Show ContentsD'abney History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name D'abney was brought to England in the great wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The D'abney family lived in Leicestershire. The family was originally from Abene, where they held a castle, near Louvaine, Normandy, and it is from the local form of that name, D'Abene which means from Abene, that their name derives. Another important English house of the same name comes from Aubigny, Brittany. Their name is of identical local derivation. [1]

Early Origins of the D'abney family

The surname D'abney was first found in Leicestershire at Belvoir, a village and civil parish in the Melton district. Belvoir literally means "beautiful view" derived from the Old French words bel + vedeir. [2]

Another source is more specific: "Amongst the most distinguished companions in arms of the Conqueror was Robert de Todeni, a nobleman of Normandy, upon whom the victorious monarch conferred, with numerous other grants, an estate in the county of Lincoln upon the borders of Leicestershire. Here De Todeni erected a stately castle, and from the fair view it commanded, gave it the designation of Belvoir Castle, and here he established his chief abode. He died in 1088, and was succeeded by his eldest son William, who assumed the surname of Albini or Aubeney, and acquired great renown at the celebrated Battle of Tenercheby, in Normandy, where, commanding the horse, he charged the enemy with so much spirit that he determined at once the fate of the day. " [3]

It was here that William d'Aubigny (Brito) (d. after 1148), was an itinerant justice under King Henry I of England and was granted the lands where he built Belvoir Castle, which is now a restored stately home. He fought at the Battle of Tinchebray (1106) and was in favor of King Henry I. His grandson, William d'Aubigny or D'Aubeney or d'Albini, Lord of Belvoir (died 1236) was High Sheriff of Warwickshire and Leicester and High Sheriff of Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire in 1199. [1]

Wymondham or Windham in Norfolk was an early family seat. "This town derives its name from the Saxon Win Munde Ham, signifying 'a pleasant village on a mount;' and is indebted for its importance to the foundation of a priory of Black monks, at first a cell to the abbey of St. Alban's, by William d'Albini or Daubeny, in 1130." [4]

To the south in the parish of Lanteglos, Cornwall, "the manor of Polruan belonged to the Daubeny family, to whose interest it was indebted for its market, from the year 1291 to 1420; after which it passed to the Molins, and was then inherited by Lord Hungerford." [5]

Early History of the D'abney family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our D'abney research. Another 156 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1109, 1176, 1150, 1193, 1167, 1221, 1203, 1224, 1264, 1305, 1305, 1342, 1386, 1371, 1403, 1494, 1548, 1451, 1507, 1670 and 1707 are included under the topic Early D'abney History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

D'abney Spelling Variations

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Daubeney, Daveney, Dabney, Daubeny, Debney, Dalbini, Dibney, Dybney, Dobney, Daughby, Dawbeney, Dawby and many more.

Early Notables of the D'abney family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Giles Daubeny or Daubeney, 1st Baron Daubeney KG (1451-1507), an English soldier, diplomat, courtier and politician. He was "descended from the ancient Norman family of de Albini, whose ancestor Robert de Todeni came to England with the Conqueror and built Belvoir Castle...
Another 49 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early D'abney Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

D'abney Ranking

In the United States, the name D'abney is the 4,454th most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [6]

United States D'abney migration to the United States +

To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name D'abney or a variant listed above:

D'abney Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Henry Dabney, who arrived in Maryland in 1666 [7]
  • William Dabney, who landed in Virginia in 1699 [7]
D'abney Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Dabney, who arrived in New York in 1820
  • G. Dabney, aged 11, who landed in America, in 1892
  • Alice Dabney, aged 39, who landed in America, in 1892
D'abney Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Caroline M. Dabney, who immigrated to the United States, in 1905
  • Chas. W. Dabney, aged 45, who immigrated to the United States, in 1905
  • H. Virginia Dabney, aged 24, who immigrated to the United States, in 1906
  • G.B. Dabney, aged 26, who settled in America, in 1907
  • Elise Dabney, aged 11, who immigrated to America, in 1908
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies D'abney migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [8]
D'abney Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Dabney who settled in Barbados in 1654
  • Thomas Dabney, who settled in Barbados in 1660

Contemporary Notables of the name D'abney (post 1700) +

  • Samuel Frederick "Ted" Dabney Jr. (1937-2018), American electrical engineer, co-founder of Atari, Inc., one of the creators of the first successful arcade game, Pong
  • Virginius Dabney (1901-1995), American teacher, journalist, writer, and editor awarded the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing in 1948
  • Charles William Dabney (1855-1945), President of the University of Tennessee and the University of Cincinnati
  • Augusta Dabney (1918-2008), American actress
  • Thomas Ewing Dabney, American politician, U.S. Consul General in San Salvador, 1911 [9]
  • Samuel W. Dabney, American politician, U.S. Consul in Fayal, 1884 [9]
  • John Milton Dabney, American politician, Mayor of Meridian, Mississippi, 1917-21 [9]
  • G. W. Dabney, American politician, Mayor of Big Spring, Texas, 1952-55 [9]
  • Fred W. Dabney, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Missouri, 1916 [9]
  • F. W. Dabney, American politician, Mayor of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, 1893-97 [9]
  • ... (Another 3 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Fraterville mine
  • Mr. A. T. Dabney (d. 1902), American coal miner at Fraterville mine in Tennessee, on the 19th May 1902 when an explosion collapsed the mine; he died [10]

Suggested Readings for the name D'abney +

  • The Descendants of John Bass Dabney and Roxa Lewis Dabney by Alice Forbes Howland.

  1. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  4. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  6. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  7. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  9. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 12) . Retrieved from
  10. News paper article Fraterville Mine Disaster retrieved on 6th August 2021. (Retrieved from on Facebook