The Douglas Archives

A collection of historical and genalogical records

William Douglas's Blog (566)

April Newsletter - out now!

April Newsletter ready to download or read online.

We are experimenting with a new format, which you can read as a Flip Book, or download to your PC or laptop.…


Added by William Douglas on April 12, 2022 at 9:28 — 1 Comment

Marquis of Douglas Ambassador to St. Petersburg.

The Marquis of Douglas, son of the Duke of Hamilton, was sent in 1807 as Ambassador to St. Petersburg. 

The Marquis of Douglas in 1808 was allowed to pass through France on his way home from Russia, his health being unequal to a sea passage.

This seems to have been a 'Special Mission'.

The Duke in 1807 was Archibald Hamilton, 9th Duke of Hamilton.  His son, Alexander, later 10th Duke of Hamilton, was presumably Marquis of Douglas in 1807?

Is this…


Added by William Douglas on March 15, 2022 at 21:00 — No Comments

Glenfunan games

The Glenfunan Games is a new way to learn about Douglas history and heritage using play for all ages.

Test your knowledge with the Quickfire Quiz or a word game

Colour in…


Added by William Douglas on March 11, 2022 at 20:11 — 1 Comment

Was Erkembald an early Douglas?

Erkembald fitz Erkembald, who had a 'set of the customary' five manors in England seems to have been a progenitor of several families.

Is Erkembald just a common name of the time (C1100) or was he just one person from Flanders who made merry with the women of England and Scotalnd and started one, or several, dynasties?

I have this rather curiously worded entry in the Douglas Archives:

William de Duglas, the first of the family in record, between 1175 and 1199,…


Added by William Douglas on February 27, 2022 at 10:20 — 2 Comments

Dryfebridge Cemetery - burial place of the Johnstone-Douglas family

A correspondent has provide photographs of a Johnstone-Douglas of Lockerbie final resting place. 

Dryfebridge Cemetery is a sleepy looking cemetery that lacks tender loving care and is fast disappearing as it is reclaimed by Mother Nature.

If you are family member, or live nearby, and are looking for a project, then this might be for…


Added by William Douglas on February 20, 2022 at 17:31 — No Comments

Interpretating families from their heraldry

As you will know, I often post a question based on a Douglas armorial that has surfaced, hoping that someone may be able to decipher it and help with the genealogy.

This weekend, I have been adding descriptors of ancient Douglas seals to about 20 of our ancestors.  These seals were appended to documents for marriages and for the acquisition and disposal of lands, and so on.  They help identify their owners and their activities on specific dates.

A seal for George Douglas of…


Added by William Douglas on February 20, 2022 at 17:00 — 5 Comments

Letter from Mary, Queen of Scots to the French Ambassador to England

This letter was sent to the French ambassador to England less than two months following Mary's daring escape from Lochleven castle on the 2nd May 1568, where she had been imprisoned following her forced abdication in favour of the infant James VI. Mary's escape from Lochleven was aided by George Douglas, the brother of the landowner,…


Added by William Douglas on January 28, 2022 at 19:10 — No Comments

Elizabeth "Lizbeth" Baird - "Mother Douglass"

Elizabeth "Lizbeth" Baird was daughter of Lewis M. Baird's Zebedee B. who fought alongside 6+ of his brothers in the Civil War. She was the wife of Andrew Douglass and was affectionately known as "Mother Douglas" for her vital role in caring for her son, George Washington Douglas's six children after their mother, Ollie Marshall's, untimely death in Newcomb, TN in 1922 of viral infection at the age of 30.

Lizbeth is pictured with Jessie Esler (right) with brother…


Added by William Douglas on January 12, 2022 at 16:30 — 1 Comment

Sir William Arbuthnot of Kittybrewster (1950-2021

The news of the death of Sir William Arbuthnot in October has only just reached me.

Known to many as Kittybrewster, he was a Wikipedian and genealogist, and it seems in his spare time, a London banker.

His brother James, Baron Arbuthnot of Edrom, of Edrom in the County of Berwick PC, reported:

...he had awful Parkinson's Disease, and…


Added by William Douglas on January 4, 2022 at 11:05 — 1 Comment

New Years Honours - 2022

BBC Wales - Colin Jackson's Raise Your Game - Training ground - Jill Douglas

Congratulations to Jill Douglas who has been appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the  New Years Honours - 2022 for services to for services to Sport and Charity.

See: …


Added by William Douglas on January 3, 2022 at 13:12 — 1 Comment

Is this a Douglas seal?

Found in central Scotland, this seal could be the winged heart of a Douglas family. But is it?

And if not, whose crest might it be?…


Added by William Douglas on December 30, 2021 at 23:32 — No Comments

Who is J. Boleyn Douglas?

Seaforth House, Simonstown.

“Captain Thomas Talbot Harrington, of the East India Company, was born in Wiltshire in 1780, and moved to the Cape in 1814 and built a house which he named after his wife's (Jemima Douglas 1784-1820) uncle, the Earl of Seaforth. The house was subsequently dismantled after his…


Added by William Douglas on December 3, 2021 at 14:35 — 1 Comment

The tale of Elizabeth and Margaret Douglas ;

blue sky above grey stone building with outer wall and tree in foreground with white blossom

Acknowledgement: Thank you to Dr Amy Blakeway, lecturer at the University of Kent and author of Regency in Sixteenth-Century Scotland, and Historic…


Added by William Douglas on November 30, 2021 at 13:30 — No Comments

Black Watch sketch book

A remarkable artist’s sketch book has come to light in, I think, a house clearance. 

I have been researching who the subjects might be and find that they were all in or serving with the Royal Highlanders (Black Watch) in Mesopotamia in 1916. 

With a couple of exceptions, those whose portraits I have seen were either killed on wounded.

A. Douglas.

Embarked, Marseilles, 5th December, 1915.

Disembarked, Basrah,…


Added by William Douglas on October 28, 2021 at 11:13 — No Comments

Mural of African American freedom fighter Frederick Douglass.

Not many followers will have passed along Lower Gilmore Place in Edinburgh recently, so won't have spotted a powerful new addition to the urban landscape: a striking mural of African American freedom fighter Frederick Douglass.

A close up of Frederick Douglass' bearded face on a mural

Added by William Douglas on October 17, 2021 at 19:24 — No Comments

Battle of Old Byland - memorial planned

The Battle of Old Byland was part of First War of Scottish Independence, fought on 14th October 1322 on Scawton Moor, Yorkshire, England.

The Battle of Old Byland (also known as the Battle of Byland Moor and Battle of Byland Abbey) was a significant encounter between Scots and English troops in Yorkshire in October 1322, forming part of the Wars of Scottish Independence. It was a victory for the Scots, the most significant since Bannockburn, though on a far smaller scale.

I am…


Added by William Douglas on September 22, 2021 at 10:22 — No Comments

Which Brigadier Douglas?

I am attempting to identify which officer this item refers to.

Can you help?

From the history of the 37th Regiment

In mid-April (1858) a column from the recently relieved Lucknow under Brigadier Lugard attacked the rebels in the rear at the Jaunpore bridge. Kunwar Singh fled southwards towards the Ganges, pursued by two columns of British troops, including one comprised of 37th soldiers under Brigadier Douglas. This came up with the enemy…


Added by William Douglas on September 7, 2021 at 11:36 — 2 Comments

The valiant Scottish Earl Douglas, also called 'Black Dudley', in a black cap with a little medal, profile - or is it?

In the early 16th century Charles II D'Amboise commissioned Bernardino de' Conti to do a portrait painting for him in 1505 AD. Although a friend and patron of Leonardo Da Vinci, D'Amboise picked de' Conti for his traditional style of oil painting.

Prominently inscribed on the top left the painting reads, "The Earl of Douglas surnamed Black Dudley"…


Added by William Douglas on September 5, 2021 at 10:30 — 1 Comment

Not the Front Stairs!

Not the Front Stairs!


Added by William Douglas on August 31, 2021 at 14:00 — No Comments

Queen's 2021 Birthday Honours

Congratulation go to the following on their appointments in Her Majesty's Birthday Honours:

• Commander of the Order of the British Empire: Susan Frances DOUGLAS, Chief Executive Officer, Eden Academy Trust, and Senior Adviser, Schools, British Council. For services to Education; High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire

• Member of the Order of the British Empire:  Clive Anthony DOUGLAS, Chair of the Board of Trustees, The Boleyn Trust. For services to Education; London

• Member of…


Added by William Douglas on June 13, 2021 at 21:00 — No Comments

Monthly Archives















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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