Bubley is a very unusual family name, believed to originate in Russia. It has now spread to Germany, the United States, Britain, and South Africa.
On July 12, 1904, a 28-year-old Jewish Russian man named Israel Bubli, who had been living a short time in London with relatives, arrived at Ellis Island aboard the S.S. Potsdam, which had departed from Rotterdam in The Netherlands. Originally from the Russian city of Vilna (now the city of Vilnius, Lithuania), in the district or province of Vilna Guberniya, Israel came to America to establish a new life. A year or two later, his wife, Frieda Rodzinski Bubli, joined him in New York. While the spelling of their surname was assigned by Ellis Island officials, it was changed several years later to Bobley. However, Israel's brother, who had established a family in London, spelled his surname Bubley. The name may possibly have been derived from a Hebrew/Arabic word (pronounced similar to, but not precisely like, "bub'lee," meaning "one from Babylon," or "man from Babylon."