!  This line of the Turbeville family later settled in Somerset and Dorset Counties in England.  Sir John Turbeville acquired the Bere Regis Manor, which passed on through the family to a subsequent John Turbeville who was the progenitor to Turbyfills in America.  This work asserts our line being connected to John Turbyfill and Lucy Elizabeth Johns in Virginia.

The best documented records of the Turbyfill name in America are references to “John the Planter” in Brunswick County, Virginia (circa 1740), and to his son, “John the Patriot” a Magistrate in Lincoln County, North Carolina (circa 1800).

John "The Patriot" Turbyfill, Esq.
(b. 1742)

Wilson Coleman Turbyfill
(b. 1780)
Brunswick County, VA

William Scarboro Turbyfill
(b. 1809)
Lincoln County, NC

John Quincy Adams Turbyfill
(b. 1837)
Lincoln County, NC

William Grant Turbyfill
(b. 1861)
Avery County, NC

George Decatur Turbyfill
(b. 1886)
Mitchell County, NC

Roy Lawrence Turbyfill, Sr.
(b. 1908)
Mitchell County, NC

Roy Lawrence Turbyfill, Jr.
(b. 1931)
Yancey County, NC


Copyright © 1995-2005, Keith Turbyfill.  All rights reserved.