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Help needed about my Polish surname, Dobbert.

ProudRoots 1 | 32
7 Nov 2013 #1
Hello all, new member to the forum here.

Just had a question about my Polish ancestry, I am a proud Polish American. Does anyone know about the surname 'Dobbert'? The surname does not sound very Polish, though I have performed research and found a source that says the surname is derived from 'dobru' which apparently means something in the Old Slavic Language. Very interesting. Not sure if I can link it to you or not.

Second off, something tells me it is Kashub, because my Polish roots actually trace back to Pomerania, where my ancestors, the Polish ethnics, had lived. And many Kashubs apparently reside in Pomerania, so that tells me something. Also, I was studying Kashub surnames, and I had discovered that there was a Kashub surname, 'DOBEK' which to me, sounds like Dobbert, could be a variant, eh?

I'd like to know what you guys think, and if you have any more information. Thanks.

Not sure if this helps but my Polish Dobbert ancestors were from Pomerania but had settled in Wisconsin, were many Kashubs happen to settle. Yet another reason it may be Kashub.
TheOther 6 | 3,692
7 Nov 2013 #2
something tells me it is Kashub, because my Polish roots actually trace back to Pomerania, where my ancestors, the Polish ethnics, had lived

Without document proof that's only wishful thinking. Your ancestors might as well have been part of the Kashubian population that rejected the assimilation into both the Polish and German culture. Which would make you a Kashubian-American, not Polish-American...
delphiandomine 88 | 18,430
7 Nov 2013 #3
where my ancestors, the Polish ethnics

It's by no means certain that they were Polish. If you don't have clear proof of it, then it's best to assume that they lived in Pomerania and nothing else.

Even well into the 20th century, many citizens of Poland had little concept of associating to a specific ethnic group.
Astoria - | 155
7 Nov 2013 #4
Dobbert: from German personal name Dobber, this from Proto-Slavic dobr' "good." Many similar names of the same etymology: Dober (first recorded in Poland in 1390), Dobera, Doberczak, Doberczuk, Dobers, Doberski. Currently, only 1 Dobbert lives in Poland, but drop one "b" and you get 13 Doberts. Likely, the ancestors of people with this type of name were Germanic or Slavic migrants from Germany to Poland. Their original Slavic names were first Germanized in Germany and after migration Polonized in Poland.
OP ProudRoots 1 | 32
8 Nov 2013 #5
THANK YOU ! I was always told my ancestors were POLISH ethnic living in Germany and I was always told to be proud to be Polish, I just thought they may have been Kashub because of where they were living.

So they were likely Polish, NOT Kashub? Because it would make more sense if they were Polish, that is what I was always told.

My proof is that I was always told by my Grandmother and Mother that they were Poles living there. And I thank all of you for taking the time to view my post and reply. =)
TheOther 6 | 3,692
8 Nov 2013 #6
So they were likely Polish, ...?

Instead of surmising whether your ancestors were Poles, Kashubians or Germans (does that really matter)?, why don't you simply concentrate on tracing your ancestors back as far as possible? Obtain copies of church book entries, civil registration records, land records and so on, and you'll get an idea in what social environment your family lived. You might even find out that your forefathers were coming from all three groups - who knows...
delphiandomine 88 | 18,430
8 Nov 2013 #7
My proof is that I was always told by my Grandmother and Mother that they were Poles living there.

They may not have known any better.
OP ProudRoots 1 | 32
8 Nov 2013 #8
Thank you, I will try to find out as much as I can. Don't know if this counts, but I found my ancestors on, I am now a paid member. They were Poles (as told) and they were living in Germany throughout the 1800s. Some in Berlin.

And thanks to this PolishForums site I know a bit more about the surname itself. Thank you all.
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
9 Nov 2013 #9
I once knew a gentleman from Berlin whose family name was "Doebberthin". Presumably, just a typical Slavic-sounding German surname from around the border area:-)
OP ProudRoots 1 | 32
9 Nov 2013 #10
Neat. I found that my Dobbert ancestors were from Neustrelitz =) the family they married into however, were very German and they were the ones from Berlin.
OP ProudRoots 1 | 32
9 Nov 2013 #12
Does anyone know anything interesting about Neustrelitz? I never knew what town my ancestors were from until digging up some records on this morning.
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
9 Nov 2013 #13
Well, it's in the eastern part of Germany, probably populated at one time by Sorbs or Wendish-speaking people who coexisted for centuries with ethnic German populations. I've been throughout all of Germany, that is, following the collapse of the Wall. Neustrelitz is fairly homogeneous in the sense of lacking the diversity of larger German towns or cities, notably Berlin, Leipzig or Dresden.

Eastern German place names tend to end in "-witz", "-litz", e.g. Prittwitz, Goerlitz, Koestritz and the like. Older Prussian settlements attest to Baltic elements, predating even Germanic territories!
OP ProudRoots 1 | 32
9 Nov 2013 #14
Thank you for the information, I didn't know that much about the town, i'm very thankful to all of you =)

Do you think some Doberskis or some Doberczaks made their way into Neusterlitz and changed their names? I was always told they were Poles, and now I know the town! I'm piecing my ancestry together. I find it fascinating to be brutally honest.

Oh, I should add their surname was DOBERT. not DOBBERT. Actually some records say it was dobert, others dobbert. Ancestry is always tricky. For some odd reason they may have changed it from dobert to dobbert when they came to America. All I know for sure is they were from Eastern Germany (various places, mainly Neustrelitz) I'm starting to think that there may have been even another name change, originally from Doberski, Doberczak or Doberczuk to Dobert. As I was always told they were Poles who had been forced by the partition to live in Germany and assimilate, or they were Poles that had moved there at one point. Unfortunetly I am limited to how far back I can go through my research, because eventually you get to the point where the only records on are the census ones that won't tell you their parents, thus disabling you to go further down the line to see what their original name was. At this point it may just be best to rely on what I have always been told, at least now I know the various German towns they were living in, and thanks to friendly users on this website also more about the surname itself.

Though, I definetly encourage users to reply to this thread with more information if you happen to find it, I am not calling this one case-closed. I would especially like to know how to solve my conundrum, about how I am limited on how far back I can go. If there is a way to get past that obstacle, pray tell.

Thank you all.
TheOther 6 | 3,692
9 Nov 2013 #15
because eventually you get to the point where the only records on are the census ones that won't tell you their parents

What does have to do with how far back you can get in your family tree? Visit the family history center of your local LDS for example and order the relevant microfilms. If you are lucky your ancestors were catholic and the churchbooks go back all the way to the 1500's. Collect more information by browsing the civil registration records or by ordering copies from the Polish state archives. If your ancestors were Lutheran, you might be lucky to find records through the Evangelisches Zentralarchiv in Berlin ( The possibilities are endless and not limited at all to

ow I am limited on how far back I can go

In the east, catholic churchbooks can go back to the 1500's. Protestant ones usually to the early 1700's, some a little older.
jon357 72 | 21,151
9 Nov 2013 #16
What does have to do with how far back you can get in your family tree?

It's an excellent resource and more than a few generations back there's a strong chance that someone else has done the work and is sharing their findings.
TheOther 6 | 3,692
9 Nov 2013 #17
If you want to rely on the word of someone else, then go ahead... :)

Genealogy isn't based on assumptions, but on documented proof like church book entries, birth and marriage certificates, civil registration records, court documents, land records and so on. You never ever trust a web site or any other source without seeing the proper documents. Unless you want to waste years of research in the wrong direction that is - just to find out that the data someone else posted on the web is bogus or copied from another unreliable source. I've been into genealogy for a very long time and I know people who collect family trees like stamps and seriously claim to be a descendant of one of the pharaos.

IMO, is okay if you research your ancestors within the US, but you pay for data that is often freely available elsewhere. Social Security Death Index for example, census records, ship manifests and more.
OP ProudRoots 1 | 32
9 Nov 2013 #18
Thanks for all the advice 'TheOther' you have been of help to me. By now I know from records they were ethnically Polish living in these German towns, just as my Family has always told me. Good to know I wasn't lied to. It would of course be even more interesting if I could go back further, at least so I could know more names, dates and what Religion they were. I will look into this.

Again thanks to all that had helped me. A friendly site =)
TheOther 6 | 3,692
9 Nov 2013 #19
Good luck and glad I could help a little.
OP ProudRoots 1 | 32
10 Nov 2013 #20
Just an update, I found a tree on, these aren't nearly as reliable as census and passenger records, but i'm taking a look at it. The Uploader claims that what I believe to be are my ancestors were from Żuławki (former Prussia, modern day Poland)

The tree also claims I have ancestors who went by the name Wendt, which I looked up and is a German surname to describe the Wends, y'know, the Sorbs. So I could possibly have Sorb ancestry. Another interesting thing is Żuławki seems to be not too far from Kashubia, I wonder how many Poles live in Żuławki? If not many, than my ancestors may have been Kashubs. I won't jump to conclusions, I have sent a PM to the owner of the tree who's last login was apparently today and he seems to be a good Genealogist. I'll keep you guys updated.

Update: It's not them I don't think.

Anyways thanks for everything guys.

Because of this friendly forum I was able to more easily conclude my Dobbert ancestors were from various East German towns and were ethnically Polish, also thanks to passenger records I found that said so. So what I was always told was true. I also discovered thanks to this forum when they came to Germany they likely changed the name from Doberski, Doberczak, Dobera or Doberczuk to Dobbert.

Thanks guys.
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
10 Nov 2013 #21
MANY Eastern Germans as well as Eastern German towns have distinctly Slavic-sounding names, though in all likelihood Wendish, not Polish (such as in Lusatia), e.g. Bad Doberan etc.. Many place names with "Dob-" are obviously of Slavic origin. Polish, being an East Slavic language like Czech, Lecithic, Sorbian and Wendish, but UNlike South Slavic Bulgarian or Croatian, will resemble these types of names:-)
Zibi - | 336
11 Nov 2013 #22
Polish, being an East Slavic

Excuse me?
OP ProudRoots 1 | 32
11 Nov 2013 #23
hah. I'm sure he meant West Slavic.

Also, are you suggesting my origins are Wendish, Wlodzmierz?
11 Nov 2013 #24
A Dobbert was the student of a famous doctor :)

Teodor Opęchowski (4th paragraph, second line)
OP ProudRoots 1 | 32
11 Nov 2013 #25
Incredible! Thanks for the link! I am proud of my Dobbert roots :D
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
11 Nov 2013 #26
Indeed, my goof! So sorry:-)
At least I didn't confuse you with being a Silesian or a CashubLOL
OP ProudRoots 1 | 32
11 Nov 2013 #27
By now I know I am not Kashub or Silesian. I could be Wendish or Polish. I found Doberskis in my line. Doberski sounds very Polish to me, do Wendish names end with -ski?
delphiandomine 88 | 18,430
11 Nov 2013 #28
You could be anything, given the long and complicated history of Poland. There's little point worrying about it or focusing on it - there has been so much mixed marriages throughout the centuries that it's unlikely that you are anything other than a mongrel.
Wlodzimierz 4 | 544
11 Nov 2013 #29
I'm frankly not all that familiar with Wendish names, either personal or place:-) "-ski" pretty much stock Polish, possibly Russian as well. I can recognize Wendish, having travelled throughout the Eastern part of Germany and passing various bilingual town names.

Other than that, I wouldn't want to mislead you!
OP ProudRoots 1 | 32
11 Nov 2013 #30
I don't really like being a Mongrel :( would this make every one a Mongrel in the end?

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