The Douglas Archives

A collection of historical and genalogical records

Myself and others are interested in William Douglass (born 1610 in ?, died 1682 in New London,CT) and confirming his birthplace.  Tradition has it as Scotland but recent work by Betsey Howe suggests that it William's family came from Easton Maudit, Northamptonshire. Much of my information comes from a book put together in 1879 (Douglas, Charles Henry James, A collection of family records, Providence: E.L. Freeman & Co., 1879.)  Other information we have is summarized below:


DEACON WILLIAM DOUGLAS, the immigrant ancestor, was b. 9th August, 1610,doubtless in Scotland ; m. probably about 1636, Ann MATTLE, dau. of Thomas MATTLE of Ringstead, England. In 1640, with his wife Ann and two children, Ann and Robert, William DOUGLAS went to New England. Tradition says that they landed at Cape Ann. They settled first in Gloucester, but removed within [p.1 88] the year to Boston, where he is first mentioned in the Boston records on 31st June, 1640 , when he was made a Freeman. Here moved shortly to Ipswich where he was entitled to a share of the public land, 28th February, 1641. There he remained for about four years,returning to Boston in 1645. He was a cooper by trade and on 1st May,1646, there is record of his purchasing from Walter MERRY and Thomas ANCHOR, a dwelling house, shop and land. Later he went to New London, Connecticut, and obtained considerable property through purchase and grants from the town. One of his farms was inherited by his son William and has remained in the hands of descendants for over two centuries. In 1662-1663 he was appointed one of the Appraisers of Property for the town of New London. The land for a new church was purchased from him and the graveyard still remains on that place. He and Mr. WILLERBY were appointed to deliver provisions to Commissary TRACY at Norwich during King Philip's War. His education for the times was liberal. He held many important offices in the town at different times. He was Deputy to the General Court in 1672 and once or twice later. In May, 1670, his wife, then sixty years old made a journey to Boston to establish her claim as heir to her father's property. She d. in New London in 1685 and William DOUGLAS himself d. there on 26th July, 1682
-per Colonial families of the United States of America
(as quoted in Descendants of Robert Douglas, (Link updated 19 August 2014)


I look forward to compiling information here to sort out what everyone knows and hopefully resolve this roadblock once and for all.

See also this discussion:

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Replies to This Discussion bill.. Let me see if i get this correct.. you are saying that dna disproves the fact that robert who's father was archbald 4th earl of morton is the father of william?

I am saying that it appears unlikely - it is not disproved

Michael,  What I am saying is that the last known SNP mutations of all the known descendants of William 1610 who immigrated to America in abt. 1640 and lived in Boston, Ipswich and finally New London, and whose wife was from Ringstead, Northamptonshire, England, does not match the last known SNP mutations of any of the other Douglases in the FTDNA data base, including those identified with the Earls of Morton.  They are in a different Haplogroup!  I don't know if the descendants of Robert and Jean Ross Douglas of Scotland are really descendants of the Earls of Morton any more that we knew William was.  So to absolutely disprove that our William was not a descendant of Robert and Jean Ross Douglas, we would need to have the DNA of a proven descendant of theirs to compare with.  

While our William is not closely related, i.e. does not have a recent common paternal line ancestor, with any of the other Douglases in the FTDNA data base, he has a more recent common ancestor with people of very dfferent surnames.  With further SNP testing of someone in our William group, it is possible we could find a recent match with others that might tell us more about where our line was recently, recently meaning 500-1500 years ago.  There is a new FTDNA test called Big-Y that could find closer relatives for us, but it is very expensive.  Right now, I think it is about $700.  It will probably come down in the future, or go on sale, but if there is any interest, we should probably wait until the first batch of tests are completed and analyzed.  A number of folks in the R1b-U106+ Haplogroup project have ordered this test, and several of us are paying attention to the work of that project.

If any of the William Douglas 1610 paternal line descendants are interested in having the Big-Y SNP test, look at the FTDNA web site and join the R1b-U106+ project.  Also please let me know.

Bill Hough 

William I can trace my wife's ancestors back to George Douglas 1730 Culworth

a number of people seem to be stuck here - there must be a connection somewhere!


Does your wife have any male line cousins that also descend from this George of Culworth?  That is any cousins with surname Douglas?  If so, a Y-DNA test could possibly show a close relationship to the descendants of William Douglas who immigrated to New England in about 1640, and has many American descendants.

Betsey Howes believes all the Northhamptonshire Douglases descend from Thomas and Agnes of Chipping-Warden, abt 1527.   I think Culworth is near Chipping-Warden.

Bill Hough, (descendant of 1640 immigrant, William, but most recent Douglas ancestor was a grandmother, and I have no second cousins named Douglas.)

My wife has 4 cousins still alive all direct decendent's of George 1730 all with the surname of Douglas Roy 1943, Brian 1949, Alan 1945 and John 1938.

Alfred,   Gary Douglas (who can be found in earlier discussions) is also descended from George b abt 1730, d 1801, m Anne Pittom 1755.  His type is I1 (# 255030).  He does not match William b 1610, our line's earliest proven ancestor,  whose type is R1b.    We need to find a Douglas from the extensive Chipping Warden family to do a DNA test to find out if William did come from that family.  So far we've found only females from the Chipping Warden line - no living males.

Betsey Howes

I'm sorry, I hadn't realized Gary Douglas had tested.  Unless there was what is termed a "non paternal event," such as an adoption, in Gary's line, or an error in his paper trace to George, his results do mean that your wife, her 4 Douglas cousins, and Gary do not descend from the same distant (at least 5000 years ago) male line ancestor as we descendants of 1610 William, the American immigrant.  So for our purposes, testing of any of her cousins would not prove or support any more recent paternal line relationship to us.  But if any of them do have a DNA test and they turn out to be in Haplogroup R1 rather than I1, please let us know.

Bill Hough 

I will check with the cousins to see if any of them have done a DNA test also as Ancestry are not doing any Test outside of America we will have to look elsewhere.

Alfred, The family finder test is not very useful for male line Y-DNA info unless it gives an accurate Y-Chromosome Haplogroup. From Betsey's reply above, it looks like Gary, who lives in Northants, had his test with Family Tree DNA (the 6 digit number is his FTDNA kit number.)  If you look at the Douglas project on the FTDNA web site, you will see that FTDNA says Gary's Haplogroup is I1, and the known the descendants of William 1610 are in Haplogroup R1b1a2a1a1a4 in FTDNA's current nomenclature.  This basically means they do not have a common male line ancestor for at least 45,000 years (I said 5000 years in the above post, which was a wild guess, so I looked up the ISOGG Haplogroup Tree for when I split from K, and K is the parent of R.  You can look this up as well at

Bill Hough

Hi Alfred, just spotted this post. Is your wife's George Douglas the same as mine who I have born Chipping Warden 1726, died Culworth 1801. He was married to an Ann Pittom.


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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