By T. M. (Mike) Dossey
The oldest recorded use of the name Dossey I have found appears in Dorchester and Calvert Counties, Maryland. Three brothers- Ralph, John, and James- came to Maryland from Virginia with their kinsman, Richard Preston, who included them in his 1669 will as his “cousins.” John Dossey was grandted land in Corchester County as early as 1664. The name was Spelled Dossey or Dorsey in various Maryland records over the years, with the family in Maryland finally adopting the Dorsey spelling. Accounts differ on whether the Dossey/Dorsey families in Dorchester and Calvert Counties were related to the Darcy/Dossey family of Anne Arundel County. Various articles in Maryland genealogical texts describe the ancestries of the Darcy/Dorsey/Dossey families of Anne Arundel, Calvert, and Dorchester counties.
The Dossey (or Dorsey) name probably comes from the English/Irish D/Arcy, meaning one who came from the Norman region of Arci. Alternatively, some of the Irish Darcys descended from a Gaelic family of O’Dorchaidhe, which was anglicized as O’Dorcey. The English D’Arcys lived in County Essex (and perhaps Middlesex), while the Irish Darcys/Dorceys/O’Dorcey/MacDarcy lived in County Meath, near Dublin, and Counties Mayo and Galway on the Irish west coast.
Donald Clarke of Lithonia Georgia, (great-grandson of Sarah Ellen Dossey Haynes, sister of Matthew Jackson Dossey, states that he has encountered over twenty spellings of the Dossey name in his studies of the family line, including Dossey, Dorsey, Dorse, Dossie, and Dawsey. There does appear a persistence to use a spelling other than the prevalent Dorsey spelling in our line, which may tend to link us to the Calvert/Dorchester families in Maryland (if there is a Maryland link at all). On the other hand, the oldest direct link I have encountered in our line involves the given names of Elias, Caleb, and Soloman. These were common given names used by the Ann Arundel Dorseys, and not, as far as I can tell, by the Calvert/Dorchester Dosseys. Maybe time and more research will unlock this link.