The DOxxxxTY Name
name DOUGHTY with its many different variations is an old name,
generally supposed to have been derived from the Saxon term DOHTIG,
which was an epithet applied to a brave warrior. This name was brought
to England in the 5th century AD when the Roman legions had left
Britain to defend Rome, leaving its coasts open to invasion from the
north western parts of Europe. The Angles, Saxons and Jutes arrived,
bringing the name with them. My research has shown that DOUGHTY is
still more common along the eastern and south-eastern coasts of
with the Isle of Thanet, Kent being a good example. There are DOUGHTYs
here with lineages dating back a long way., and this is an area that
saw many landings of the Saxon tribes.
There is often confusion with the Irish names that are very similar,
DAUGHERTY, DOHERTY, DOCHERTY, DOUGHERTY etc. but these are all derived
Irish clan led by chiefs called Dochartaig, "the destroyer". Originally
they would have
been O'Dochartaig but this name has become the variations mentioned.
It is felt that Irish emigrants to America may have chosen to change
their name to the more Protestant DOUGHTY variants when they reached
the US, or they may just have been illiterate and had their names
written differently by immigration officials there. A Jewish friend
once told me that a lot of jews in the US are called Ferguson because
when they were asked their names on arrival they said "ich fergessen",
the German for "I forget".
If I am a DOUGHTY, am I descended from Saxons?
The answer to this is "possibly"! Surnames for "commoners" were, in all
probability, introduced to England by the Normans. Locals would have
each other by their trades or appearances so their fellow villagers may
have spoken of John the miller, John the carpenter, John the little or
John the dark to differentiate between them.
The Normans needed to take stock of their conquered land and this is
why the two Domesday books were compiled. They were an inventory of
what the Normans could expect to extort from the English! They were
called "Doomsday" because the English felt the books meant the end of
their world! The second Domesday Book dealt with the fertile farmlands
of East Anglia that represented a rich prize for the invaders.
To aid this "tax collecting" names of many ordinary people were written
down, probably for the first time, so the Shire Reeves could tell who
had what and how much they could expect to take from them.
Do not under-estimate the malignance and oppression of the Norman's
rule over the English. The Britons were just a commodity to be used for
slave labour to keep the Normans in wealth and luxury. Any resistance
was dealt with by execution, force and destruction.
A good example of how the Normans ruled is still
the English terms used for meat.
Words like cow, pig, chicken, deer are British. The words for cooked
- beef, pork, venison, fowl are from Norman French. The Normans only
interest in the meat was when it was served up to them. They took no
part in its husbandry!
How Did I Get My Surname
The "surnom" was a Norman invention, an added name to identify people
more clearly. If a word was in common use it could well have been used
for a surname at this time. Some people may have retained family names
from generations before, but if they did not have one the Normans could
have just given them a "surnom" arbitrarily.
If the word DOUGHTY was being used in general conversation to describe
a brave person at this time it could have been conferred as a surname!
I feel the surnames surviving in areas that were of no interest to the
Normans, or were too much trouble to gather taxes from, are the most
likely to be authentic pre-Norman names.
On 5th August 1620, 101 people left Southampton in a 90 feet (27 metre)
Mayflower was not the only ship they had planned to use, but the
Speedwell, which was to have accompanied her was unseaworthy and so the
passengers of both boats had to make the crossing in just one. Some
on the way, but six weeks later they landed in Massachusetts on what
was to become known as Plymouth Rock
Plymouth Rock The
Plymouth Rock Monument
Almost half were dead by the following year, but in 1661,
with the help
of friendly Native Americans, they were able
to gather in their first successful harvest and it is this event which
has become the Thanksgiving Day celebration still observed yearly
on the fourth Tuesday in November .
There were many well known characters among these Pilgrim Fathers.
Myles Standish, John Carver, William Bradford are all well known names,
but there were others on the Mayflower who did not achieve fame. One of
these was Edward DOTY.
Edward was possibly just a servant to the captain of the Mayflower, but
did settle with the others.
The Mayflower 11 (sailed from Britain to the US in 1957)
The Pilgrim's Descendants
For many, many years American researchers have been trying to trace
their lineage back to those who arrived on the Mayflower. There are
Organizations and Societies that have been created for those Americans
who can prove a link to the families of these first settlers.
Edward DOTY's name posed a problem. It was assumed by many that it was
a form of DOUGHTY. There are American families still actually named
Other versions of DOUGHTY emerged in the US, mainly because of their
English ears) lazy pronunciation. The name DOUGHTY is often
pronounced as DOTY, DODY, DOODY, DOOTY even DOTTY etc. and some of
alternative spellings. Only in certain cases is it actually pronounced
as it is in England - DOWTY, as in the word 'DOWN'. Even this phonetic
spelling can cause confusion! A Scotsman or Canadian could easily
pronounce this word as 'DOON'!
Things are made more complicated by the fact that old, alternative
spellings for Edward's surname are DOTTEN or DOTEN.
For many years American DOTYs and others with similar surnames have
been under the impression that their names were British and still
With the advent of DNA testing a project has been set up to try to
prove links between these American DOxxxxTY lines. Some families have
actually managed to prove descent from Edward Doty.
The Internet has enabled contact between American researchers and the
rest of the world
What is the DOTY Puzzle?
When I encountered the US DOTY researchers I had not given the subject
much thought. Suddenly I discovered that there were all these people
avidly trying to find out all they could about DOUGHTYs in the UK!
I checked the UK Census records for DOTY. Results were a handful. Two
unaccompanied children, possibly of non English parents, a German
servant and an American inventor with a French wife! No English DOTYs
in the UK!
I did the same for DOTEN. One family in the Channel Islands of French
BMD records were similarly unforthcoming. One marriage, bride's
surname, possibly misspelt!
I had to report back that these names apparently DO NOT exist in the UK
, or at least not since the start of registration or proper
This must have been quite a shock for the DOTY families and researchers
in the US! Many were totally convinced that DOTY was an English
name. Apparently, the many DOTY families there had never been
able to check this before!
This leaves the puzzle.
Was Edward DOTY actually a DOUGHTY?
About this time surname spellings were very varied and there are some
early parish records in the UK where the name is given as DOTY. This
has led some American researchers to believe these families were the
origin of Edward DOTY. At
about the same time you can also find DOUTTY, DOUTIE, DOWTY and other
spellings in UK parish records. These
DOTY entries have led to a large amount of dubious IGI
input that is, at best, conjecture and, at worst, propaganda by some
American researchers who are desperately trying to link their lines
with the UK.
A recent finding by
a serious US
suggested, however that there may be a link with some DOUTTYs shown in
parish records in Cornwall.
Was he from Europe?
The name DOTEN or DOTTEN is one found in France and Germany. It is
possible that Edward was a "foreigner" taken on as a servant. A
reference to him being in London has been found and some US
researchers feel this could add weight to this argument.
Recent research by David Stapp (2010) has suggested that non-conformist
religious emigrants had left Lincolnshire for Holland in the early 17th
century. It could be that the name Doughty was made more Dutch in
pronunciation, leading to DOTY or DOTEN spellings. It could be that
Edward DOTY was descended from an English family who had emigrated
Have there ever been genuine DOTY families in England?
My research at present shows this to be unlikely. The early DOTY parish
record entries were actually for DOUGHTYs. Even if the name was spelt
DOTY in early records, later records will show the name as DOUGHTY, or
Was Edward DOTY actually a DUTTON?
It is possible that Edward was a DUTTON. Again, DOTEN or DOTTEN as a
variant spelling of the DUTTON name could have been the case and there
may be English DUTTONs descended from his line.
I cannot describe to you the years and years of research that has been
carried out in the US trying to solve this puzzle. Agonizing hours
spent trying to confirm earlier researchers' findings. Misinformation
put about by well-meaning but not very thorough researchers. Hundreds
of people desperate to find out whether their roots are English,
European or somewhere in between!
I am appealing to all UK researchers!
1 If you have researched a line which includes one of the early parish
record spellings of DOUGHTY or DUTTON, or
2 If you have an unbroken line with descent by the male side from a
DOUGHTY to before registration, or
3 If you feel you can help these researchers, or are interested in any
please either contact me at SBD
or, if you have Yahoo membership please join and look at the posts at
Page created by K Doughty August 2005
Updated July 2010