Maybee Society

Researching Maybee and its many variants

The Maybee Name in all its variations

Maybee family spelling variations include: Mabie - Mabee - Maybee - Mabey - Maby - Mabé - Maeby - Maybe - Maybie - Maybay - Mayby - Mabbe - MaBee - Mabye - Maibie - MayBee - Meebie - and probably others.

Mabey is the predominant spelling in England, Australia, and New Zealand. Canadians mostly use Maybee and Mabee. In the US the predominant names are Mabie, Mabee, and Maybee

The name, whatever its spelling, is usually pronounced /'mebi/ the same as the word maybe, meaning perhaps.

Where did the name come from - probably from the British Isles.

Mabie is a habitational name from a place so named (the Mabie Forest) in the parish of Troqueer in Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland, which is quoted as confirmed by Alan filius Roland, constable of Scotland, in c. 1200-34.

Mabey is a traditional name from the south coast of England in and around the counties of Dorset and Hampshire.

In North America, most of the people using the name are descendants of Pieter Casparszen van Naarden (c1610-b1665) which translates as Peter, son of Caspar, born in Naarden (in the Netherlands). There is no documented evidence of his using the Mabie, but all his descendants did.

People frequently ask if there is any significance in how a particular branch of the family spells the name. In general, this is not the case. There are some exceptions to this rule, however. After the revolution, a Loyalist named Peter Mabee from Westchester County removed to the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec. This branch of the family has used the Mabé spelling, reflecting the fact that this was and is a French speaking part of Canada. Another branch has used the Maeby spelling since the mid-nineteenth century. This branch descends from Jeremiah Maybee, a son of Tobias Maybee, and his wife Lois Richmond.

As to the question: Where did Pieter Casparszen van Naarden come from? We have the following letter written before Marshall raised the question of French surname 'Mabille'.

Letter by Albert A. Mabee, dated March 1, 1903 For the benefit of my relatives on my father’s side, who are not acquainted with the origin of our forefathers, have thought best to jot down a few facts known only to myself. Our Mabee ancestors were English, of Puritan stock, and during the reign of Charles the Second (known in English history as the period of Restoration) they, with many others fled to Holland to escape persecution from the established church, and remained in that country till again persecuted for their religious beliefs. They then, with a number of Hollanders, sought refuge in America settling on the cite [sic] of the present city of New York, to which they gave the name New Amsterdam. They lived there in peace under the flag of Old England till the time of the American Revolution in 1776, when a goodly number, rather than take arms against the mother country, sacrificed all they gained in the New World, their homes as well, and came to Canada, a number settling at the mouth of the St. John river, New Brunswick, the site of the city of St. John, landing there May 18, 1783. This date was once kept as a public holiday, known as Loyalist Day or Landing of the Loyalists. Among this number was my great grandfather, Jeremiah Mabee, his wife (a Miss Chadyne of a French Huguenot family) his three sons, Jeremiah (my grandfather), William and Gilbert and his daughter Catherine, who afterward married Jeremiah Drake of St. John. The old gentleman, after a time, settled on a tract of land between the Bellisle and Kennebacasis rivers in the Parish of Kingston, Kings County, upon which he lived until he decease (time unknown)....

Who thought we were Mabilles? As noted in Mutrie's 6,000 New York Ancestors: A Compendium of Mabie Research, the original story that Pieter Casparszen was of French descent from a Seigneur Pierre Mabille de Nevi of Anjou started with an unpublished family history by one Edward C. Marshall.

We know from The Frisbee-Frisbie Genealogy by Edward S. Frisbee (1919) that Marshall prepared his paper for the Reverend Henry Clay Mabie, secretary of the American Baptist Missionary Union. Mr. Frisbee had earlier written of Marshall's paper in a letter to Mrs. Jerome I. Stanton dated October 12, 1905. Thus, we know that Mr. Marshall wrote his paper prior to 1905, likely in the late 1890s.

As noted by Mutrie, Marshall suggested the link between the Mabie and Mabille Families only as a possibility, but nothing more. Mutrie documents his significant efforts to either prove or disprove this link, finally concluding only that there was possibly an ancestor named Pierre Mabille. Thus, this link is based not on historical data, but on an unfounded suggestion by Mr. Marshall.

Two articles published in the New York Genealogical & Biographical Record gave credibility to Marshall's creation. The first, The Founders of the Beck and Mabie Families in America by Catherine T. R. Mathews (Vol. XXXVIII, 1907, pages 98 - 103), did not mention Marshall as a source, but said: "There seems no doubt that their name was Mabille." The second article, The Mabie Family by Sarah Adelaide Mabie (Vol. LII, 1921, pages 251-255) cites Marshall as her only source, and includes the Mabille name not as a possibility, but as a fact.

Thus, we find ourselves left with the inescapable conclusion that there is absolutely no historical evidence whatsoever to suggest that the Mabie Family in America is related in any way to the Mabille Family of France. And while a French origin remains a possibility, the presence of the Mabie Forest in Scotland, and various historical references to Mabey, Maybee and Maby families throughout England as far back as the 16th century, strongly suggests other possibilities.

We are not Van Ordens Over the past decade or so, research has proven that the Mabie, Van Orden and Van Norden families do not share common ancestors. Two articles have been published on this subject. The first of these, by Ethel Kolenut, appeared in The Archivist, published by the Genealogical Society of Bergen County, New Jersey, Vol. XXIV, No. 1, February 1997. This article, titled The Mabie Virus, traces the roots of both the Van Norden and Van Orden families, and demonstrates their independence from each other and from the Mabie family. From this article, it is clear that the progenitor of the Van Norden family in America is Pieter Wesselszen, who married Josyntje Jans on 19 May 1669 (NYDC 1:33). Meanwhile, the Van Orden family is found in the New York Lutheran Church records and the Hackensack and Schraalenburg church Records in Bergen County, New Jersey, starting with Jan Van Orden and his wife Lysbeth Andries Rees.

In December 1999, this article was brought to the attention of Steve Mabie by Frank Van Orden, member #229. In the meantime, several ancient letters, dating from the early 1700s, were found at the Mabee Farm in Rotterdam Junction after it was donated to the Schenectady County Historical Society in 1993. Jack Maybee, our Past President, had these letters translated from the original Dutch and sent copies to Steve. Steve then wrote an article titled Mabie Family Update based both on the letters and Ethel's article, which was published in the New York Genealogical & Biographical Record (Vol. 133, No. 1, pages 44 - 46). This article addresses the inconsistencies in the two previous NYG&BR Mabie family articles, the last of which, The Mabie Family, by Sarah Adelaide Mabie, was published in 1921. This 1921 article, relying on the notes of Edward C. Marshall, had claimed that the eldest son of Pieter Casparszen (Jan, born 1654) used the surname Van Norden or Van Orden (the article confuses the two surnames). The new article lays out a proof that Jan Mabee of Schenectady was, in fact, this son of Pieter Casparszen born in 1654.

Steve Mabie, Maybee Society Vice-President

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