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Doubell Genealogy of South Africa

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  • Sarah Magdalena Salomina Dekiewit (c.1913 - 1934)
    Marriage Certificate
  • Albert Henry Doubell (1895 - 1918)
    DOUBELL, ALBERT HENRY Rank:Private Service No:4212 Date of Death:21/03/1918 Age:23 Regiment/Service:South African Infantry 1st Regt. Panel Reference: Panels 95-98. Memorial:POZIERES MEMOR...
  • Gerhardus Stefanus Doubell (1876 - 1950)
    Alf Doubell says of this gravestone: "I think it was the younger brother to Walter D.P. Doubell... Uncle Primus nick named .. Henry Doubell you remember Dad often aswel ouma Georgie about Hardekop Prim...
  • Walter David Pieter Doubell (1861 - 1950)
    "In Maria Doubell nee Smuts Estate Papers her husband was named as Walter David Peter Doubell, presumably a descendant or son of the Walter David Peter who was the son of Doubell progenitor Michael Geo...
  • Albert Henry James Doubell (1862 - 1930)
    Albert Henry James Doubell: died at Uitenhage 4/8/1930 aged 68. Born 1862 married Cornelia J Doubell nee Saayman b 1870 - d 18 Nov 1923 Gravestones in South Africa Eastern Cape : Ooskaap Eastern Ca...

Research into the Doubell family of South Africa, descended from Michael George Doubell and Aletta Maria de Lange. We're looking for people to add their thoughts; research; frustrations :-) below:

Michael George Doubell:


Tracking the Origins of Michael George Doubell in Kent

See Attached Maps, 1 & 2 compiled by Tony Leach, showing locations of Doubells born/christened in the UK, prior to around 1850 – (mostly 1750 to 1850). "Took the place names from the IGI Doubell list. Sproughton up in Suffolk (up North on the first map) seems the oldest known location at around mid 1600’s. Mostly they are grouped in a central area on the Sussex/Kent border, with some moving up in Surrey and London."

  • Lingfield
  • Hawhurst
  • Edenbridge
  • Hever
  • Penshurst
  • Epsom
  • Reigate
  • East Grinstead
  • Tunbridge Wells
  • Tonbridge
  • Maidstone
  • Wadhurst
  • Rolvenden
  • Rye
  • Crowhurst
  • Hellingly
  • Barcombe

Beyond Kent:

  • Chelsea
  • London
  • Marylebone
  • Walworth
  • Sproughton

Doubell Gravestone Photos from this time in Kent, Surrey, Sussex

The 'Hawkhurst Gang' Theory

Sharon Doubell notes: "My Mom had Michael George as coming from Kent from the Mormon ancestry records, and I've read about the Doubells being in the notorious Hawkhurst Gang in Kent." Felicity Sparkman in June 2003 says: 'I am also interested in Richard D. who was buried 11-8-1793 & was a member of the Hawkhurst (Kent) gang (notorious smugglers)"Chris Doubell in May 2004 replies "[I have] Richard the smuggler - details of his arrest and trial for the murder of a customs officer Thomas Carswell in 1740."



But our SA progenitor Michael George Doubell is born 50 years after the 1748/9 downfall of the gang So we still need a connection between:

our Michael George in Kent & his father, Michael George in the UK c 1770

and Richard Doubell born c 1711, & his father, Richard 'Double' in Lingfield, UK.


The 'Killed A Man in a Boxing Fight' Theory

From rootsweb archives in 2002 Millicent <> says " Hello All Doubells I'm looking for Michael George Doubell born apparantly in Kent 1799. There are various family legends as to how he came to be in South Africa: he 'jumped ship' and landed up in SA; he killed a man in an illegal boxing tournament & was sent here by his commanding officers; he was incarcerated on Robin Island & swam ashore. Whatever the circumstances, the first record of him that I can find is his marriage in Somerset East to Aletta Maria de Lange on 16 Sep 1827. His name is recorded as "George Dobell".

The fact that he was born in Kent in 1799 may have been a misunderstanding, as another ancestor of the family quite definitely was born in Kent in 1798. The family may have become muddled between the two. He may well have been in the army. He was an extremely powerful man, as were many of his descendents.

His grandon, also Michael George joined Filis' circus as a 'Strong Man' and performed at Earls Court in 1899. While in London, he married Sarah Ann Tant age 22 of 22 Pembroke Mews, London. This marriage took place on 25 Feb 1900 at St Philips, Kensington. Her father was Charles Tant. Could anyone advise me on how I could find out more information about her family? (Cautionary note about the grandson: There were 3 or 4 Michael George grandsons.)

On Ancestry, Raymond Doubell ( says "I have been given to undertstand the following. Many years ago, my mother, whose mother's maiden name was Doubell, told me that "Michael George" was the "family name". Anyway, a Michael Goerge Doubell was born in Kent in 1799 (in the version I heard) and ended up in South Africa (Fort Brown area) because of a nasty brush with the law back in the UK (the other guy died). In South Africa, "Doubell" is usually seen as an Afrikaans name, as are a few other English surnames (most notably Barnard). Apparently we are Normans and there are Doubells recorded in documents going back to the 13th century at least. We picked up our coat of arms almost exactly 400 years ago. It is a "canting" arms, the design of which is essentially a set of puns on the pronunciation of the name at the time. I have a copy on my hard drive. The name itself is Norman-French argot of the deep Middle Ages and almost certainly means exactly what it seems to mean: "double"; maybe "twin".

In May 2011, Felicity from Australia says on arootsweb message board "There was a Michael George Doubell (1799) who fled from Kent UK to Fort Brown South Africa after killing a man in a fist fight. All my doubell ancestors came originaly from Kent so there probably is a link. I have traced my lot back to around 1550."

Raymond replies: "I can confirm Felicity's account of Michael George, with this variation: the 'fist fight' to which she refers was an illegal boxing match in the armed forces. Michael George indeed settled in the Fort Brown area. He married a Dutch (nowadays we'd say Afrikaans) girl whose surname was De Lange. He became a farmer and transport rider (but didn't just about everyone who was a white settler in those days?) I'm not so sure that he was an 1820 Settler in the strictest sense, but he certainly ended up here (in S Africa) around about that time.


The 'Jumped Ship & Changed his Name from Dobell' Theory

Deserted his ship at Gibraltar & changed his name from Dobell to Doubell? -|ref Aunt Carrie's letter. [] who also has him as a farmer

Research: There were certainly Dobells in Kent at the time: [] but there are no Michaels on this list


The '1820 Settler' Theory

From Michael Doubell on rootsweb board "hi, I am a descendant of a doubell who arrived with the 1820 settlers. My late grandfather lived in standerton, Tvl,and I recall as a child back in ealy 1950s visiting his father in Steytlerville. I would assume that the settler was his father?" From Romey Doubell on rootsweb in mArch 2011 The Doubell family crest was registered to one Walter Doubell of Falmere Sussex in 1604. one Walter David Peter Doubell arrived in (Algo Bay now) Port Elizabeth,from Kent England with the 1820 Settlers.He settled in Port Elzabeth, married and his children moved in and arround Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage and Steytlerville. There was several generations (I will inform you ) and my Grandfather was Walter David Peter Doubell, I spent many holidays in Steytlerville (nick name of Steytlerville is Sakkies)my gradfather was married to Chatarina Van Staden and they had 6 six children, as follows:Eldest a boy Jones Doubell no children,Daughter Chatarina(Rina) spinster al her life, Daughter Rhoda married a Dr,Archer 3 daughters, Son Edgar 3 children one girl and 2 boys, Son Peter William (My Father, one son me, Romey Walter) Daughter Tertia married a du Pasanie 3 daughters. You will note that all the Doubell s come with the English names, such as Walter, Peter, William, Henry,Thomas,Edgar.


  • The SA settlers website has Michael George, not Walter David as a settler from Britain, but not on the 1820 Settler boat lists.
  • We have Walter David as Michael George's son, and BORN in SA in 1834.


Strongman of Fillis Circus

A Michael George Doubell, possibly son of Thomas Henry Doubell (1837 - 1909) and Caroline Elizabeth Magdalena Myburgh (1837 - 1920), performed as a Strongman in Fillis Circus in 1899 at Earls Court in England. Michael also married a Sarah Ann Tant, though the marriage does not seem to have lasted. In his marriage record, Michael is described as a Farmer, not a Circus Performer or Strongman; no evidence has yet been found that he was a part of Fillis Circus.

Other Scraps

Michael George Doubell was a Shop Keeper, according to his daughter, Sarah Johanna Doubell's 1838 baptism certificate. Source:


  • Our SA Prog doesn't have a daughter called Sarah. Perhaps this might be his sister?

Rootsweb carrieelaggan says "the Doubell family came from the Surrey area, all were Quakers. At some time their surname was Double." Ray Doubell from Southhampton says in 2003 "The daughter of my 3 times great Granfather married into the Quaker faith. She was born in Reigate Surrey, in 1817."


  • We know there were Surrey Doubells; and that there appears to have been a 'Double' father of Richard, the Hawkhurst Gang member ; but gangsters aren't usually Quakers?? Are they Quakers afterwards, I wonder? (As a result of their smuggler gang ancestors' narrow delivery from the gallows? :-)

Raymond Doubell ( says), "Apparently we are Normans and there are Doubells recorded in documents going back to the 13th century at least. We picked up our coat of arms almost exactly 400 years ago. It is a "canting" arms, the design of which is essentially a set of puns on the pronunciation of the name at the time. I have a copy on my hard drive. The name itself is Norman-French argot of the deep Middle Ages and almost certainly means exactly what it seems to mean: "double"; maybe "twin"."



A French Genealogy search

produces 23 possibles versions of the spelling, from Doubet, Doubey to Doubel:

The earliest is a baptism of the child of an Anne Doubet in 1655 at Loir-et-Cher Vendôme St-Martin

The closest spelling to our own Doubell is the death certificate of a soldier, Sabat Gaston Doubel, who ‘died for France’ in 1894, in or of Martinique


Mentions of Doubells in the rest of the world:

  • London c 1894: "Edward Henry Doubell, slide painter at the Royal Polytechnic in London, is known to have painstakingly added colours to Robert Paul films, at a rate of two or three frames per day."

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