The Douglas Archives

A collection of historical and genalogical records

March 2, 2012

Dear Cousins and others interested in the origins of William Douglas and Anne Motley Douglas,

Here is a summary of where we are with respect to the search for the origins of William Douglas, b. abt 1610, and his wife, Anne Motley.

Anne, you will recall, was from Ringstead, Northamptonshire, England. When the volunteer group, FreeReg, started turning up many Douglases in Ringstead and the surrounding villages, some of us began to wonder if William was from the same area. If so, it would help to explain how he met and married Anne. Having done this from Scotland always seemed like a stretch (pun intended).

We found a professional genealogist, Susan Comont, who lives in the area, who has done quite a bit of genealogy research as a professional, and for part of her work life was employed in the Northamptonshire Records Office (NRO).

We accepted pledges of money from many of you totaling $850 with one of the cousins offering to contribute more if thorough research was going to cost more.

Susan went to work for us, guided by a paper produced by Betsey Howes that summarized all that we knew from this side of the pond. 

To date, Susan has generated two reports. They are attached (See below). In the work so far, Susan has not found anything new about Anne or William in the places she has looked. However, she has found many Douglases in the area but we can’t tell if how or if they are related to William. They lived a generation or two since he was born – perhaps simply a reflection that public record-keeping was getting better over time.

The expenses incurred so far by Susan amount to $265 and she has been paid for her work to date.

Unfortunately, Susan’s father has taken ill. Susan must stop work for us in order to care for her father. We asked her for a recommendation of person who could carry on. She had none to give us. We sense that she is rather tightly focused on her father, understandably so.

In the meantime, Betsey has searched for and found four professional genealogists in the area. She also knows that the NRO will do research for us but at higher hourly rate. Betsey is in the process of approaching these “candidates” to see if our work is the kind they could undertake. What we want to have done may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

If we can get work moving forward again, the priority will be on Anne. The reasoning is that when her last remaining brother died, she initiated from Boston, MA, a claim for her inheritance. Her witnesses as to her identify were acquaintances living in Boston but who, like Anne, had been former residents of Ringstead and friends of her family. We think there may be a paper trail. At least we have some information about Anne, in contrast to William about whom we have nothing.

Meanwhile, the FreeReg volunteers continue to transcribe, translate, and publish information from the Northamptionshire parish registers. We continue to monitor their output, observing any Motleys and Douglases who show up. We have many pieces of what seems like a jigsaw puzzle that need to be put together. Anyone with a knack for solving puzzles?

If and when we need to collect more of your pledges, we will let you know.

Best regards,

Ed Douglass

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Attachments:

Making conections

The more information you can give about the people you mention, the more chance there is of someone else connecting with your family.

Dates and places of births, deaths and marriages all help to place families.

Professions also help.

'My great-grandmother mother was a Douglas from Montrose' does not give many clues to follow up! But a bit of flesh on the bones makes further research possible. But if we are told who she married, what his profession was and where the children were baptised, then we can get to work.

Maybe it is time to update the information in your profile?


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