Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesGenealogy · 1 decade ago

Where does the surname DOE originate from?

3 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    it's an acronym for "does not exist"

    it's used with John and Jane as a name for someone who cannot be identified in any other way

  • 3 years ago

    Doe Surname

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    1. Doe Surname Origin

    (English) a nickname or sign-name from the Doe [Middle English do/doo, Old English da].

    2. The following may also be of interest as to how the word Doe may have come about. The ancient surname of Willingale was of the locational group of surnames from 'Willingale Doe' and 'Willingale Spain' the name of two places in the County of Essex. .......The placename Willingale Doe was from Hugh de Ou, a Norman family name, perhaps from Eu in Seine-Inferieure, brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. SPAIN was held by William de Hyspania in 1236. The family name is stated to have been derived from Epaignes in Eure, Normandy.

    Doe is also showing up as an Essex surname, so possibly is a corruption of the Norman "de Ou"

    3. However I have found it on the Surrey Family History list as follo ws indicating surname Doe also found in Dorsetshire:

    Williams - Old Woking

    Details sought on Williams family from Hipley St Old Woking, known to reside Tinkers Lane in 1901. Related to Doe family (sometimes spelt Dow) also Old Woking/Pyrford, originally from Dorset

    4. Its also showing on the Romany & Traveller Family History site see

    5. "John Doe"

    1. Also, John Q. Public; Joe Blow; Joe Doakes; Joe Zilch. An average undistinguished man; also, the average citizen. For example, This television show is just right for a John Doe, or It's up to John Q. Public to go to the polls and vote. Originally used from the 13th century on legal documents as an alias to protect a witness, John Doe acquired the sense of "ordinary person" in the 1800s. The variants date from the 1900s. Also see Joe six-pack.

    2. Also, Jane Doe. An unknown individual, as in The police found a John Doe lying on the street last night, or The judge issued a warrant for the arrest of the perpetrators, Jane Doe no. 1 and Jane Doe no. 2. [Second half of 1900s]


    This entry contains information applicable to United States law only.

    John Doe

    A fictitious name used for centuries in the law when a specific person is not known by name.

    The name John Doe can be used in a hypothetical situation for the purpose of argument or illustration. For example, the action of ejectment may be used in some states by a person who has possession of a parcel of land but wishes to clear up some doubt concerning his or her right to hold it. Rather than wait until someone else sues to challenge his or her right to the land, that person may bring an action of ejectment against a fictitious defendant, sometimes called a casual ejector. John Doe has traditionally been used for the name of this nonexistent party, but he has also been named Goodtitle.

    John Doe may be used for a specific person who is known but cannot be identified by name. The form Jane Doe is often used for anonymous females, and Richard Roe is often used when more than one unknown or fictitious person is named in a lawsuit.

    The tradition of fictitious names comes from the Romans, who also had names that they commonly used for fictitious parties in lawsuits. The two names most commonly used were Titius and Seius.


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