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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the Scottish Douglas family come from? What is the Scottish Douglas family crest and coat of arms? When did the Douglas family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Douglas family history?

The ancient Pictish-Scottish family that first used the name Douglas lived in Moray, where the family has a long and distinguished history dating back to early times. Some claim the name is derived from a knight of 770 who after aiding King Solvathius of Scotland in his great battle with Donald Bain, King of the Western Isles was granted the lands of Clydesdale. Others claim the name was originally derived from Theobaldus, a Flemming and were granted the lands of Douglas Water. In Gaelic, the name is Dudhglas means "black stream."


The arts of spelling and translation were yet in their infancies when surnames began, so there are an enormous number of spelling variations of the names in early Scottish records. This is a particular problem with Scottish names because of the numerous times a name might have been loosely translated to English from Gaelic and back. Douglas has been spelled Douglas, Douglass, Dougliss, Dougless, Dowglas, Duglas, Duglass and many more.

First found in Moray, where the progenitor of the Clan is thought to be Archibald of Douglasdale (1198-1239). The Douglasses of Drumlanrig claim descent from Sir William Douglas, who was granted the lands of Drumlanrig in 1412 by King James I. The grandson of Archibald Douglasdale, known as William the Hardy, served as a companion-in-arms to William Wallace, the patriot leader of the Scottish wars of Independence. His two sons carried on his noble reputation. The first, William, was the progenitor of the Douglases of Morton and was granted the Earldom of Morton in 1458 by King James II. The second, Andrew, and his family became known as the Black Douglases.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Douglas research. Another 463 words(33 lines of text) covering the years 1174, 1243, 1298, 1220, 1274, 1328, 1400, 1380, 1403, 1360, 1408, 1402, 1404, 1540, 1595, 1594, 1674, 1611, 1662 and are included under the topic Early Douglas History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 893 words(64 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Douglas Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Douglas family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 107 words(8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


This oppression forced many Scots to leave their homelands. Most of these chose North America as their destination. Although the journey left many sick and poor, these immigrants were welcomed the hardy with great opportunity. Many of these settlers stood up for their newfound freedom in the American War of Independence. More recently, Scots abroad have recovered much of their collective heritage through highland games and other patriotic functions and groups. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has located various settlers bearing the name Douglas:

Douglas Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Hugh Douglas settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Archeball Douglas, who arrived in Virginia in 1652
  • John Douglas settled in Virginia in 1655
  • Lee William Douglas settled in Virginia in 1655
  • Jno Douglas, who arrived in Virginia in 1655

Douglas Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Cha Douglas, who landed in Virginia in 1703
  • Alexander Douglas, who landed in South Carolina in 1750
  • John Douglas, who arrived in America in 1760-1763
  • Adam Douglas, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1765
  • Alex'r Douglas, who arrived in South Carolina in 1772

Douglas Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Samuel Douglas, aged 18, arrived in New York, NY in 1803
  • Saml Douglas, aged 18, arrived in New York, NY in 1803
  • Campbell Douglas, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1813
  • William Douglas, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1814
  • Wm Douglas, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1817


  • Aaron Douglas (1900-1979), American artist
  • Stephen Arnold Douglas (1813-1861), American statesman and the Democratic Party nominee for President in 1860
  • Frederick Douglas (1818-1895), American abolitionist, orator and journalist
  • Donald Wills Douglas (1892-1981), American aircraft industrialist and founder of the Douglas Aircraft Company in 1921 (the company later merged into McDonnell Douglas Corporation)
  • Kirk (Issur Danielovitch) Douglas (b. 1916), American actor and film producer and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • William Orville Douglas (1898-1980), American Associate Justice of the Supreme Court
  • Donna Douglas (b. 1933), American character actress best-known for her role as Elly May Clampett in the long-running television series The Beverly Hillbillies
  • Marjory Stoneman Douglas (1890-1998), American journalist, writer, feminist, environmentalist and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • James Henderson Douglas Jr. (1899-1988), American lawyer and senior-level official in the United States Government, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, United States Deputy Secretary of Defense (1959-1961)
  • Jesse Douglas (1897-1965), American mathematician, one of two winners of the first Fields Medals in 1936



  • A Branch of the Douglas Family With Its Maryland & Virginia Connections by Harry Wright Newman.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Jamais arriere
Motto Translation: Never behind.


Douglas Clan Badge
Douglas Clan Badge

Buy JPG Image

A clan is a social group made up of a number of distinct branch-families that actually descended from, or accepted themselves as descendants of, a common ancestor. The word clan means simply children. The idea of the clan as a community is necessarily based around this idea of heredity and is most often ruled according to a patriarchal structure. For instance, the clan chief represented the hereditary "parent" of the entire clan. The most prominent example of this form of society is the Scottish Clan system...


Septs of the Distinguished Name Douglas
Caffie, Cavers, Clendenin, Clendenine, Clendening, Clendenink, Clendennine, Clendenning, Clendennink, Clendining, Clendinnine, Clendinning, Clendinnink, Clenindin, Dawglas, Dawglass, Dawgless, Dawgliss, Dogles, Douglas, Douglase, Douglass, Dougles, Dougless, Douglis, Dougliss, Douglles, Dowglas, Draysdal, Draysdale, Draysdel, Draysdell, Draysdil, Draysdile, Draysdul, Draysdyle, Drisdal, Drisdale, Drisdele, Drisdelle, Drisdil, Drisdile, Drisdul, Drisdyle, Drisedal, Drisedale, Drisedil, Drisedile, Drisedul, Drisedyle and more.


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  1. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Scots Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Mordern Application of the Art and Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  2. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  3. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  4. Moody David. Scottish Family History. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0806312688).
  5. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and David Hicks. The Highland Clans The Dynastic Origins, Cheifs and Background of the Clans. New York: C.N. Potter, 1968. Print.
  6. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  7. Donaldson, Gordon and Robert S. Morpeth. Who's Who In Scotish History. Wales: Welsh Academic Press, 1996. Print. (ISBN 186057-0054).
  8. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
  9. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
  10. Black, George F. The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3).
  11. ...

The Douglas Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Douglas Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 11 October 2014 at 11:30.

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