Everything you wanted to know about Doodson family history

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This site focuses on information about people called Doodson – the history of the Doodson name, family trees, various Doodsons in the public eye or from around the world, as well as photos of Doodsons and various memorabilia and genealogy tips. The menu at left is pretty self-explanatory. 

Recent Updates: 

February 2021 - more about Arthur Thomas Doodson

A recent TV programme here in the UK reminded me that Arthur Thomas Doodson coined the term “Storm surge”, following work he did analysing a dreadful flood of central London in 1928.  This led me to search for more detail on the web, and as well as information about the flood I found a fascinating document about Arthur’s refusal to sign up for military service in World War 1 in 1916, as a conscientious objector, on religious grounds.  I’ve written this up in more detail on the main page about Arthur Thomas Doodson.

February 2021 - Is this site secure?

You might have noticed that your internet browser might say that this web site is “Not Secure” (you’re likely to see these words to the left of the web site address in the top part of the browser window).  What does this mean?  Does it mean somehow that you are “at risk” if you visit our web site?  Please be assured that everything is fine and this web site cannot do any harm to you or your computer.

Security for web sites is vital when you are giving that web site personal information, for example when you are buying something (eg credit card details), or giving the web site personal information for other reasons.  The security that web browser apps are talking about is a means by which the information that you type in on your computer is encrypted before being sent over the internet, so that nobody can intercept it and grab it for nefarious purposes.  This security is applied by each web site having a unique digital “certificate” that is used to encrypt messages between the end user and that particular web site.  The certificate is called a TLS/SSL certificate, and if a web site doesn’t have one of these the browser will indicate that the site is “Not Secure”.  If a commercial web site is secure you should see a little padlock icon in the top of the browser next to the name of the site - that indicates that they have such a certificate and your communications with them via the web site are encrypted.

However, as our site is not a commercial web site and does not sell anything or ask for any personal information, there is no need for such encryption or such a certificate.  Hence the message.  You do not need to worry about the message at all.  Neither you nor your computer are not at risk at all when you visit or

If you decide to contact us, all that happens is that our email address is pasted into your email app, and we simply receive your email, just as anyone else might get an email. Your email to us is as secure as any other email that you might send.

I hope that this sets your mind at rest, if the notion that our web site is “Not Secure” might have alarmed you.

February 2021 - Links to other Doodson web sites

As the years go by more and more people with the Doodson surname start up businesses and create their own web sites, and I thought it might be useful to list some of them here.  They are all based in the UK:

The Doodson Broking Group, which specialised in insurance for sports and entertainment is now part of a firm called Tysers (, and sadly doesn’t seem to be trading with the Doodson name anymore.

November 2020 - a mysterious “Joseph H. Doodson” uncovered

I can’t remember what I was looking for, presumably trying to find out more about someone called Joseph Doodson, but I came across a number of quotations attributed to one Joseph H Doodson, all in Turkish (I got it translated via Google Translate).  For example see here on Pinterest, or on this page. The quotation is relatively short and presumably people have found it inspirational:

“A quiet home, flowers we grow, inspiring books, a few beloved friends, devotion to truth, trust, hope and a heart full of love are worth more than all the pleasures of the world.”

Anyway I did a bit of digging and found that actually it’s not by anyone called Doodson at all, but was written by the Rev David Swing, in a short piece at the end of a book published in 1917 by Joseph H Dodson called “Your bird friends and how to win them” (which is mostly a sales pitch for the bird houses and sparrow catcher that Dodson sold in the USA, though Dodson was the President of the American Audubon Society, the foremost bird-related society in the USA).  

Quite how this little quote made it to Turkey, or how it was misattributed to either Joseph H Doodson (who didn’t exist) or Joseph H Dodson (who did, but din’t write the inspirational quote) is anyone’s guess…

If anyone is interested, the complete book by Joseph Dodson is available on the internet here - the piece by Rev David Swing, who was a well known preacher in the Chicago area, is on page 32.

November 2020 - Glossop and Pilkington trees linked! 

The lockdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has had some benefits, including folk really digging into their family histories, and I’ve been doing just that.  The “main” Doodson family tree, by which I mean the one that I’m on and which started off this web site, I’ve called the Pilkington tree, because many of the people on it lived in an area between Radcliffe and Prestwich in Lancashire, which used to be called Pilkington (see here for an explanation) 

Anyway, I’ve been trying to link the Pilkington tree to other trees on the site for years, in particular the trees of people who moved to Glossop, who seemed to have been born in the same area as people on the Pilkington tree, in Pilkington itself, Prestwich or other villages in the Pilkington area..

I’ve been using detailed records of marriages and births, which often give additional information that is unavailable elsewhere, such as the name of someone’s father and their occupation and where they live.  And I’m pleased to have been able to link Pilkington to three of the four Glossop trees, and (obviously) link those three Glossop trees together.

Needless to say this would, if I combined the three Glossop trees with the Pilkington tree, make a huge single tree, so I’ve opted to amend the Glossop trees so they are linked to show the relationships, but to keep the diagram separate.  The Pilkington tree has been extended, and is annotated with a pointer to the Glossop trees.

And while I was doing all this, I discovered that the Doodsons at the head of the Pilkington tree have been wrong all these years!  I discovered an alternative group of Doodsons who are the true forebears, though this does leave a group of Doodsons from the late 1700s who sit there on their own, yet to be linked to other family trees.  But lots of progress, see the Pilkington and Glossop trees.

March 2020

Updates to several family trees.  I decided to dig back into a few trees I’ve not looked at for a while, and because new historical documents have been made available online I’ve been able to extend/connect/clarify these trees: Pilkington, Unlinked in Bury from 1911 census, Unlinked in Oldham from 1911 census and a couple of teeny-tiny changes to the Doodson in the USA tree.  

This research has emphasised to me the importance of tracking down detailed marriage records, as these will show the father’s name and occupation as well as witnesses, all of which help tie things together or confirm relationships, or in some cases reveal errors or additional avenues of research.  Not all these records help, mind you.  I found a couple where the surname of the father of the bride or groom was different - this raises interesting questions but might lead to a dead end if the father and mother did not marry.

March 2020

20 years!  Yes, it’s 20 years since the very first web site.

I’ve changed the menus at the left, having discovered that quite a few smartphone and tablet browsers didn’t render the sub-menus correctly. All the rest of the content of the site is the same.

My dad found a mysterious South African TV show on the Internet called “Doodsondes” and inevitably wondered whether this was something to do with our surname.  It turns out that no, it isn’t anything to do with the Doodson surname, as it’s the Afrikaans for “deadly sins”: dood means deadly, and sondes means sins.  As in “Die Sewe Doodsondes”, meaning the Seven Deadly Sins.  So now you know!  I doubt very much that the English surname is derived from the Afrikaans for deadly sins … but hey, you never know!

September 2019 - Some minor updates to the main Australia family tree (the one headed by Robert and Ann Doodson), with additional information from Jennifer Wall.  Also a splendid essay written by Jennifer about Edward (known as George) Doodson (1825-84).

REQUEST - still trying to track down the diary of Robert Doodson: I came across an extract from a book on Google called the "Schoolmasters Notebook" (use this link to view it) in which Robert and Ann Doodson record their perilous journey from England to Australia in 1840/41. This is truly fascinating reading, giving contemporary insights that are rare. This document refers to a diary that Robert wrote, which was passed down to his great grandson, also called Robert, living in Sydney at the time the book was published (1957). We think that would have been either Robert Doodson (b.1887, d.1978) or Robert Doodson (b.1890 d.1968) Does anyone have this diary? It would be fantastic to be able to track this down and read some of the entries. If anyone has this diary could you please contact us? THANK YOU!

All previous updates are now listed in the Updates Log (see menu at left)