Doubleday Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Doubleday Meaning
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
that Doubleday – originally Dubaldy – was a
French Huguenot name that was brought to England in the 16th century.

Doubleday Resources on

Doubleday Ancestry

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.

name was also in Nottinghamshire from an early

1544 a Marjorie Doubleday died and in her will she left the rent of a
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
Sundays) at 4 o’clock to awaken the washerwomen of the town to their

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

An early mention of a Doubleday elsewhere was Edmund
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
    Benjamin Doubleday in the early 1800’s was one of the principal
    tradesmen of the town.
    naturalist was his eldest son. He lived at
    the same time as his cousin and namesake Henry Doubleday of Coggeshall
    became a horticulturist. This Henry
    Doubleday was the author of the first catalogue of British butterflies

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
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
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.

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,
one time the largest book publisher in America,
it was sold in 1986.

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

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
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

Doubledays in the 1881 Census

County Numbers Percent
Nottinghamshire   103   16
Lincolnshire    88   14
Norfolk    79   13
London    77   12
Elsewhere   283   45
Total   630  100

The largest concentration of the name
(53) was to be found at Nottingham St. Mary in Nottinghamshire.

The Doubleday Group in Lincolnshire.  The Doubleday Group was founded by John Doubleday in
the early 1970’s and is still very much family owned, with the business
being led by the family’s third generation. John Doubleday took over
the John
Deere franchise in 1982 and the Group has become the leading John Deere
dealer in
Lincolnshire and Norfolk.  They have
grown from strength to strength – with the acquisition of Bourne
Tractors in
1988 and Evergreen Tractors in 1999.  From 2011 the trading area
of the
Doubleday Group has expanded again and now encompasses northern

Henry Doubleday, Naturalist.  
Henry and his brother Edward spent their childhood
collecting natural history specimens in Epping Forest. Before
1848, when his father died and the entire management of his business at
devolved upon him, Henry made many collecting expeditions.  After that time, he took on civic
responsibilities and both duty and inclination kept him at home.  Between 1846 and 1873, he was said to have
slept only twice away from his own house.
A brief visit to Paris in 1843 was the only occasion on which he
left England.

credit of having introduced “sugaring” to the
notice of entomologists should probably go to Henry Doubleday.  He was the author of the
first catalogue of British butterflies and moths.  His
moth collections are now held at the
Natural History Museum.

Abner Doubleday and Baseball.  Debate on baseball’s origins had raged for
decades.  To try to end the argument,
Alfred Spalding – an American sporting goods entrepreneur and sports
publisher – organized the Mills Commission to investigate the issue in 1905.

The Mills
Commission concluded two years later that Abner Doubleday had indeed
baseball in Cooperstown, New York in 1839; that he had coined the word
“baseball,” designed the diamond, indicated fielders’ positions, and
written the rules.  The principal source
for the story was one letter from elderly Abner Graves, a five-year-old
resident of Cooperstown in 1839.  Graves
never mentioned a diamond, positions or the writing of rules. Graves’
reliability as a witness was challenged because he spent his final days
in an
asylum for the criminally insane.

No written records in the decade between 1839
and 1849 have ever been found to corroborate these claims, nor could
be interviewed (he died in 1893).
Doubleday had lived in Cooperstown as a young boy, but had
already left for West Point in 1838.  Mills,
a lifelong
friend of Doubleday, never heard him ever mention baseball.

However, the
Commission found it an appealing story.
Baseball was invented in a quaint rural town without foreigners
industry, by a young man who later graduated from West Point and served
heroically in the Civil War. 

Doubleday Book Publishers.  Doubleday’s century
of publishing began in 1897
when Frank Nelson Doubleday, with remarkable confidence and a back loan
of five
thousand dollars, founded Doubleday & McClure Company in
partnership with
magazine publisher Samuel McClure.  Among
their first bestsellers was A Day’s Work
by Rudyard Kipling.  While the alliance
between Doubleday and McClure lasted only three years, a long and
friendship grew between Doubleday and Kipling, who, using Doubleday’s
“F.N.D.,” nicknamed him “effendi,” the Turkish word for

business became known as Doubleday &
Company in 1946,
by which time it was the largest publisher in
the United States – with annual sales of more than 30 million books.
Anchor Books,
in 1953, was the first line of distinguished trade paperback books in

grandson Nelson became President of the company in 1978.
Two years later he bought the local baseball
team, the New York Mets.  Eight years
later he sold Doubleday to the German conglomerate Bertelsmann for a
price reported
to be around $500 million.



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 Doubleday Numbers Today

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




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