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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Where did the English Dabney family come from? What is the English Dabney family crest and coat of arms? When did the Dabney family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Dabney family history?

The name Dabney was brought to England in the great wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Dabney 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.


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.

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. [1] 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.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dabney research. Another 311 words (22 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 Dabney History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 67 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dabney Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


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 Dabney or a variant listed above:

Dabney Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Thomas Dabney who settled in Barbados in 1654
  • Thomas Dabney who settled in Barbados in 1660
  • Henry Dabney, who arrived in Maryland in 1666
  • Wm Dabney, who landed in Virginia in 1699

Dabney Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • John Dabney arrived in New York in 1820
  • Alice Dabney, aged 39, who landed in America, in 1892
  • G. Dabney, aged 11, who landed in America, in 1892

Dabney Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Chas. W. Dabney, aged 45, who emigrated to the United States, in 1905
  • Caroline M. Dabney, who emigrated to the United States, in 1905
  • H. Virginia Dabney, aged 24, who emigrated to the United States, in 1906
  • G.B. Dabney, aged 26, who settled in America, in 1907
  • Elise Dabney, aged 11, who emigrated to America, in 1908


  • Virginius Dabney (1901-1995), American teacher, journalist, writer, and editor awarded the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing in 1948
  • Ted Dabney, American co-founder of Syzygy and Atari Inc
  • Charles William Dabney (1855-1945), President of the University of Tennessee and the University of Cincinnati
  • Augusta Dabney (1918-2008), American actress
  • Samuel W. Dabney, American politician, U.S. Consul in Fayal, 1884
  • John Milton Dabney, American politician, Mayor of Meridian, Mississippi, 1917-21
  • G. W. Dabney, American politician, Mayor of Big Spring, Texas, 1952-55
  • Fred W. Dabney, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Missouri, 1916
  • F. W. Dabney, American politician, Mayor of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, 1893-97
  • Edwin Dabney (1876-1938), American Democrat politician, County Judge in Texas, 1906-08; Member of Oklahoma State House of Representatives, 1919-23; Oklahoma State Attorney General, 1927-30



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

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  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)

Other References

  1. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  2. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  3. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  4. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  5. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  6. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  7. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  8. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  9. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  11. ...

The Dabney Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Dabney Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 12 November 2015 at 11:15.

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