The Douglas Archives

A collection of historical and genalogical records

Scot's £220,000 bequest to 20 towns called Douglas

A man has left about £220,000 in his will to towns across the world which share his Douglas surname.

Solicitors acting on behalf of Eric Gordon Douglas, from Edinburgh, have sent a cheque for £10,887.73 to Douglas Borough Council on the Isle of Man as part of the bequest.

But the council for the island's capital has appealed for more information on Mr Douglas in order to recognise his donation.

Council leader David Christian said: "There was around £220,000 left to 20 places across the globe that shared his surname.

"If we can get more information then that would be excellent. We literally know nothing about the gentleman apart from his name and that we were told by his lawyers that he was from Edinburgh.

"It is very unusual and it would be nice to recognise him. The donation was revealed to councillors at a Policy and Resource Committee meeting last month.

Councillor David Ashford, who also sits on the committee, said: "We are hoping to do something to recognise the gentleman. We went back to his lawyers and checked it was meant for us. I was surprised. We do get bequests but it's rare for someone who has not got an association with the area to leave something."

Anyone with information about Mr Douglas is asked to contact us. We do have an Eric Gordon Douglas in the Douglas Archives. Is it the same man?

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Comment by William Douglas on December 11, 2009 at 18:40
The Hamilton Advertiser, the local newspaper for the village of Douglas in Lanarkshire, reports that the village has missed out on a bequest of £20,000 - indeed all 19 other communities named Douglas, have missed out.

There will be no other cheques, and the one to the Isle of Man version is the only one.

Councillor David Christian, leader of Douglas Borough Council on the island, said: “Initially we were given to understand that Mr Douglas – who had no connection with the Borough of Douglas as far as we are aware – had left similar bequests to some 20 towns around the world which bore his surname.

“We have subsequently received clarification that this is not the case.

“The Borough of Douglas is the only “Douglas” among the 20 or more beneficiaries – which range from professional organisations to charities – of Mr Douglas’s will.”

Some examples of towns which might have benefited from the will: are Douglas, Queensland, Australia; Douglas, New Brunswick, Canada; Douglas, Ontario, Canada; Douglas, County Antrim, Northern Ireland; Douglas, County Cork, Ireland; Douglas, Falkland Islands; Douglas, Taranaki, New Zealand; Douglas, Canterbury, New Zealand; Douglas, Northern Cape, South Africa; Douglas, Chicago, Illinois, USA; Douglas, Indiana, USA; Douglas, Massachusetts, USA; Douglas, Michigan, USA; Douglas, Nebraska, USA.

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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