Select Doubleday Surname Genealogy

The origin and meaning is uncertain.  Double may come from the French doubel, meaning “twin,” or Dobbel, a pet form of Robert, plus day from the Old English daege meaning "servant."  Some think that Doubleday – originally Dubaldy – was a French Huguenot name that was brought to England in the 16th century.

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Select Doubleday Ancestry

England.   The surname may have had its origin in England in that part of East Anglia that covers south Lincolnshire, north Norfolk and east Cambridgeshire.  Doubledays in Colsterwood near Lincoln date from the late 1700’s.  And Doubleday is still to be found in these parts.

The name was also in Nottinghamshire from an early time:

“In 1544 a Marjorie Doubleday died and in her will she left the rent of a small close to the sexton of St Peter’s Church in Nottingham on the condition of his ringing the bell, which she bought for the purpose, every morning (except Sundays) at 4 o’clock to awaken the washerwomen of the town to their labors.”

William Doubleday married Elizabeth Pepper in the church in 1667 and there is a vault of the family in the southeast corner of the church tower.  In the 1740’s a Squire Doubleday was recorded at Southwell; and there were Doubleday butchers in Nottingham for several generations in the 19th century.  The largest number of Doubledays has in fact been in Nottinghamshire, according to the 1881 census.

An early mention of a Doubleday elsewhere was Edmund Doubleday, a London dignitary partially responsible for the capture of Guy Fawkes during the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

There were two prominent Doubleday Quaker families:
  • One was in the northeast in Northumberland.  John Doubleday was the owner of Alnwick Abbey in the 1720’s which he used to promote Quakerism.  His son John married into the Quaker Barclay family. 
  • Another was in the southeast and Epping in Essex where Benjamin Doubleday in the early 1800's was one of the principal tradesmen of the town.  Henry Doubleday the naturalist was his eldest son.  He lived at the same time as his cousin and namesake Henry Doubleday of Coggeshall who became a horticulturist.  This Henry Doubleday was the author of the first catalogue of British butterflies and moths.
America.  Roger Doubleday left London for Boston in the 1670’s and was the forebear, via his son Elisha and grandson Abner, of Congressman Ulysses Doubleday, a New York Congressman, and his sons Abner and Thomas.  The family line was covered in Margaret Curfman and Stephen Rockstroth’s 1993 book Doubleday Families in America.

Abner Doubleday was a Union general during the Civil War who is often mistakenly credited with inventing the game of baseball.  His brother Thomas ran a well-known bookshop, TD Doubleday, on Wall Street.  Thomas died in 1863 after being run over by a bus in New York.

Another line from Elisha Doubleday led to William Doubleday, a 19th century Brooklyn hatter, and his son Frank. Frank Doubleday founded the Doubleday book publishing company in 1897.  Frank's son Nelson and grandson Nelson Jr. both ran the company, at one time the largest book publisher in America, until it was sold in 1986. 

A more recent Frank Doubleday is an actor who has made his name playing villains on the screen.

Canada.  A Doubleday family from Southwell in Nottinghamshire emigrated to Canada in 1884.  Percival Doubleday settled in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Two of his sons started a trucking company there, Doubleday’s Transfer, in the 1920's.

Australia.  Bligh Doubleday was transported from Norfolk to Australia on the Sarah 1 in 1829.  He married Mary Dowd in Sydney four years later.

Select Doubleday Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

Select Doubleday Names

Abner Doubleday was a Union general during the Civil War mistakenly credited with inventing the game of baseball.
Frank Nelson Doubleday founded the Doubleday book publishing company in 1897.

Select Doubledays Today
  • 700 in the UK (most numerous in Nottinghamshire)
  • 500 in America (most numerous in New York) 
  • 200 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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