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About the study

I began researching the Debelle surname in 1996, after the death of my Father and soon discovered that the spelling was changed during the year of 1855 in Sydney, by my Great Great Grandfather who had arrived in 1854. This was confirmed with their names being found on a marriage certificate for a relatives marriage, the same year. When Edward Deeble arrived in Australia, his surname was definitely Deeble and in 1855 when his Wife and Son arrived in Sydney, with the Deeble spelling also. I joined the One Name Guild and registered the surname Deeble in 2002 because, I soon discovered a large number of people who were researching the Deeble name did not belong to my family and so started the One Name Study to see if I could connect all Deebles into one big family. My Deeble's lived in Bristol for many years before immigrating to Australia.

Variant names

It is difficult to really say if variants exist however, during the 1500's and 1600's the name is often found spelt as Deble. The spelling of Deeble is very consistent throught the centuries.

Name origin

Various origins can be found in surname dictionaries. P.H. Reaney in A Dictionary of British Surnames mentions the name is from debile, Lat deibil-is 'weak, feeble' (1536 NED). Basil Cottle and others say the name is from the vernacular Tebald/Tibald come from a number of surnames in Teb-/Tib-/Dib-. Theo-balds son of T-.

Bardsley's A DIctionary of English and Welsh Surnames 1901 gives Diable as Bapt the son Theobald from the nickname, Tibble, which became also Tipple q.v. A lazy pronunciation changed these to Dibble and Dipple. Interchanges between D and T were very common. Bardsley also says its an unmistakeable variant of Tibald, the popular form of Theobald. Miss Yonge has the order thus; Theobald, Tybalt, Tibble, Dibble (Hist. Christian Names, ii. 338).

Harrison in A Concise Etymological Dictioinary by Baltimore Gen Pub Co 1969 mentions - A Theobald was brother of Aethelfrith, king of Northumbria, ob. A.D. 617. Theobald was the usual 13th century form. Theobald (Tent.) People-bold.

Historical occurrences of the name


Name frequency

In the 1881 census, the counties with the largest numbers of Deebles were Cornwall with 99, Middlesex 40, Devon 15, Yorkshire, West Riding and Glamorgan 13, Gloucestershire 8, Somerset 7.

Distribution of the name

Parish records indicate that the largest earliest concentraton of Deeble's was in Cornwall with a scattering of the name in Devon in early times as well. The locations of St Germans, Pelynt and Quethiock is where the largest number of Deeble's lived. The Deebles very quickly moved about and the name occurs in many other places, such as the Greater London Area, Yorkshire, Gloucestershire, as well as Devon, Wales, Ireland and the USA. During the mid to late 1800's many Deeble's migrated to New Zealand, and Australia.


Data being collected for the Deeble One Name Study includes IGI records, GRO English BDM indexes, census, and vital records, as well as Australian BDM and vital records. I have extracted a large number of various entries for the United States but as yet these have not yet been put into the Deeble database for easy acccess to researches for the information.