D'Aubin/Dobbin/Dobbyn/Dobbins/Dobyns Family History


This background of the Dobbin family is intended for those of you who are either direct Dobbins, or have found Dobbin blood in your background and require this sort of background knowledge in order to work out where you should be searching for your own origins. Parts of this are definitely intended as a rough guide only.........particularly those regarding specific spellings and the locations of those spellings! Also, I must stress that a lot of this information has merely been regurgitated from other sources......I’m no historian! Generally speaking, all the different information you'll find here and there on the internet has little pieces of truth strewn throughout. When you see the whole story tied together, you'll understand what I mean.

This story begins with the nephew of King Rollo of Norway. I’m pretty sure I know what his surname was, but I don’t want to put into the public arena just yet because I have no actual way of checking whether it is correct or not at this time. This guy (well, his offspring, considering the generation gap) were amongst the Norsemen who went south and "obtained" (that's a story that you can read about elsewhere) a rather large part of coastal France which became Normandy. A couple of generations later, the offspring of these (what we now call) Normans came over to England with William the Conqueror in 1066 (we all know that story too). This is where the story goes two ways. One theory is that all of the derivatives of Dobbin came from the offspring of a Norman Knight (and family) who settled in St Aubin’s on Jersey- one of England’s channel islands, and therefore took the name D’Aubin- french for “from Aubin”- and then continued on throughout the region creating lots of little Dobbins’ here there and everywhere. This is where I disagree. For this train of thought to be correct, there would have to be a record of what the name was before all this took place…..which there isn’t. But more on this later. All the names of the knights who came over to England during the invasion are known; and, rather curiously, there’s a knight by the name of D’Aubenon, D’Aubigne and some others by the name of D’Aubigny. Coincidence? Not a chance!! The D’Aubenon, D’Aubigne and D’Aubigny families all originate from Aubin in Normandy (hence the name), and, back in Normandy are actually the same family! My personal belief is that the D’Aubenon spelling is actually an incorrect pronunciation or some sort of spelling error, because the name doesn’t pop up often at all. D’Aubigny/D’Aubigne however, is extremely prominent, with one of the D’Aubigny daughters marrying into William the Conqueror’s family! I firmly believe that the town of St Aubin’s on Jersey was named after the D’Aubigny family- as opposed to the D’Aubin family being named after the town on Jersey.

But anyway, back to the story. After Jersey, one D’Aubin (D’Aubigny/D’Aubigne! Remember- surnames were recorded/written however they sounded!), named Reginald, was part of the Norman conquest of South Eastern Ireland in the late 1100’s. This has been well documented elsewhere. The Dobbyn’s of Waterford/Kilkenny are descendants of this man. A few years later, a Norman Knight travelling with Hugh DeLacy invaded Northern Ireland at Carrickfergus. Guess what? His name was Reginald D’Aubin too. The Dobbin’s of Antrim are descendants of this man. Are the two Reg’s the same guy? I believe so. But I also believe that whether they are or not is fairly irrelevant. Surely we can all think of people we know who are first cousins with the same name! It’s actually a (sporadic) tradition within my own family, but to prevent total confusion you’ll find that when this sort of thing occurs (particularly in Irish families) the child will often have the mother’s maiden name as a middle name. It’s also not far from Waterford to Carrickfergus either (by my standards at least), and the dates certainly don’t clash!
By the way, before I continue, the question has (very recently) been raised in regards to the ability of one man (Reginald D’Aubin) being “competent” enough as a breeder to be able to account for the amount of Dobbin/Dobbyn etc. Firstly let me just say that I have never been under the impression that we are large/numerous family/surname- there seems to only be a few thousand worldwide to this day! Secondly, at the turn of the 12th century there was literally no more than a handful of D’Aubins throughout the British Isles. I also must point out that I am not actually claiming that all Dobbin/Dobbyn’s etc have spawned from the same man- just the Irish ones. Another thing which must be consider is this- during medieval times (and today I guess), the amount of land, possessions, buildings etc directly reflected upon your status within society. So if you were just “some guy” from the town of St Aubins on Jersey who managed to hold a sword without getting killed, then chances are you just went back to work in the fields after the blood letting ceased right? Not so for old Reggie!! The Reginald who landed with Strongbow in Waterford ended up having his own tower! After that, the Reginald who ended up in Carrickfergus (whether it be the same man or not) ended up having not only his own tower, but was given all the lands within the castle’s outer (or town) walls, with his tower being the gate house of the outer wall. Incidently, this structure remained within the family in one form or another up until a couple of decades ago- and still stands as the Dobbins Inn Hotel, Carrickfergus. This man sounds more like the descendant of kings…….rather than a pauper with a mail shirt and a sword. As far as I am concerned this all rules out the possibility of the D’Aubin origins laying in St Aubin’s on Jersey. But you need to make up your own minds!

Something of enormous importance to our origins is our coat of arms, or perhaps the different types. While the family was still in Normandy the coat of arms was all dark blue with three silver diamonds stacked on top of each other. However, once the family came to England (then Jersey) the coat of arms changed to the more commonly known arms displaying the red curved middle (I’m unfamiliar with the terminology) over a black and white chequered background. Over the top of the red section rests five stars and a crescent moon. Why did the change come about? Simple really- the coat of arms didn’t change because of the change of country, it changed during the same time the Knights Templar were founded. Anybody who has researched the Knights Templar at all will tell you that the red and white colouration is always a good indication and that the black and white chequers are an absolute certainty of your Templar connections. As much as I am not the slightest bit proud of this connection-
a) you must go where the evidence takes you,
b) history can’t be changed,
c) it adds more weight to the “D’Aubigny versus St Aubin’s” argument- ie: you can’t be Knights Templar if you’re just an average knight with a sword from some little town on Jersey! You have to be connected.

Generally speaking, there tends to be a huge gap of information between the 12th and 17th centuries for all families in the “UK” (I use the term UK loosely), not just Dobbins and their derivatives. As a result of the English (and various other monarchies throughout Europe at the same time) destroying pretty much all family records other than direct royal lineage throughout their entire empire during the 16th and 17th centuries (you have the destruction by fire of a tremendous amount of Irish written history at a time when this written history was under English control, and the confiscation of Scottish written history by the English who transported these Scottish records back to England via sea instead of land- only to have these boats “mysteriously” sink! All of this documented is elsewhere.), we must rely on coats of arms for directions more than we would like.

a) The D’Aubins of Jersey have the Templar coat of arms mentioned above.
b) The Dobbyn’s of County Waterford/County Kilkenny descend from a D’Aubin who hailed from Jersey. However, these Dobbyn’s of the south created there own coat of arms- perhaps to cement the idea that they were now Irish as opposed to being Norse? The Normans well and truly lost their political grip on the South of Ireland long before they lost it on the North. Perhaps they didn’t want to be Templars. (I don’t blame them……..) Their arms became three golden harps on a light blue background……I no longer remember the significance of these arms, but it runs something like the light blue symbolising their “Irishness”, with the golden harps referring to their loyalty to Ireland. Think twice before quoting me on it though!!
c) The Dobbin’s of County Antrim have the Templar coat of arms
d) The Dobbin’s of County Armagh (who came from County Antrim via County Down) have the Templar coat of arms. (the line I actually hail from)
e) The Dobbin’s of Cappagh (who seem to have had some sort of affiliation with the Armagh branch at one time- documented in Burke’s Gentry) created their own arms- a light blue shield with a diagonal yellow stripe and three yellow circles. Again- the blue and yellow theme…..
f) To the best of my knowledge all English and Scottish Dobbin’s (and derivatives) have the Templar coat of arms.
g) Regardless of the coat of arms itself, to my knowledge all derivatives of Dobbin have the same motto assigned to their arms- Re E Merito (this through merit). Coincidence??? Not likely.
Interestingly, any and all changes to D’Aubin coat of arms’ seem to coincide with the formation and the later disbanding of the Knights Templar. With the Pope ordering the destruction of the Knights Templar, and with the French being the first to carry it out, perhaps this is when the Southern Irish D’Aubin’s switched arms? The dates do coincide. However, many of the Templars who were not killed fled to either English lands, or to the German provinces located just north of the French border, as England and Germany proved extremely reluctant in carrying out the purge in their own countries (parts of Germany never even bothered). When the English finally did carry out the purge, the Templars of England (the remnants of the French and Spanish Templars amongst them) fled to guess where?? The western coast of Scotland! Mostly the old kingdom of Dalriada which is located on the North-western tip of Scotland, but generally speaking, across the length of the Scottish coastline. This is how they were able to travel freely to the USA during the 13th and 14th centuries. By the way, if you think Columbus was the first white guy to set foot in North America…..then you really need to get out more! There is evidence which backs up the story that it was an army of Knights Templar who showed up midway through the battle of Bannockburn, Scotland, fought between King Edward’s English army, and Robert (the Bruce) the Second’s army. The story goes that the Scottish army was severely outnumbered and basically getting their butt kicked when suddenly an “anonymous” army on horseback arrived from the north, causing the English army to run for their lives!! They didn’t tell the story that way in the movie “Braveheart” did they?? Haha. I realise that I may seem to have wandered away from D’Aubin history a little here, but a strong Templar presence in the region of western Scotland (remember, you can easily see Scotland from County Antrim, Ulster) might give you enough confidence to maintain your Templar coat of arms in a time when the entire Catholic world is bent on your destruction!

WARNING: the claim that the surname Dobbin (plus derivatives) comes from the old English term meaning “son of Robert” originated from COMMERCIAL COAT OF ARMS MANUFACTURERS who couldn’t be bothered doing any real research! Please disregard! This also means that the claim that the Scottish Dobbin’s were a sept of the Robertson clan is also dubious- but I wouldn’t rule it out. Although, the Robertson’s are of Gaelic origin, and I find it highly unlikely that they would have tolerated a subservient Norse family within their ranks. Also, members of today’s Robertson clan make NO claim that Dobbin (or derivatives) are in ANY way affiliated with themselves. My “personal belief” is that the Scottish Dobbin’s probably came over from the north of Ireland, or possibly direct from England; especially when you consider that the Scottish Dobbin families were by far the last to “pop up on the radar”.

I hope that you are seeing my overall point that I am trying to make here………..regardless of your spelling, or where you think your original ancestors came from- WE ARE ALL RELATED!!!!!!! Not in an inbred, seven fingered sort of way either……..
So if your name is Dobbin/Dobbyn/Dobbins/Dobyns/Daubin/D’Aubin etc or something remarkably similar ie Tobin, you may now have enough info to make up your own mind as to where we came from. Whether you believe me or not is up to you. I’m confident however that if anybody else does the same amount of research as me as to our origins you’ll come to similar (if not identical) conclusions as me. On a personal level however, I come from one of those sorts of families who happen to pass things down from generation to generation……so I have extra confidence in my conclusions on a personal level. I cannot stress enough that we are ALL related in the very beginning at least.

As to where the various spellings come from however is where the stereotyping reluctantly comes into play. PLEASE don’t hold it against me if I promote the wrong idea here!! GENERALLY SPEAKING it goes something like this…….
1) D’Aubin is extremely rare outside of France these days, although it can be found in Canada, particularly within the predominantly French regions of the country. It’s these poor souls who will have the most difficulty tracing their roots.
2) Daubin can be found everywhere, but is by far the rarest variety. I have found through personal experience that any variation of the surname ends up sounding like Daubin/Darbin when pronounced by the Ulster Irish…….
3) Dobbin is predominately found in Northern Ireland, but is also found in very large numbers in England. More often than not you’ll find that English people with this spelling can trace their origins back to Northern Ireland.
4) Dobbyn is found predominately in the South of Ireland. It would “appear” that the surname Tobin may (I stress may!!) have the same origins as the Southern Irish D’Aubin’s.
5) If your name has an “S” on the end, you’ll usually find that your name “evolved” (I hate that word) within England itself. This stereotypically applies to those of you whose ancestors were the D’Aubin’s who settled in England and remained in England the entire time. These usually include the names Dobyns (found over near the Welsh border) and Dobbins (found in the Middlesex region)

Working on the premise that whilstever (is whilstever a word?) there is more than one person left alive on the face of this earth the potential for an argument exists, clearly there are probably scores of people who would love to argue every single point that I have raised so far (and I’m yet to talk about the Dobbin political beliefs yet!), but I can live with that. In fact, I’d like to take the time to point out right now that if there is anything that any of you think I should be aware of- please let me know!!!!!!!! Being labelled a moron because of my stupidity is something I can live with (we’re all entitled to our own opinions), but if you know some facts that I don’t………
Ah yes……politics! You may be thinking “What on Earth do politics have to do with genealogy???” Well, consider this- if you have an ancestor whose name is Thomas Dobbin for example….and you find two Thomas Dobbin’s who are born in the same year without any indication as to which county in Ireland they’re from…..then you could take the gamble and look at whether the wife’s name was Anglo or Gaelic. Eg: Both Thomas Dobbin’s are listed as being born in Ireland, but there’s no more info!! One Thomas married a Kelleher (Gaelic name), the other married a Buckingham (an Anglo name). If you knew for certain that your “Dobbin background” was protestant not catholic……well, if you were a hound you’d follow your nose right?? These are the things that help you research. Ordinarily, family research wouldn’t demand that you consider such issues, but when your surname is Norman, you’ll never get anywhere if you don’t consider political climate!!!

You’ll find that the Dobbyn’s of the south of Ireland have had their political background document fairly well, but basically as far as Irish D’Aubin’s are concerned it would seem that it was they who became “more Irish than the Irish themselves” the earliest, with other notable families of the region like the FitzGeralds. These southern D’Aubin’s became staunch anti-English, and eventually suffered from the consequences……



Unfortunately no-one seems to know much at all about the Scottish Dobbins, probably because the Scottish were most affected by the deliberate destruction of records at the hands of the English. However, their history probably ties in with the Ulster D’Aubin’s. You’ll see my theory about this when I mention the Northern Irish D’Aubin’s.
For anybody who suspects that their origins may lay somewhere within England herself, I strongly urge you to go to:
This site actually has a black and white picture of the Templar coat of arms for our family shown in the preface section, although it lacks the crescent moon usually associated with the Ulster version. This crescent is situated between the upper two stars, and is laying down. According to this website, it would appear that the English D’Aubin’s (or at least this branch) also had some issues with loyalty to Mother England.
If you are an American Dobbin/D’Aubin (and there are plenty!!) you really MUST ascertain which part of the world your actual immigrant ancestor came from. Most of you people are going to have a lot of trouble tracing your lines, due to the US being colonised a fair while ago. Sorry!
The situation with the Northern Irish Dobbin/D’Aubin’s is where things get very messy. Unfortunately due to the destruction of records we’ll probably never have any clear indication of who’s who etc. Before the plantation of Ulster throughout the 1600’s it seems clear that all these Dobbin’s are descendants of old Reggie himself, but there are many stories which make their beliefs and allegiances a little fuzzy. There are stories of Dobbin’s from the castle at Carrickfergus taking part in various “ethnic cleansing” activities (ie killing the Irish), but then there’s also a lot of solid evidence documenting allegiances and affiliations with the Ulster (Gaelic) Kings- the O’Neill’s. Written evidence like marriage certificates between Dobbin’s and O’Neill’s during times when there was a fair amount of English/Gaelic fighting going on. Stories of Dobbin’s of Ulster fighting in tartan and speaking Irish instead of Norman French or (later) English. But on the other hand, the sheer wall of evidence regarding the role of Dobbin’s within the castle at Carrickfergus- such as Dobbin’s being appointed Constables of the Castle, Mayors of the town, Sheriffs, Customs controllers etc, the list goes on. When you consider that the castle at Carrickfergus was never conquered again after Hugh DeLacy took it around 1200ad (at which old Reg was present), then clearly there are a whole bunch of Dobbin’s who never let go of their ties with England.

After the plantation of Ulster took place during the 1600’s, records become a clearer to find in regards to Ulster Dobbin’s. There are Dobbin’s showing up in County Down and County Armagh (all the same family, founded by two brothers, one of which married a Stewart from Antrim, who are descended from King Robert the First of Scotland), all bearing the Templar arms, but not listed on the list of settlers planted in Ulster by the English. There is one Dobbin on the list of settlers, but apparently he settled in either County Donegal or Derry- I don’t remember which, but it was somewhere over in the North West. I also don’t remember his name or where he came from. So if you happen to be able to trace your ancestry back to Donegal or Derry, but no further than the 1600’s…..then perhaps he’s your man! If you can trace your ancestor back to County Armagh or County Down, then you’re almost certainly related to myself and I have quite a detailed list of who is in our line. As far as the Armagh and Down Dobbin’s are concerned, it would appear that we were relocated during the plantation from Carrickfergus, although, in all honesty, the story handed down through my family is that we relocated to the north from Kilkenny. I must stress that I have no evidence to support this. You will find that Dobbin’s from Armagh and Down, like their Antrim cousins, also sat on both sides of the fence. There are plenty of Dobbin’s who pledged allegiance in writing to the Crown of England, but plenty who didn’t. There are Dobbin’s who joined the Orange Order, and others who didn’t. There actually one case where a Dobbin murdered a member of the Orange Order……it’s all so confusing! There are also Dobbin’s who signed their name to the Repeal Movement too.
If there actually were Dobbin’s livings as “septs” to the Robertson clan in Scotland, then my guess would be that they were “Gaelic” Dobbin’s from the North of Ireland who migrated- remember, you can see Scotland from Ulster…..and they certainly would’ve fit in with Scottish culture. But of course, this purely speculation…….

We are all related!! We all hail from the Norwegian royal family, with strong connections to the French and English thrones, and those of us who have the Antrim Stewart blood are also connected to the Scottish, French (again), Dalriada, Irish- and many more- thrones…..all the way back to Noah. But that’s another story.
I hope I have been of some help to at least some of you!!!

Michael Dobbin
Sydney, Australia.

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