The Douglas Archives

A collection of historical and genalogical records

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 despite all the doctors could do, he finally succumbed on 7th October at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

Tributes for him share my sentiments entirely.

K.C. writes:
After collaborating with Sir William Arbuthnot of Kittybrewster on WikiTree for several years, particularly researching and documenting difficult-to-connect Arbuthnot lines, we struck up quite an odd little email friendship and touched base frequently. His appreciation of the 'art' of genealogy and his commitment to creating an accurate Arbuthnot family tree, one that reaches around the world, leaves behind an incredible legacy.

As leader of Wiki Tree's Arbuthnot Project, his enthusiasm was catching. He shared with me how his father introduced him to genealogy when he was 12, that his "memory of how my cousins fitted together was so poor that I had to write them all down," thus setting him off on a journey that led to an astounding collection of perhaps thousands of Arbuthnot branches connecting hundreds of thousands of people spread across the globe. "Very respectable folk," he once wrote, "until you get to a rogue or two – but, every family has at least one rogue, I suspect." He believed, though, that with each successive generation, "mankind can outgrow its limitations." Aptly stated, as William strove to grow beyond his own limitations and connect his extended family together, for himself and for his progeny. It is unlikely any such recent genealogical undertaking has reached so far and so wide as Sir William's body of work has done.

Kittybrewster contributed to many Wikipedia articles, sharing his knowledge of Scotland, and of his family and assisting others with their entries.

He ran the prodigious Arbuthnot family website, responding to numerous enquiries from those seeking details of their connections.

The Douglas Archives owes a debt to Sir William for his generosity is sorting out confusing name similarities, and not a few Arbuthnot/Arbuthnott misspellings.

Laus deo

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Comment by William Douglas on January 4, 2022 at 13:05

He was my 4th cousin, twice removed

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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