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:

Views: 6843

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Thank you for starting this discussion, Douglas.

Earlier this year, I wrote to everyone that I could find who was called Douglas in Northamptonshire in an attempt to find someone whose family went back 4 generations.

I was not particularly surprised to get no responses! Just disappointed.

We will just have to keep looking.

Yours aye,

is our william douglas a descendant of clan douglas

Hello William,

I have just joined this site and am slowly working through all the data ! Just to let you know I can trace my roots back six generations into Northants to Samuel Douglas 1759 - 1822. I am also fairly happy that his father was George Douglas c1730 - 1801.


Gary UK

Gary, you are very welcome as a member of our community.

You will know that we are all looking for the origins of Deacon William Douglas, born 1610, and who married Anne Motley/Mattle of Ringstead, Northamptonshire, so Northants' Douglases are of particular interest.  There is a discussion group here:

I have not found your ancestors in the Douglas Archives - yet!

Yours aye,


Hello William,

As of yet I have not uploaded any details of my ancestry, I am still absorbing the data on this site! My main target of research is trying to find a link/common ancestor between the numerous Douglases living all over Northants as indicated in the Censuses, FreeBMD, FreeReg etc. I have hit a brick wall, seemingly of Hadrianic proportions with George c1730. Betsey Howe picked up one of my plaintive pleas for help and since then I have followed with great interest ' The Search For Deacon Douglas' ! Of course 'my' Douglases may be completely unrelated to 'your' Douglases, but you never know...

Gary, Have you thought about having a DNA test done to see how you match the known male descendants of Deacon William?  There are a number of results on the Family Tree DNA site.  If you decide to do this, you would want to have the test done by a lab that tests the same markers as Family Tree DNA.  The obvious way to do this is to use the FTDNA lab, which might be a pain from England.  There is also an active Yahoo group on Douglas DNA and I am sure someone there could help you pick a lab.  If you match, it would help answer your question as the descendants of Deacon William don't seem to match folks who believe themselves to be descendants of Scottish lines.

Hello William, I have thought about having a DNA test, but it is quite expensive over here, cheapest is around £100, and I am not sure what I would gain from it. There are different strains of Douglas and unless anyone else from the George Douglas/Culworth strain has been tested I don't see how it would help me to uncover my roots back past George. Has anyone from the current strain of Douglas 'nobility' tested ? If they have and they match us 'commoners' that would be very ineresting !

The 'Northants Douglases' is proving to be a very frustrating puzzle. Even a cursory search of the 1841 Census shows at least 30 Douglas families living in separate addresses ! I took advantage of Ancestry's free weekend viewing of the 1911 Census and there are still many Douglas families in Northants. Another ponderable is that the only Douglases in Culworth were my Douglases. We stayed in Culworth until my gg-gf, Samuel, who was christened there. He spent time in jail and my g-gf Henery was born in Warwickshire, so Samuel was our last connexion in Northants.

Gary, DNA testing has uncovered more "strains" of Douglases than can be accounted for by descent from Scottish nobility.  The line that produced the William who immigrated to America in about 1640 with a wife from Northants is one of these.   In other words, there is no close relationship of his descendants to any Douglases who claim descent from Scottish nobility.  You can view the several lines where current Douglases fit by going to the Family Tree DNA site, Search for Douglas, and then look at the Y-DNA results.  Every distinct Haplogroup is a separate line, with no common male line ancestor in the last several thousand years.  The descendants of our William Douglas are in the category labeled "R1b group type 1."   I am no expert on DNA, but a DNA test would tell you whether or not you might be related, with estimates of how closely, to others that have been tested in any of the groups listed.  You might ask Beryl Turner whose is one of the group administrators and whose email is given on the FTDNA site what to expect and maybe how to spend less on a test.  It would be very interesting to those of us who descend from William, the 1640 immigrant, who may not have been Scottish at all, whether he matches a current Douglas from Northants.  As you know, Betsey and company have discovered many Douglases there in the 1500 and 1600s.

Ah, the penny has dropped now ! Sorry, I'm a bit slow on the uptake at times ! If I am classed as a Northants Douglas and match William's DNA in some form or fashion it lends credence to Betsey et al's theory that William was a man of Nortants, and not necessarily Scottish. I did consider the comment "born 9th August, 1610, doubtless in Scotland" to be a  bit of an unsubstansiated assumption.

Sorry just back from vacation - as for the DNA test, there is a piggy bank for it, I try to put in $50 a year for people who need it, feel free to use it :-)

Hi Gary.

Very interested to note that you have an ancester in Samuel Douglas (1759-1822).

I have been searching for a Samuel Douglas that was alive around the same time as my great.great.great grandfather Rev James Douglas as I have in my possesion a letter (dated 19/05/1817) written by one Samuel Douglas to Rev James Douglas.

The letter concerns the will of Ellen the Countess Dowager Conyngham (1725 - 1816) and a bequest that she made to one John Douglas of Grantham (1774-1839) and his four sisters. 

They were the children of Thomas Douglas of Grantham (1732-1787) and his wife Harriett Lucke.  Thomas was brother to Rev James Douglas.

The letter seems to imply that there was some skulduggery going on with regards the bequest and that Samuel, who must have been living in the London area, was trying to get to the bottom of it by visiting Doctors Commons and viewing the will.

Samuel is writing in response to a letter that Rev James had written to his mother and mentions in it the following names:-

Cousin Margaret Douglas

Joshua Douglas Esq (who apparently lived at Coghill Hall, which was purchased by Lady Ellen in 1796 and the name changed to Conyngham Hall).

He also asks where Marmaduke Douglas lived and in what part of Wales he died.

Does any of the above tie in with your research of your family?


Kenneth David Morton Douglas


I have direct relation to "Captain" Samuel Douglass 1723-1816 (documented immigration in 1730 from Scotland to MA then NH and in the Revolutionary War)

He had a brother, John Douglas 1723 - 1816.

And a son Samuel "Deacon" Douglas

(I apologize for my use of S and double S)


Documentation shows a Samuel Douglass who's son is Samuel 'Deacon' Douglass 1767-1841

The 1st child born in MA and died in NH (he would have been my 4th great grandfather.) 

(His son, b. 1806 - d. (1878 or 1873) I have a picture of his grave / headstone)

Are we in the same general historical and geographical area that we could/should investigate this further? (I may be less educated in research than most of you)

Bernadine Douglass


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?

© 2022   Created by William Douglas.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service