Dover History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Dover is of Anglo-Saxon origin and came from when the family lived beside a small stream that emptied into a harbour. The surname Dover originally derived from the Old English word Dofre.

Early Origins of the Dover family

The surname Dover was first found in Dover, a town and major ferry port in the county of Kent. The surrounding chalk cliffs have become known as the White Cliffs of Dover are known worldwide and the subject of the famous Vera Lynn wartime song so named. During the war, the cliffs were the last sight of mainland seen and then the first mainland seen by most of the returning soldiers. However, the town has a long history in its own right that dates back to at least the 4th century when it was first listed as Dubris [1] or Portus Dubris. By the Domesday Book of 1086, the local was known as Dovere [2] and derives its name from the stream there now called Dour. [1]

Today Dover Castle in Kent survives as a major tourist attraction attracting over 350,000 people annually. Beginnings of the present structure were founded in the 11th century. It has been a defensive stronghold through the centuries including through World War I and II. As the largest castle in England, it has a unique vantage point overlooking the harbour below. The Roman lighthouse at Dover Castle attests to the importance of the position since ancient days.

Early History of the Dover family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dover research. Another 79 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1575, 1641, 1612, 1852, 1965, 1660, 1742 and 1720 are included under the topic Early Dover History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dover Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Dover are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. The variations of the name Dover include: Dover, Dovar, Dovir and others.

Early Notables of the Dover family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Sir Henry Dover of Bradenham Hall; and Robert Dover (1575-1641), English captain and attorney, known as the founder of the Cotswold Olimpick (Olympic) Games. He founded his annual Games held in the Cotwsold hills above Chipping Campden in about 1612, and presided over them for forty years. Revived after the Restoration, the Games continued until 1852, and were again revived in 1965.[3] Thomas Dover, M.D. (1660-1742), sometimes referred to as "Doctor Quicksilver", was an English physician. He developed his eponymous "Dover's powder" that was used as a treatment...
Another 95 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dover Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Dover migration to the United States +

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Dover or a variant listed above:

Dover Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Mary Dover who settled in Nantasket in 1630
  • Pm Dover, who landed in Virginia in 1649 [4]
  • Timothy Dover, who settled in Virginia in 1651
  • Timo Dover, who landed in Virginia in 1651 [4]
  • Edward Dover, who landed in Virginia in 1666 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Dover Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Anne Dover, who settled in New England in 1764
Dover Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Francis Dover, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1823
  • Patrick Dover, who landed in Mississippi in 1855 [4]
Dover Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Max Dover, who landed in Mississippi in 1900 [4]

Australia Dover migration to Australia +

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

Dover Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • John Dover, English convict from Northampton, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on April 1st, 1822, settling in New South Wales, Australia [5]
  • William Dover, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Mariner" in 1847 [6]
  • Mary Dover, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Mariner" in 1847 [6]
  • Samuel Dover, English convict from Norfolk, who was transported aboard the "Adelaide" on August 08, 1849, settling in Van Diemen's Land and Port Phillip, Australia [7]

New Zealand Dover migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Dover Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. W, Dover, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Northfleet" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand, Via Wellington and Lyttleton in February 1854 [8]

Contemporary Notables of the name Dover (post 1700) +

  • Walter Dover, American politician, Candidate for New York State Assembly from Orange County 2nd District, 1923
  • Ed Dover, American politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Oregon 5th District, 1998
  • Beatrice Dover, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Michigan, 1960
  • Connie Dover, American Celtic music and folk music singer-songwriter
  • Robert Dover (b. 1956), American five-time Olympic equestrian rider
  • Kieran Dover, English-born, Australian semi-professional footballer
  • Mildred Alice Dover (b. 1941), Canadian former educator and politician, 27th Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island (2000-2003)
  • Gabriel A. Dover, British geneticist, best known for developing the term molecular drive in 1982
  • Densmore Ronald "Den" Dover (b. 1938), British politician, member of the U.K. Parliament for Chorley (1979-1997)
  • John Dover (1824-1881), British Instrument Maker
  • ... (Another 1 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1822 with 190 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1822
  6. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) MARINER 1847. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1847Mariner.htm
  7. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 17) Adelaide voyage to Van Diemen's Land and Port Phillip, Australia in 1849 with 303 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/adelaide/1849
  8. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html


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