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An excerpt from archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

The name Dobbs has a rich and ancient history. It is an Anglo-Saxon name that was originally derived from Robert. Dobb was a diminutive of the name Robert in the Middle Ages; is has changed since then to the modern form Bob. [1]


Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, French and other languages became incorporated into English through the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Dobbs include Dobbs, Dobb, Dobbe, Dobbes and others.

First found in Lincolnshire where Dobbe filius Iuonis was listed there in the Assize Rolls of 1202. Dobbe le Deneby was listed in the Assize Rolls of Yorkshire in 1219 and later, Reginald, William Dobbe was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire in 1275. [2] The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed William Dobbe in Norfolka and Robert Dobes in Oxfordshire. The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 lists Johanna Dobbewf (the wife of Dob), Isabella Dobson and more. [3] In the early years the name was interchangeable with the name Robert and was very common in Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cheshire and Staffordshire. By example, "Dobbe de Witemore (1307 - Assize Rolls for Staffordshire) is identical with Robert de Whitemore (1318.) Richardus filius Dobbe was the same man as Richard Dobbe (1297.)" [2]


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dobbs research. Another 139 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1202 and 1450 are included under the topic Early Dobbs History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Dobbs Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Dobbs family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 181 words (13 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


A great wave of immigration to the New World was the result of the enormous political and religious disarray that struck England at that time. Families left for the New World in extremely large numbers. The long journey was the end of many immigrants and many more arrived sick and starving. Still, those who made it were rewarded with an opportunity far greater than they had known at home in England. These emigrant families went on to make significant contributions to these emerging colonies in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:

Dobbs Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • James Dobbs, who arrived in Virginia in 1652
  • Gerrard Dobbs, who arrived in Maryland in 1659
  • Henry Dobbs, who landed in Maryland in 1659
  • Thomas Dobbs, who landed in Maryland in 1663
  • John Dobbs, who landed in Maryland in 1665

Dobbs Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • James Dobbs settled in Maryland in 1741
  • John and Samuel Dobbs who settled in Pennsylvania about the year 1750

Dobbs Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Mrs. Dobbs, who landed in New York, NY in 1817
  • A Dobbs, who arrived in New York, NY in 1817
  • William Dobbs settled in New York in 1822
  • D. W. Dobbs settled in New Orleans La. in 1823
  • Samuel Dobbs, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1834

Dobbs Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Mr. Zacharia Dobbs U.E. who settled in Saint John, New Brunswick c. 1784

Dobbs Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • William Dobbs arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Andrew Jackson" in 1865
  • Mary Dobbs arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Andrew Jackson" in 1865
  • Abia Dobbs arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Andrew Jackson" in 1865
  • Sarah Ann Dobbs arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Andrew Jackson" in 1865


  • Mattiwilda Dobbs (1925-2015), African-American coloratura soprano, one of the first black singers to see successful career in opera, daughter of John Wesley Dobbs
  • Samuel Candler Dobbs (1868-1950), American President and Chairman of The Coca-Cola Company 1919–1922
  • John Wesley Dobbs (1882-1961), African American civic and political leader
  • Hoyt McWhorter Dobbs (1878-1954), American Methodist Bishop
  • Frank Q. Dobbs (1939-2006), American screenwriter, film director, film producer and cinematographer
  • Farrell Dobbs (1907-1983), American Trotskyist, trade unionist, politician, and historian
  • Demarcus Dobbs (b. 1987), American NFL football defensive end and tight end for the San Francisco 49ers
  • Robert Lee “Bobby” Dobbs (1922-1986), American football fullback and coach
  • Betty Jo Teeter Dobbs (1930-1994), American historian specializing in Isaac Newton's occult studies, posthumous recipient of the George Sarton Medal of the History of Science Society
  • Amanda J. Dobbs (b. 1993), American figure skater



  • Gone to Alabama: A History of the Dobbs and Gilbreath Families by Edward Johnson Ladd.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Proximi summa
Motto Translation: Nearest summit.


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  1. ^ Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges, A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8)
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)

Other References

  1. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  2. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  3. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  4. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  5. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  6. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  8. 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.
  9. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  10. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  11. ...

The Dobbs Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Dobbs 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 10 December 2015 at 10:56.

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