Show ContentsDoe History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Doe is an ancient Norman name that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Doe family lived in Somerset. This family was originally from Norman French Castle of O, and it is from the local form of this place-name, D'O, which literally translates as from O, that their surname derives. Some records show that the name was a nickname originating doe the female buck but this is highly unlikely.

Early Origins of the Doe family

The surname Doe was first found in Lancashire where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Early History of the Doe family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Doe research. Another 115 words (8 lines of text) covering the year 1272 is included under the topic Early Doe History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Doe Spelling Variations

Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Doe, Dow and others.

Early Notables of the Doe family

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was

  • John Doe

Doe Ranking

In the United States, the name Doe is the 2,117th most popular surname with an estimated 14,922 people with that name. 1 However, in France, the name Doe is ranked the 4,904th most popular surname with an estimated 1,500 - 2,000 people with that name. 2

United States Doe migration to the United States +

Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Doe or a variant listed above:

Doe Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Doe and his wife settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Thomas Doe, who settled in Virginia in 1633
  • Ralph Doe, who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Jon Doe, who arrived in Virginia in 1635 3
  • Tho Doe, aged 33, who landed in Virginia in 1635 3
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Doe Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Alice Doe, who arrived in Virginia in 1701 3
  • Daniell Doe, who arrived in Virginia in 1703 3
Doe Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • W H Doe, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 3
  • Mrs. Doe, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1860 3

Canada Doe migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Doe Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • James Doe, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749

Australia Doe migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Doe Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Simon Doe, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Planter" in 1839 4

West Indies Doe 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. 5
Doe Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Joe Doe who settled in St. Christopher (Saint Kitts) in 1635
  • Jo Doe, aged 22, who arrived in St Christopher in 1635 3
  • Mr. John Doe, (b. 1613), aged 22, British settler traveling aboard the ship "Matthew" arriving in St Christopher (Saint Kitts) in 1635 6

Contemporary Notables of the name Doe (post 1700) +

  • Major-General Jens Anderson Doe (1891-1971), American Commanding General 4th Division (1947-1949) 7
  • William Fairbank Doe (1941-2022), Australian-born gastroenterologist, Provost of the Aga Khan University and professor of medicine and Dean of the University of Birmingham Medical School, President of the Gastroenterological Society of Australia from 1989 until 1991

HMS Royal Oak
  • Sidney Percy Doe (1920-1939), British Stoker 2nd Class with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak (1939) when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking 8

  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  3. 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)
  4. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) PLANTER 1839. Retrieved from
  6. Pilgrim Ship's of 1600's (Retrieved October 4th 2021 from
  7. Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2012, January 24) Jens Doe. Retrieved from
  8. Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from on Facebook