Start My Family Tree Welcome to Geni, home of the world's largest family tree.
Join Geni to explore your genealogy and family history in the World's Largest Family Tree.

Doubell Genealogy of South Africa

« Back to Projects Dashboard

Project Tags

view all


  • George Michael Doubell (b. - 2009)
  • Cecil Andrew Doubell (1941 - d.)
    Cecil Andrew Doubell Born 10 Mar. 1941, Lusaka, Zambia Voter Registration for Cecil Andrew Doubell living at 459, Wickham Road, Midlands,, Waterfalls in 1967. His wife, Rosemary Elizabeth Doubell...
  • Johannes Jacobus Doubell (c.1896 - 1898)
    Johannes Jacobus Doubell Death 14 Feb 1898 Graaff Reinet, Cape Province, South Africa Male 1 Died of gastro enteritis at 17 months in residence in Railway Yard Graaf Reinett. Father MG Doubell

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 lines; research; frustrations :-) below:

Michael George Doubell 1799-1871:

  • Born in November 1799 Kent, England to Michael George & Maria Doubell. [Y-DNA R-M269] - Dies 10 September 1871 in the house of Charles Kirkman, Uitenhage at aged 71 yrs.

Obituary in The Grahamstown Journal on Monday 25th September, 1871. 'A WATERLOO VETERAN Mr. M.G. DOUBELL of Eland’s Poort, division of Uitenhage, died on the 10th inst. He was an 1820 Settler, and prior to arrival in the colony was a soldier, when he fought at Waterloo. He took up his residence in Port Elizabeth in 1826, at which time Port Elizabeth was part of the Uitenhage district. He has never resided out of the district since.'

  • x 16.9.1827 Somerset-East, South Africa Aletta Maria de Lange [mtDNA L3b3], widow of Christoffel Johannes Lombard. Born November 1802 Fort Beaufort District, Eastern Cape - 14 July 1879 House of Charles Kirkman, Uitenhage at 76 yrs. Descendent of Lijsbeth Arabus


  • b2c4d2e2f5g1 Edmund Breedt 20 July 1983, Pretoria - 06 March 2016
  • b2c4d2e2f5g2 Nadia Doubell 06 February 1986, Secunda - 07 February 1986 (premature birth)
  • b2c4d2e2f5g3 Thelma Doubell 06 February 1986, Secunda - 28 February 1986 (premature birth)
  • b2c4d2e2f5g4 Don-Henry Justin 13 April 1988, Secunda
  • b2c4d2e2f5g5 Michael David 20 November 1990, Secunda
  • b2c5d5 Henry Jones b 20 March 1892, Steytlerville -27 February 1965
  • b3c1d2e11 Andries b 11 March 1940, Pinetown - d 16 December 1997, East London
  • b3c1d2e14 Andries Gerhardus 06 July 1946, St Pauls, Moscow - d 10 January 1951
  • b3c1d2e15 Franses b 10 February 1952 gender unknown, died young
  • b3c1d6e1 Margaretha Isabella Doubell Dec 1936, Transvaal - 02 July 1939 Volks Hospital, Cape Town (Shock due to burns - after falling by accident into a bath of hot water)
  • b8c3d1 Robert Charles b 09 October 1892, Graaff-Reinet
  • b8c3d2 Thomas Charles b 27 September 1893, Graaff-Reinet - d 17 August 1955, Johannesburg
  • b8c3d3 Joseph b 10 May 1897, Graaff-Reinet - d 26 September 1965
  • Anne Elizabeth ? b 1905 - d 10 February 1973
  • b9c3d1e2f2g2h1 Logan Daniel b 09 November 2005, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • b9c3d1e2f2g2h2 Montana Jayne Doubell b 04 March 2007, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • b9c3d1e2f7g1h1 Parker Xander b 06 May 2016, Calgary, Division No. 6, Alberta, Canada
  • b9c3d1e3f4 Ronel Doubell Smith b 02 January 1967, Modimolle, Bosveld, Limpopo
  • b9c3d1e3f5 Philip b 11 September 1963 - 27 October 2017, Pretoria (Motor Cycle Acident)
  • x Grietjie ? b Pretoria
  • b9c5d5e1f1g1 Tylor b c2014
  • b9c5d5e1f1g2 Connor b c2015
  • b9c5d7 Rufus Cornelius b 05 April 1910, Uitenhage - d 23 September 1988, Uitenhage

Y-DNA R-M269 (also called R1b1a1a2)

Dion Doubell's DNA results have been populated to the Doubell ancestor on our SA tree. If his paper trail is correct, then all male Doubells in SA carry the Y chromosome R-M269 (also called R1b1a1a2) - now concentrated in Western Europe. At the moment, the ancient path of R-M269 appears to have been a migration from Western Asia via southeastern Europe. [Sharon Doubell Oct 2016]

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

In The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland

Double Variants: Doubble, Doubell, Dobell, Dobel, Doble, Duble

• Current frequencies: GB 738, Ireland 0

• GB frequency 1881: 586

• Main GB location 1881: Suffolk; Middx

English: nickname from Middle English double ‘double, copy’ (Old French dobel , dubel , doublel ), perhaps a nickname for a twin or for one who is the spitting image of a relative. Compare Gemmell.

Early bearers Richard dublel, 1115 in Winton Domesday (Hants); Robert Dub(b)le, 1191–6 in Pipe Rolls (Suffolk); Adam le Dobel, 1296 in Subsidy Rolls (Sussex); Henry Dobyl junior, 1332 in Subsidy Rolls (Ottery Saint Mary, Devon); Vincencio Dobel, 1332 in Subsidy Rolls (Tarrant Launceston, Dorset); Richard Double, 1336 in London Letter Books E (London); Robertus Dubbel, 1379 in Poll Tax (Blackham, Sussex); Philippo Dubell', 1379 in Poll Tax (Somercotes, Lincs); Ralph Double, 1392 in PROB 11 (New Shoreham, Sussex); Henry Dobill', 1440 in Feet of Fines (Wittersham, Kent); Alban Doble or Double, 1564 in PROB 11; Robert Doble, 1603 in PROB 11 (Felixstowe, Suffolk); Martha Duble, 1604 in IGI (Nedging, Suffolk).

+Doubell • Current frequencies: GB 36, Ireland 0

• GB frequency 1881: 55

• Main GB location 1881: Surrey

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.

[Using research from] Millicent Emslie:This is how I dealt with it: " Susara’s father Michael George DOUBELL, if indeed that was his real name, was a most intriguing character. DOUBELL family historians wrestle with the fascinating challenge that he may, according to oral tradition, have come to South Africa under an assumed name. He is said to have arrived under very mysterious circumstances. There are various family legends, but all agree on one aspect: Michael George DOUBELL was a criminal or prisoner, and came here, or was sent here, to evade the long arm of the law. According to one version he was in the British army and took part in an illegal boxing match, arranged by his superior officers, that resulted in the death of his opponent in the ring. As the DOUBELL menfolk were renowned for their strength, this version sounds entirely credible.His army unit was stationed at Fort Brown, and he was therefore probably one of the ranks of the dreaded Royal Africa Corps. When Lord Charles Somerset sought to restructure his defences after the British government drastically reduced the standing garrison at the Cape, he was sent two regiments of incorrigible jetsam, namely the Royal Africa Corps and the 60th Foot. They were described as an amalgam of deserters and criminals “of the worst type,” who had been offered military service as an alternative to long penal sentences. The RAC was posted on the frontier where, according to Somerset, their behaviour caused such terror that the Colonists feared the amaXhosa less than those who had been placed there for their protection. The unit was disbanded in 1821 after causing much mayhem, and some of their number were given Colonial passes and allowed to remain in South Africa. Donkin classed the vast majority as being “worthless and unmanageable people” and “congregated banditti”. [] He suggested that the only suitable domicile for them would be New South Wales. However, Michael George seems to have led an exemplary life in the Colony. [Peter Kirkman Oct 2016]

  • Research

From the 1820 Settler Geni Project: The Royal African corps was at this time under orders to return to England to be disbanded. Sir Rufane Donkin thought he could utilise the best men in it as an advanced guard of the colony, by forming a settlement with them in the lower portion of the vacant territory east of the Fish river. It was Lord Charles Somerset's intention to keep the district between the Fish and Keiskama rivers unoccupied except by soldiers, to have it constantly patrolled, and thus to prevent depredations by the Xosas and illegal intercourse between the two races. This design was now set aside by Sir Rufane Donkin, who resolved to fill a portion of it with Europeans. It had been his intention to locate the large party expected from Scotland in the valleys at the sources of the Kat river, and the ground there was surveyed for the purpose ; but the Highlanders changed their minds and remained at home, so that those beautiful and fertile valleys were still open. It was at the other end of the vacant district, however, that he now resolved to settle the discharged soldiers. At an interview with Gaika, after a short and friendly discussion that chief consented to his proposal.

On the 13th of June 1821 the acting governor entered into an agreement with Captains M. J. Sparks and R. Birch, Lieutenants A. Heddle, W. Cartwright, C. McCombie, and J. P. Sparks, Ensigns A. Matthewson, A. Chisholm, and C. Mackenzie, and Assistant-Surgeon R. Turnbull, officers of the Royal African corps, that to each of them should be granted a farm of two thousand morgen of land between the Beka and Fish rivers, free of charge for survey or title, and of quitrent for ten years, on condition that they should engage among them at least sixty men of the corps as servants and occupy the ground personally. The servants were to be provided with rations for nine months, were to receive two months' pay from the 25th of June—the date of disbandment, and each was to have a free grant of one hundred acres of ground at the end of three years' service, if he was an artificer fifty acres extra, if he should marry within three years fifty acres extra and twenty-five acres for each child. They were to be provided with arms and ammunition free of charge. No intoxicating liquor was to be sold within the settlement during the next three years, and neither men nor cattle were to cross the Beka.

On the same conditions, and with the approval of the officers, Mr. Benjamin Moodie, who brought out the Scotch mechanics in 1817, and who was then residing at Grootvadersbosch near the confluence of the Breede and Buffelsjagts rivers, and his two brothers, Donald and John Dunbar Moodie, retired lieutenants of the navy and army, who had recently arrived in the colony, were to receive farms of two thousand morgen each. A little later three brothers Crause, retired officers who were among the settlers in the Zuurveld, entered into a similar agreement.

To the non-commissioned officers of the Royal African corps who had saved some money, an offer was made of grants of land from two to four hundred acres in extent, according to their means, if they would engage a few of the men. They were to have the same privileges of rations, pay, and arms as those who took service with the officers. Six non-commissioned officers, with eighteen private soldiers as their servants, accepted this offer.

In addition to the farms to be granted, a village was laid out, in which all except the servants had plots of ground four acres in extent given to them free of charge. This village Sir Rufane Donkin named Fredericksburg, in honour of the Duke of York. The officers and seventy-eight discharged soldiers engaged as servants, together with the non-commissioned officers and their servants, at once took possession of it, and commenced to build cottages and make gardens. A military post, garrisoned by thirty-three men of the Cape corps, was established close by to protect the settlement in its infancy.

Everything went on well for a few months, but on the 26th of October the landdrost Major Jones issued a notice that as many farms as were required would be surveyed, and then the ownership would be decided by lot. The officers had already selected the ground that they desired to have, but this notice prevented all cultivation except that of the plots in the village. Time went on, and no surveyor appeared. The two months' pay promised to the soldiers was also withheld, which gave great dissatisfaction to the non-commissioned officers' parties. Further, Mr. Benjamin Moodie, who was to have been vested with magisterial authority, changed his mind and remained at Grootvadersbosch, so that there were no means of preserving order at Fredericksburg, and many of the servants were disposed to be unruly. These causes combined made the prospects of the new settlement particularly gloomy at the close of the year 1821.

For some time after the arrival of the British settlers the Kaffirs gave no trouble, but in September 1821 a daring robbery took place. Forty-eight head of cattle were driven off from Mr. Smith's location, and an English boy who was herding them was murdered. Mr. Brownlee, the missionary and government agent at the Tyumie, reported that the robbery was committed by the people of Nambili, a petty captain of Ndlambe's faction, that the cattle had been taken from the robbers by Dushane, and that the matter had been made known to Gaika. Major Jones, with one hundred and fifty infantry, a detachment of the Cape corps, and twenty mounted burghers, then entered Kaffirland to recover the cattle or make reprisals, but on arriving at Nambili's kraal found it abandoned, so he was obliged to return empty-handed. Gaika was strongly suspected of complicity with the robbers, and some time afterwards it was ascertained that several of the stolen cattle had been appropriated by him. He still professed, however, to be a friend of the colony, though it was recognised that no reliance could be placed on his word.


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

"Michael George Doubell, (if that was his real name), came to SA as a member of one of the early military units to be posted on the frontier. His unit was posted at Fort Brown, which suggests that he was probably enlisted in the dreaded Royal Africa Corps." Peter Kirkman17 Oct 2016

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.
  • Obituary in The Grahamstown Journal on Monday 25th September, 1871. Thanks to Sue Mackay for her transcriptions done in the archives in England. 'A WATERLOO VETERAN Mr. M.G. DOUBELL of Eland’s Poort, division of Uitenhage, died on the 10th inst. He was an 1820 Settler, and prior to arrival in the colony was a soldier, when he fought at Waterloo. He took up his residence in Port Elizabeth in 1826, at which time Port Elizabeth was part of the Uitenhage district. He has never resided out of the district since.'

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.


Baby Michael Doubell, appears to have been the son of Michael George Doubell, c2 - who, by accounts from his direct descendant, Kim Rose - does seem to have been the circus strongman.

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"."


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."

Jump Back to: to
South Africans' Geni Landing Site. WELKOM CUZZINS!
First port of call for South African GENi

See Also Related Geni Project Pages: