The Douglas Archives

A collection of historical and genalogical records

Digging deep to find the Dutch/French connection

I have been rooting around in the French Ministry of Culture's database (I know, I know) and found a photograph of the tomb of Jean-Louis Désiré, Baron of Bois-David, and his wife Christine-Hélène Jeanne of Douglas, which is in St. Martin Parish Churchyard, Wilwisheim, Bas-Rhin, Alsace - presumably their burial place.

I now know that Thede Boisdavid family belongs to the nobility of Brittany. Its original name was that of David. Its author, Pierre David, Sieur de la Botardière and Chesne-Moreau, in the diocese of Nantes, married to Jeanne le Tixier, was received in 1588 auditor, then in 1616 advisor master in the Chamber of Accounts of Nantes and was ennobled by these functions. His son, Pierre David, Sieur de la Botardière, married to Anne Avril, received in 1644 Conseiller Master in the Audit Chamber of Nantes, was maintained in his nobility of extraction by judgment of November 8, 1668 (aliàs February 15, 1669) . He obtained letters patent from King Louis XIV in 1672 authorizing him and his two sons, Urbain and Pierre, to substitute the name of David for BOISDAVID, under which their descendants continued to the present day.

Boisdavid's family was represented at the beginning of the 19th century by two brothers, Jean-Désiré and Constant, both of whom had left male posterity. The oldest of them, Jean-Désiré de Boisdavid, born in Nantes in 1781, lieutenant-colonel, married to Miss Douglas, received the hereditary title of baron by letters patent from King Louis XVIII of March 7, 1818.

However, I was confused as to whether Miss Douglas was Fanny Charlotte Catherine de Douglas as indicated in one family tree, or Christine-Hélène Jeanne de Douglas, as indicated in another, and on the grave marker.  Fanny was the stated daughter of Sir Robert, Baronnet (sic) and Jeannette Guillaumine van Zuylen van Nyevelt, but who were they.

The van Zuylen van Nyevel family is extensive, and historically interesting, so took a lot of searching before I made the discovery.  Fanny and Christian are sisters, the daughter of Lt Col Sir Robert Douglas, himself the son of Charles Ayton Douglas of Kinglassie, and a brother of Admiral Sir Charles Douglas of Carr.

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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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