One of our principal researchers, Cindy Walcott, whose family link is a spelling variation, has prepared this brief overview to aid first time visitors to this site. Once more postings are made, this page will be converted permanent page on our site.
The names Robblee, Roblee and Rublee (at least) are all variations of the same surname. We have been able to trace our origins with some certainty back to Huntington, Long Island, New York.
Huntington, Long Island, New York, USA
The Huntington records, circa 1730, use the spelling variation Rublier, Rublear, Rublere and Rubleer. Rublear is the variation used in church records; other variations appear in land and other records at fair frequency. Andrew appears in the land records as early as 1730 and William in 1732. The most helpful information we have from Huntington is from the Records of the First Church in Huntington, Long Island. 1723-1779. Printed for Moses Scudder, Huntington, New York, 1899, as follows:
21 December, 1727 William Rublear and Abigail Brush, both of Huntington
20 July, 1730 Andrew Rublear and Hannah Brush, both of Huntington
30 July, 1733 Andrew Rublear, widower, and Abigail Hawkins, both of Huntington
13 April, 1729 Abigail Rublear
21 January, 1732/3 William Rublear
10 May, 1734 Hannah Rublear
18 May, 1735 Thomas Rublear
11 April, 1736 Andrew Rublear
26 March, 1739 Reuben Rublear
9 March, 1739/40 John Rublear
The church records do not list the parents of children baptized, so we cannot organize these children into families with any certainty. This family disappears from the Huntington records by 1742 at the latest.
Dutchess County, New York, USA
The next sign we have of this family is in Dutchess County, New York. Here we see more name variations in the written record. This quote by Helen Wilkinson Reynolds in her article “A Dutchess County Before 1830” in The Quarterly Journal of the New York State Historical Association (Vol. 20, pp. 278-9) may explain of what we are up against:
“The first group of arrivals in Dutchess Co. was in the first quarter of the 18th century were largely of Dutch and Palentine German extraction, but included a few Walloons, French and English. The second, larger group were mostly English, from New England and Long Island, with a strong minority of Dutch from Long Island and New Jersey. From the first, Dutch and English languages competed for supremacy. Dutch began to give way to English in the 1760s. 18th century records are full of puzzling items produced by the phonetic spelling of Dutch words by English speaking people and vice versa.”
During the period 1740 – 1790, we see many name variations of Robblee, Rublee, etc. for men by the names of William, Rubin, Thomas, John, Andrew and Nathaniel in living in Southern Precinct, Nine Partners Patent, Rombout Precinct, Charlotte and Fredericksburg.
Lanesborough, Massachusetts, USA
For some of the family, the next stop was Lanesborough, MA. William and Reuben Robblee (as the name is spelled in the Lanesborough records) were in Lanesborough in 1768 when they both appear on a list of ratable estates. In the spring of that year, a deed for William refers to him as being “of Philips Patent, Dutchess Co., NY”, thus confirming where he came from. Church records reflect baptisms for children of both men.
Loyalists to Nova Scotia
It appears that, like so many families, the American Revolution split this family. A branch of this family supported the King. John and Thomas Robblee went to Nova Scotia at the end of the war. Their descendants live in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island (and other places) to this day.
To New York and Vermont
Four of the sons of William Robblee of Lanesborough–and several of his daughters–settled in Vermont. For reasons unknown, this family chose the name variation Rublee. They first settled in New Haven, VT. There were so many Lanesborough families in New Haven, that one of the main roads in town is still called Lanesborough St. By about 1800, the four brothers–Hiram, Andrew, Francis and John Brush–had moved on to Berkshire, Franklin Co., VT. The daughters remained in New Haven with their husbands and families.
Reuben’s descendants removed to Granville, Washington Co., NY, along with the descendants of one or more Thomas Robblees, all using the spelling Robblee. In just one or two generations, however, the more common spelling was Roblee. By that time, many of the family had ventured west to Orleans Co. and Warren Co., NY and beyond to the territories “west”.
Other Names Possibly Connected
The names Raplee and Roblyer may also be name variations. A history of Yates County, NY tells us that a member of the Roblyer family decided to change the family name to Raplee about 1800.
The name Roblin seems not to be connected. Recently, we have been in touch with a descendant of Christopher Robley of England, who went to Australia. The name Robley has also been mentioned as appearing in Paris, France by our researchers. That connection has not yet been explored.
What about Rapalje and Robilliard?
At least two theories about family origins are currently being explored. The theory that has been around the longest is that the family is descended from Joris Rapalje (sometimes called Joris Jansen de Rapalje and/or anglicized to George), a French/Belgian Huguenot who was among the very earliest of the Dutch settlers of New Amsterdam. Joris Rapalje lived in Brooklyn, NY and vicinity. Much has been written about Joris and his family. This connection has not been proven.
A newly emerged theory is that the name is a derivation of Robilliard and that the family came from the Channel Islands. Again, this has not been proven.
How Will We Find Out?
Our best hope at this point seems to be to link with other researchers, share our knowledge, look for commonalities and new possibilities. If you’re interested in sharing information, please subscribe to this site, and subscribe to our ROBLEE email list at Rootsweb.com (instructions are found on our e-mail page). Or if you need to contact us, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.