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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I got a dna test kit from for a christmas gift.. I think it will help settle some things but create others.. the last known descendant of my douglas line would be my great grandmother and so that could be tricky in trying to get it back to the person of this discussion.. her father would a douglas (generation #9 on the geo cites link) and they would shift away from the douglas name at that point.. details to follow when they get back to me on the results..

I had my brother, James Richard Douglas, submit his DNA to FTDNA and it came back as I1-M253-L338.  It also showed another surname (Gordon).  So there must have been a non-parental event that took place way back.  My earliest known ancestor is James Douglas m. to Margaret Elliot in York, Maine in 1731.  Therefore, I figure my Douglas haplotype would likely not be I1 but could be an R.  I have heard of Deacon Douglas and could not find a link to him but sure would like to get beyond 1731 in Maine. 


If your brother's Y-chromosome Haplogroup is I-L338+, then you are not descended from Deacon William Douglas of Ipswich, Boston and New London.  If you look at the Douglas project on the FTDNA web site, , your brother is in the group I1a group type 1.  I don't know if either of the two kits with FTDNA 5 digit kit numbers is your brother, or if they are other descendants of James Douglas of York, Maine.  If you haven't already, you should join the FTDNA Douglas project.  All descendants of Deacon William are in the group R1b Group Type 1 (U106+) on that same project page.  

I don't know what "Jock and Tam" Gordon means, but if you look at the Gordon project on FTDNA, you will find a descendant of your James Douglas, kit 14070, right on the mode of a large group of Gordons and a couple of Parrotts.  He is also one of the 3 in the Douglas group already mentioned.   If you don't already know, you should find out who kit 14970 is and see how far back your lines from James separate.  If the lines are separate all the way back to James, then it is unlikely that there was an NPE in either of your lines since James, and James was in this same Haplogroup.  Could have been a surname change (maybe and NPE) before James.  If your lines separate only recently, then there is a chance that you all really descend from a more recent Gordon.  Hope this all makes sense.  

It seems to me that Betsey Howes once had a theory that the Maine Douglas line may have come from Henry Douglas, who had a close relationship with Deacon William in Boston, but not necessarily a blood relationship.  We haven't found any Henry in the same family as a William in Scotland or England, leading to the suggestion that Henry might have been an indentured servant of William who adopted his surname.  Just an idea.  I will suggest to Betsey that she review you post and the FTDNA data, and please let us know your brother's kit number and join the Douglas surname project on FTDNA if you haven't already.

Bill Hough 

Thank you for responding so promptly.  Your mention of Betsey Howes' theory is very interesting to me.  I had never heard that theory before.  Regarding my brother's haplogroup,  it could be possible that at some point my ancestor, who apparently was a Gordon, took the surname of his wife or mother, who was a Douglas.  If so, then the Douglas haplogroup could be an R, couldn't it?  In that case, how would we find that out.  We did the MtDNA test but that follows my mother's line.  We need something that would follow my father's maternal DNA line.  Anyhow, my brothers kit no. is 14070 and we are registered with FTDNA. 

it appears the geocites link is no longer valid try here anyway I am wondering what the status is have you been able to find out anything more on william of new london?  the autosomol test i took has yet to figure out what group i am in. 

Thank you - I have updated the link.

You should also read this:

 thanks. I've read this.. the link  to the website on there is also incorrect.

william and others.. I Wanted your opnion on this...  I came across a  family tree dna user the other day who was a desendant of daniel douglas one of william of 1610's ancestors he said r1b1... if I am following these old messages U  correctly say this is not true? 

Sorry, Michael.  DNA is not my area of expertise.

me either... Wasn't sure what to make of it

The chain of letters and numbers, eg: R1b1... method of naming Haplogroups has pretty well given way to naming by the main branch (R) plus the terminal downstream SNP exhibited by that individual/group/etc., eg: R-U106. This is because intermediate branch SNPs are continually being found that mean the chained name must be changed,  but with the terminal SNP method, a newfound upstream branch SNP does not change the downstream name.   At one time, R1b1 was equivalent to R-U106, so the William descendant who said that was at one time correct.  

Looking at the current FTDNA Douglas results, it looks like one member of the William 1610 group has had extensive testing done, and has been placed in the R-Z343 Haplogroup.  Z343 is several levels below (newer than) U106.  Looking at the results from the R-U106 Haplogroup study, the designation for the Haplogroup of the William 1610 descendants should more properly be R-Z343*.  The * designates that there have been SNPs discovered downstream of Z343, but the Douglas that has been tested does not exhibit any of them.    That does not mean that he doesn't have any SNPs downstream of Z343, just that no other test subject has the same ones he does.  If another Douglas is tested, there might be a new branch defined downsteam of Z343.

By the way, I have never heard of a Daniel being an ANCESTOR of William 1610.  William had several DESCENDANTS named Daniel.

William the info comes from a desendant of daniel wetherall douglas born  14 Apr 1794 in New London, New London, CT. He died in 1868 in Houghton, Houghton, Mi who's father was daniel douglas son of Robert douglas and sarah edgecomb who's father was thomas douglas who's father was robert who was son of william 1610 so I dunno just throwing it out there... But I see your logic 


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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