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Origins of the Mabile Surname

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Mabile is an Old French name thought to be derived from the Latin word amabilis (meaning loveable).
Mabile (Bellême) de Montgomery was born about 1026 in Lower Normandy. Mabile inherited the vast possessions of the House of Bellême, including a site near the southern border of Normandy where the castle of La Roche Mabile was built.[1]
"The fame of William was no doubt widely spread by this series of successful exploits and strategems, and his direct influence was distinctly increased by his receiving the homage of the Count of Ponthieu in one direction and the Lord of Mayenne in another. It would seem also that this was the time when William made, in conformity with the licence granted him by King Henry, a further acquisition of Cenomannian territory at the cost of the Count of Anjou. It was not unimportant to him to extend his power as far as might be in the district through which he had, six years before, made his famous night-march from Domfront to Alençon. At a short distance west of Alençon, and south-west of the episcopal town of Seez, the Sarthon, a small tributary of the Sarthe, was the boundary between Normandy and Maine. The Duke now took possession of a point beyond the frontier stream; a castle and town arose, which were entrusted to the care of Roger of Montgomery. It lay near the neighborhood of the hereditary possessions of his wife, and from her the new bulwark of Normandy was honored or disgraced by the name of the Rock of Mabel.⁵
⁵On Roca Mabiliæ or Roche Mabille, see Stapleton, i. lxxiii."[2]
Mabile la plastrière was listed in the 1292 census of Paris.[3]

The earliest known instance of Mabile as a surname is the John Mabile listed in a Hundred Roll for Chafford Hundred (Essex County, England) in 1274.[4]
Other early instances of surnames with similar spellings include:
Rogerus filius Mabilie (1130 AD in the Pipe Rolls, Northamptonshire, England)
Arnaldus Mabilie (1185 AD in Templars Records, Essex, England)
Joh' Mabylle (1287 AD in Forest Pleas, Sneinton, Nottinghamshire, England)
These are thought to be early forms of English surnames (Mable, Mabley, and Mapley) derived from the Old French name Mabile, While it seems likely that the Mabile name was introduced to England during the period of Norman rule, it is not known if the Mabiles of France actually share common ancestry with Mable/Mabley families of England.

Recent advances in DNA testing are allowing us to create a patrilineal family tree for all of humanity. So far, these studies have shown that Mapley/Mabley families of English origin are related to American Maple families. These families share a nearest common patrilineal ancestor who was born roughly around 1400 AD. The Maple/Mapley/Mable/Mabley Surname Project at Family Tree DNA ( https://www.familytreedna.com/groups/maple-surname-dna-project/about/background ) is looking for Mabile males to participate in this study. We would like to see if the Mabile families of French origin are related to the Mable/Mabley families of English origin and, if so, to estimate a birth year for their nearest common ancestor. If you would like to help find the origins of the Mabile surname, please contact Bruce Maple for more information. (You can send a private message to Bruce by clicking here.) Our project has some funds for free testing, and participation does not require you to reveal any personal information.


  1. Sir Francis Palgrave, The History of Normandy and of England, page 430.
  2. Edward A. Freeman, The History of the Norman Conquest of England, Volume III (1869), page 169.
  3. https://heraldry.sca.org/names/paris.html
  4. P. H. Reany and R. M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames, Routledge, London (1958); referencing Rotuli Hundredorum, Volume 1, London (1812), page 149.

Currently, this project just has one member: Bruce Maple.

If you have more information about the origins of the Mabile surname, please post a comment here on this page, or send me a private message.

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