Recorded in several spelling forms including: Dowbiggin, Dowbekin and Dowbakin, this unusual and picturesque surname is of medieval English origin. It is locational and derives from the hamlet of Dowbiggin in the parish of Sedbergh, in the former West Riding of Yorkshire. The first element of 'dow' is derived either from the Old Welsh word 'dou', meaning two, or an Old English pre 7th Century personal name 'Duve' of unknown meaning. The second element of 'biggin' is from the Norse-Viking word 'byggia', with 'biggin' being the later Middle English development, and meaning a large house or building. The translation is therefore either 'Duve's house' or 'Two houses'. The surname spelling as Dowbakin appears to be a later variant, not present in the Yorkshire records, but is a 19th Century recording found amongst the Lancashire registers. Early examples of the surname recordings over the centuries include: Christopher Dowbikine of Tatham in Lancashire, whose will was (confusingly) registered at Richmond in North Yorkshire in 1615, John Dowbiggin also of Tatham, and who also appears in the Wills register but for 1678, and Ellen Dowbakin, who was christened on September 24th 1843, at St. Michael's church, Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Johannes Dowfbyggyng. This was dated 1379, in the Poll Tax Records of Yorkshire, during the reign of King Richard 11 of England, 1377-1399.
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