This interesting surname, chiefly found in Scotland, derives from the medieval male given name Dobbe, itself a pet form of Robert, from the Old Germanic "Hrodebert", a compound of "hrod", renown, and "berht", bright, famous. The name was initially introduced into England during the reign of Edward the Confessor (1042 - 1066), but took hold after the Norman Conquest. Rodbertus, Rotbert and Robert (without surname) appear in the Domesday Book of 1086. The subsequent popularity of the name gave rise to a variety of diminutive and pet forms including: Robb, Robbie, Dobb, Dobby, Nob and Bob. The forms Dob(b)y and Dob(b)ie contain the familiar suffix "(e)y" or "ie" which, when attached to a noun or personal name, denotes smallness and expresses affection. The forename "Dobbei" was recorded in the 1212 Curia Regis Rolls of Yorkshire, and a Dobi Spendluf was noted in Peebleshire, Scotland, in 1457. The surname had emerged by the late 13th Century, however, and early examples include: Walter Dobby (Worcestershire, 1327), and Thomas Doby, burgess of Peblis (Peebles), 1471; John Dobie (Lanarkshire, 1490), and Sir Alexander Doby, a Pope's Knight (Perthshire, 1506). On April 6th 1619, William Dobby, an infant, was christened at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster, London. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name is a red shield with a silver sword in pale, hilted gold, and two crescents in chief of the second. A hand holding a scroll of paper between two branches of laurel in orle all proper, is on the Crest. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Doby, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Lincolnshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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