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Our 2,766 members have registered
2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

Two of my four great-grandmothers were surnamed Goble, one on my paternal line, and the other on the maternal side. Both families came from Sussex, England, just a few miles apart from each other. I wanted to find the link between these two families, and although they have co-lateral names and villages in common, I have not been able to find documentary evidence to prove a connection. Furthermore, on my father's side two Gobles married each other, and further back still (1615) a Jane Goble married into another branch of the family. I therefore have four Goble lines in my direct ancestry.

Consequently, I collected a lot of Goble information and in 1998 I joined the Guild. Most of my information is about families and individuals in the United Kingdom, but I have information relating to Goble's in other countries including Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States.

I am very happy to do my best to answer queries about the Goble families. I'm also delighted to receive information about the Gobles too!

Variant names

I have registered the variants of Gobel and Gobell with the Guild.

I also have some information on families with the variants Goebel, Gobelle, Gobble and Goball.

Name origin

There are two schools of thought regarding the origin of the surname Goble.

a) There is the possibilty that the name is Germanic in origin and that Goble is the diminutive of Godbert or Godebald. Godbert means good and bright or famous. The meaning of Godebald is good and brave or bold.

b) Others believe that the name is of French origin and is from the occupational name 'Gobet', a glassmaker or glassworker who made goblets, tankards or other drinking vessels.

Personally I prefer to keep an open mind on this. It is not possible, yet, to link the various Goble families together, so it may be that both the patronymic and occupational origins of the name apply.

Historical occurrences of the name

Walto de Gobel is listed in the lay subsidy rolls for the 'villat de Burgham' (Burpham, Sussex) of 1327 and 1332 source: Sussex Record Society Vol 10 Lay Subsidy Rolls

James Goble (1725 -€“ 1771) was Sheriff for the County of Sussex in 1754, and was granted a Coat of Arms in that year.

Thomas Goble (c1780 - 1869) fought at the Battle of Trafalgar and was appointed secretary to Lord Nelson.

Warwick Goble (1862 - 1943) was an illustrator of children's books.

Name frequency

The 1881 census for the United Kingdom shows that there were 865 occurences of the name Goble in the population, and that it ranked 4380 in the order of surnames, with 32 occurences per million. In 1998 there were 1135 individuals with this name (an increase of 270 individuals), but the ranking had dropped to 4683, or 30 occurences per million.

Distribution of the name

The 1881 census shows that the Goble / Gobel(l)(e) families were concentrated in the south-east of England. The vast majority of people with these surnames were in Sussex (368), Kent (131), Hampshire and Isle of Wight (124), Middlesex (111) and Surrey (79). There were Gobles in many other counties including Essex and Oxfordshire, and some had also settled in Wales and Scotland.

An analysis of the location of the subscribers to the residential pages of the UK telephone directories in 1996 showed that the majority of Goble / Gobel(l)s still lived in Sussex, Hampshire, Surrey and Kent.

There are Goble families in many parts of mainland Europe and also in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States.


I have a significant amount of Goble data, including

For England and Wales

  • GRO references for births, marriages and deaths 1837-2004
  • Some copy certificates for births, marriages and deaths
  • LDS - International Genealogical Index for all counties 1991 edition
  • LDS - Vital Record Index for UK
  • Census -€“ 1841 to 1901
  • National Probate Calendar - €“1858 to 1985
  • PCC Wills
  • Death Duty Registers
  • Pallott Marriage Index
  • Telephone directories -€“ residential and commercial extracts for 1996
  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission Database
  • Times Newspaper 1785 -€“ 1985
  • National Burial Index (third edition)

For Scotland

  • General Register offices indexes for births, marriages and deaths
  • Census -€“ 1841 to 1901
  • LDS -€“ International Genealogical Index for all counties 1991 edition
  • Telephone directories -€“ residential and commercial extracts for 1996

For Ireland

  • Civil Registration Indexes 1845-1958
  • LDS -€“ International Genealogical Index
  • 1901 census
  • 1911 census

For Sussex

  • Parish Registers extracts for baptisms and burials 1813 -€“ 1900
  • East Sussex Baptism Index 1700 - 1790
  • Sussex Marriage Index
  • Brighton Burial Index 1842 - 1854
  • Photographs of some monumental inscriptions in Sussex
  • Index to wills and admons proved in the Courts of Chichester, Lewes etc
  • Cemetery Burials -€“ Broadwater, Worthing, Durrington
  • Every reference to Goble etc in all 91 volumes of Sussex Record Society publications. (includes marriage licences etc)


  • Australian telephone directories -€“ residential and commercial extracts for 1998
  • Some birth, death and marriage records especially for New South Wales, Australia
  • Castle Garden 1820 - 1892
  • Ellis Island Immigration Index 1892 -€“ 1924
  • Mormon Immigration Index