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

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

The chronicles of the Douglass family reach back into Scottish history to an ancient tribe known as the Picts. The ancestors of the Douglass family 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."

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When the first dictionaries were invented in the last few hundred years, spelling gradually became standardized. Before that time, scribes spelled according to sound. Names were often recorded under different spelling variations every time they were written. Douglass has been written 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.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Douglass 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 Douglass History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Some of the Douglass 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.

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The crossing to North America did not seem so great in comparison with the hardships many Scots endured at home. It was long, expensive, and cramped, but also rewarding. North America offered land and the chance for settlers to prove themselves in a new place. And many did prove themselves as they fought to forge a new nation in the American War of Independence. The ancestors of those Scots can now experience much of their once-lost heritage through the Clan societies and highland games that have sprung up across North America in the last century. A search of immigration and passenger lists revealed many important, early immigrants to North America bearing the name of Douglass:

Douglass Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • William Douglass, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1640
  • Robert Douglass, who arrived in Maryland in 1640
  • Francis Douglass, who landed in Maryland in 1652
  • Henry Douglass, who landed in Massachusetts in 1657
  • Alexander Douglass, who landed in Maryland in 1675


Douglass Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Roger Douglass, who arrived in Virginia in 1705
  • Samuel Douglass, who landed in New England in 1730
  • David Douglass, who landed in Georgia in 1740
  • Collins Douglass, who landed in Virginia in 1789

Douglass Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Hugh Douglass, aged 5, arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1804
  • Ann Douglass, who landed in America in 1805
  • Campbell Douglass, aged 31, arrived in South Carolina in 1812
  • Daniel Douglass, aged 34, landed in New York in 1812
  • Andrew Douglass, who arrived in New York, NY in 1815


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  • Andrew Ellocott Douglass (1867-1962), American astronomer
  • Frederick Douglass (1817-1895), American abolitionist, editor, orator, author, statesman and reformer
  • Astyanax Douglass (1897-1975), American Major League Baseball catcher for the Cincinnati Reds in 1921 and 1925
  • Robert Gilchrist Douglass (b. 1947), former American football quarterback
  • Charles Douglass, American actor
  • Gregory Douglass (b. 1980), American singer-songwriter
  • Dale Dwight Douglass (b. 1936), American professional PGA golfer
  • Major-General Robert Wilkins Jr. Douglass (1900-1976), American Senior Air Force Member of US Delegation on the Joint Brazil-United States Defense Commission (1954-)
  • William "Bill" Douglass (1923-1994), American jazz drummer who worked with Benny Goodman, Ben Webster, Lena Horne and June Christy
  • Robert Gilchrist "Bobby" Douglass (b. 1947), former American NFL football quarterback

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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.

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  1. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  2. 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.
  3. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  4. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. The Charters of David I The Written Acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of His Son Henry, Earl of Northumerland, 1139-52. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999. Print.
  5. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  7. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  8. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
  9. 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).
  10. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Scotch Irish Pioneers In Ulster and America. Montana: Kessinger Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Douglass Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Douglass 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 14 September 2014 at 17:43.

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