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Doubell Genealogy of South Africa

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  • Rona Joy Rossouw (c.1929 - d.)
  • George Michael Doubell (b. - 2009)
  • Cecil Andrew Doubell (1941 - d.)
    Cecil Andrew Doubell 10 Mar. 1941, Lusaka, ZambiaVoter Registration for Cecil Andrew Doubell living at 459, Wickham Road, Midlands,, Waterfalls in 1967. wife, Rosemary Elizabeth Doubell nee Johnson, bo...
  • 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. / Sharon Doubell July 2021 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
  • Prior to 1817 several companies of the Royal African Corps had been posted to the Cape Colony. Local residents there complained of the Corps' behaviour. By now recruited from foreigners as well as British Army deserters and convicts, the Corps was finally disbanded in 1821.[3]]
  • "On 25th April, 1804, the King approved of the regiment being named the Royal African Corps. This regiment was one of the several penal corps or “condemned battalions” raised about this time which were recruited from deserters and culprits from the hulks; a few [black soldiers], however, were also recruited and attached to this corps."W.Y. Baldry, Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research,Volume xiv, Number 56 (Winter 1935), pp.233-234. “The practice of legal escape from prison was readily available to British army deserters. As in the case of culprits and criminals, incarcerated deserters could ordinarily change their prison sentences for service in West Africa and the West Indies.” again, Roger Buckley, and from the same publication. when referring to both the Royal African Corps and soldiers stationed in the West Indies. []
  • Summary of a talk on The Royal African Corps at the Cape 1817-1823 given to SAMHSEC by Pat Irwin on 11 August 2020: The Royal African Corps (the RAC), which was stationed in the Cape Colony from 1817 to 1823, was an unusual regiment in its composition, functions and the way it was regarded and treated by the social and military establishment of its time. It was composed largely of what were called ‘permanent punishment men’ – men who either had criminal records or who were considered to have criminal inclinations. Information on the RAC and the men in it is hard to come by: records and source materials are almost non-existent and what does exist is widely scattered. The unit was formed in England in 1800 and, according to the custom of the time, was initially known as Fraser’s Corps of Infantry after its founder, Major John Fraser. Its ranks were composed principally of deserters, convicts, which often included culprits from the hulks, and men whose sentence of punishment, including those with life imprisonment or awaiting execution, had been commuted for services in Africa. Often men who had been sentenced to severe flogging – anything from 100 to 1 000 lashes – were given the option of joining a ‘disciplinary regiment’ such as the RAC with little or no idea of what they were letting themselves in for. As one commentator, Don Cribbs, put it, ‘Amongst these were the misfits and unfortunates who should never have been recruited; recaptured deserters, hopeless drunkards, bullies, thieves and worse.…The Army’s solution was banishment to the ‘condemned’ regiments serving overseas in the worst and most unhealthy stations, in the West Indies and West African garrisons. Here heat and boredom, coupled with even harsher discipline, made life itself a misery from which only the mosquito and the effects of drink could bring release’. The unit was also on numerous occasions disbanded, amalgamated with, or split off from other units, as well as being resurrected in various other combinations, mitigating against any sense of belonging or pride. Unless tightly controlled and kept busy, the unit was generally inclined to misbehaviour at best and criminal activity whenever the opportunity arose. It was generally not rated by John Fortescue at a very high military value. Nevertheless, at the Battle of Graham’s Town in April 1819, the unit, although outnumbered 18:1, gave a good account of itself conducting a resolute defence of the wives and children of the Khoi soldiers at the barracks of the Cape Regiment. Their officer, Lt. Cartwright, was mentioned in despatches In addition to the criminal-related factors underlying the behaviour of the men in the RAC, a further consideration regarding their daily existence needs to be taken into account i.e. the climatic conditions in West Africa where they more or less continuously served and where they were subjected to high levels of infection from tropical diseases, with a consequently high death rate – a situation which was crucial in moulding the unit, the lives of the men and their behaviour. Until then the death toll amongst those sent there from elsewhere ranged from 75-80%. By comparison, fewer than 5% of criminals sentenced to death in Britain at this time were ever executed. Generally, of those sent to West Africa, one half died in the first three months and the average duration of life did not exceed 15 months. Malaria and yellow fever accounted for 85% of all deaths collectively described as ‘fever’. In keeping with the medical knowledge of the time, the mosquito as a vector in disease transmission was not recognised and a dissipated lifestyle was thought to be a principle cause of ‘fever’. The psychology of the hopeless nature of these men’s existence was only beginning to be recognised as a factor. It is against this background, and with their reputation, described by the historian, George Theal, as ‘evil’, travelling before them, when six companies of the RAC landed at Simon’s Town in July 1817, they were decidedly unwelcome. The purpose of their being sent here was to garrison the turbulent eastern frontier of the Cape Colony where a situation of cattle raiding, counter raiding and ambushes was ‘normal’. This period from 1818 to 1819, which included the Battle of Graham’s Town, is termed the Fifth Frontier War. The Governor, Lord Charles Somerset, supported by many of the inhabitants of the Colony, had protested strenuously at their deployment to the Cape and their concerns were soon vindicated. When they disembarked at Simon’s Town there was mayhem, the RAC soldiers being responsible for, among other things, theft and assault. After this they were rapidly marched to the eastern frontier to perform guard duties, man small redoubts and posts and to carry out patrols along the Fish River border. There they remained for the rest of 1817 until 1821, when the unit was disbanded. While there, however, the unit’s tendencies to marauding and theft once again found outlet, with local farmers and burghers soon coming to regard them as more of a menace and danger to them than the raiding amaXhosa clans were. Crimes of burglary, highway robbery and murder were laid at the door of some of its men. The Military Secretary at the Cape depicted them in a letter to Army Headquarters ‘as a set of the most desperate villains and worthless thieves that ever disgraced any country in the world’. With disbandment the question arose of what to do with these generally unruly men. An attempt was made to settle some of them into a military village which was named Fredericksburg, but, due largely to bureaucracy, it was a failure. Some were drafted to other regiments, some were settled in the Cape, but many, the worst behaved, were not allowed to return to Britain and could not be set free. These were placed under tight control until they could be sent back to West Africa, where they were drafted into another penal regiment. While awaiting transport, they were put to work assisting the Royal Engineers in building the Franchhoek Mountain Pass, which is today still in use. The talk was bought to a conclusion with an analysis of the possible reasons why source material on the unit is so scarce. It ended with the suggestion that, despite what they were, these unfortunate men – in essence society’s rejects – perhaps, at least through modern lenses, deserve some degree of empathy. The full article with references and notes will appear in the forthcoming Military History Journal.
  • 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

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.'

Battler of Waterloo Research

[by Tony Leach July 2021] Michael George Doubell would have been 15, possibly 16 at the time of the battle of Waterloo in 1815. At this age, it is unlikely that he had been in the army for very long, although he could have been a drummer in an infantry regiment since around age 12.

The Waterloo Roll (a roll was compiled after the battle listing all 45 000 men present in the British army at Waterloo by regiment and rank) does not specifically list anyone by the name of Doubell, however there are several relatively close names and copies of the roll are in many places faint and hard to decipher.

The closest names are:

  • DIABBLE, George – Private in Eele’s company in the 3rd Battalion in the 95th Regiment of Foot
  • DOBBLE, William – Sergeant in Crowe’s company in the 32nd Regiment of Foot
  • DORBEL, no first name given, no rank given – in the 18th Hussars
  • DOUDLE, William – Private in Barnett’s company in the 40th Regiment of Foot
  • DUBALL, William – no rank given, 15th Hussars.

Of these the most probable appear to be DIABBLE and DORBEL, as he is either George or no first name is given.

William DOBBLE would be an older man as a sergeant, and there seems no good reason for him to be using the name William, which tends to eliminate DOUDLE and DUBALL.

If he was DORBEL in the 18th Hussars (a flashy cavalry regiment) it seems unlikely that he was old enough to have mastered the horsemanship and fighting skills to be a cavalryman (not to mention fancy uniform costs), but could have been a junior within the unit, as many assistants were required to tend horses etc.

George DIABBLE is possibly the most likely option, if he was an active soldier at Waterloo. The 95th Regiment of Foot had returned from Wellington’s Peninsula campaign in 1814 and had established depots in Kent where they recruited to make up numbers, so would have been local to Michael George. The 95th foot were an unusual regiment, wearing green uniforms and equipped with a Baker rifle instead of a musket which enabled accurate shooting. They were sharpshooters, scouts and skirmishers, with men taught to act in loose formations and even independently rather than in the controlled and orchestrated formations of the red coated other regiments of the line.

The other possibility is that Michael George Doubell was present at Waterloo not as a soldier in a regiment, but as one of the many people required to manage the baggage train of wagons and equipment that followed the army and would have been rapidly shipped across from England along with the various regiments prior to Waterloo. They probably needed people urgently and Kent would have been a good recruiting ground. Adhoc people managing the baggage train are not listed in the Waterloo Roll.

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"."


"Double Drift"

From: STRATEGIC MILITARY COLONISATION: THE CAPE EASTERN FRONTIER 1806 – 1872 file:///C:/Users/tony/Downloads/83730-Article%20Text-202831-1-10-20121210%20(3).pdf Somerset, in his dispatch on 4 September 1818,29 also urged the officer commanding on the frontier to hasten with the erection of previously recommended signal stations so that communication with the front line might be improved, depredations reported and culprits apprehended before they vanished across the Fish River. A field officer was to be stationed at Van Aardt’s on the left wing and another at one of the Kaffir Drift (sic) posts on the right wing.30

A series of outer and inner post lines were created, mostly on farms. The most northerly post was Kruger’s Farm, near Slager’s Nek (1815), followed by Somerset Farm, Prinsloo’s Farm and Roodewal (Cookhouse). Going down the Fish River and about an hour’s ride from each other were Van Aardt’s, Paul Bester’s, De Lange’s and Van der Merwe’s. Following the eastward meanders of the river were Junction Drift, Wentzel Coetzee’s or Espag’s (Carlisle Bridge), De Bruin’s, Kranz Drift, Koester’s and Hermanus Kraal (Fort Brown). It is uncertain whether Double Drift, Committees and Trompetter’s Drift were garrisoned at this time, as they were deep in the valley in dense bush. Waai Plaats and Old Kaffir (sic) Drift (Cawood’s) on the flats and Upper and Lower Kaffir (sic) Drifts on the river completed the line to the river mouth, with Lombard’s Post further west.31


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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