DuBois Surname Meaning and Origin

DuBois was a topographical surname often given to someone who lived or worked in the woods, sometimes as a woodcutter.
simonkr / Getty Images

The ancient French surname DuBois derived from the Old French bois meaning "wood" and was a French topographical name given to a man who lived or worked in the woods, or who worked as a woodcutter. Similar in origin to the Wood surname in England and America.

DUBOIS is the 8th most popular surname in France.

  • Surname Origin: French

Where People With the DuBois Surname Live

WorldNames PublicProfiler identifies the largest population of individuals with the DuBois surname in France followed, as you might expect, by Belgium and Switzerland, and then Canada. Within France, the surname is most prevalent in the northern regions of Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardie, followed by the Wallonie region of Belgium. The name in France is also fairly common throughout the central part of the country, from Paris stretching north, east and west. Data from Forebears agrees, ranking DuBois as the 4th most common surname in France and 17th in Belgium. It is also prevalent in French territories and collectives such as New Caledonia and French Polynesia, as well as countries that formerly belonged to France, such as The Ivory Coast. The Dubose surname variant is most commonly found in the United States.

Famous People With the Surname DuBois

  • Allison DuBois: American psychic/medium
  • W.E.B. duBois: African-American writer, historian and socialist
  • Antoine DuBois: French surgeon
  • Charles Frédéric Dubois: Belgian naturalist
  • Louis DuBois: Huguenot colonist in New Netherland
  • Shirley Graham Du Bois: American writer, composer, and civil rights activist

Genealogy Resources for the Surname DuBois

  • Common French Surnames & Their Meanings: Uncover the meaning of your French last name with this free guide to French surnames meanings and origins.
  • DuBose-DuBois DNA Project: Over 100 group members belong to this Y-DNA surname project, working together to combine DNA testing with traditional genealogy research to sort out DuBose and DuBois ancestral lines. Includes individuals with DuBoise, DuBoice, DuBoys, DuBosc, DuBusk and similar surname variants. 
  • Dubois Family Crest: Contrary to what you may hear, there is no such thing as a Dubois family crest or coat of arms for the Dubois surname. Coats of arms are granted to individuals, not families, and may rightfully be used only by the uninterrupted male-line descendants of the person to whom the coat of arms was originally granted. 
  • DuBois Family Genealogy Forum: Search this popular genealogy forum for the Dubois surname to find others who might be researching your ancestors, or post your own Dubois query.
  • FamilySearch: Access over 1.7 million free historical records and lineage-linked family trees posted for the Collins surname and its variations on this free genealogy website hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Surname & Family Mailing Lists: RootsWeb hosts several free mailing lists for researchers of the Dubois surname. You can also browse or search the list archives to explore previous postings for the Dubois surname.
  • The DuBois Genealogy and Family Tree Page: Browse family trees and links to genealogical and historical records for individuals with the last name Dubois from the website of Genealogy Today.


  • Cottle, Basil. "Penguin Dictionary of Surnames." Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1967.
  • Menk, Lars. "A Dictionary of German Jewish Surnames." Bergenfield, NJ: Avotaynu, 2005.
  • Beider, Alexander. "A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Galicia." Bergenfield, NJ: Avotaynu, 2004.
  • Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. "A Dictionary of Surnames." New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.
  • Hanks, Patrick. "Dictionary of American Family Names." New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.
  • Hoffman, William F. "Polish Surnames: Origins and Meanings." Chicago: Polish Genealogical Society, 1993.
  • Rymut, Kazimierz. "Nazwiska Polakow." Wroclaw: Zaklad Narodowy im. Ossolinskich - Wydawnictwo, 1991.
  • Smith, Elsdon C. "American Surnames." Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Powell, Kimberly. "DuBois Surname Meaning and Origin." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/dubois-last-name-meaning-and-origin-1422497. Powell, Kimberly. (2020, August 27). DuBois Surname Meaning and Origin. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/dubois-last-name-meaning-and-origin-1422497 Powell, Kimberly. "DuBois Surname Meaning and Origin." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/dubois-last-name-meaning-and-origin-1422497 (accessed May 28, 2023).