Douglass History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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."

Early Origins of the Douglass family

The surname Douglass was 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. [1]

Early History of the Douglass family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Douglass research. Another 232 words (17 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 and printed products wherever possible.

Douglass Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Douglass family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan at this time was Archibald Douglas, (1328-1400), 3rd Earl of Douglas, Earl of Wigtown, Lord of Douglas, Lord of Bothwell and Lord of Galloway, a late medieval Scottish magnate; George Douglas, 1st Earl of Angus (1380-1403), mediaeval Scottish nobleman; Isabel Douglas, Countess of Mar (c. 1360-1408), inherited most of brothers property, excluding only the Douglas lands which could only pass through the male line, she became the most sought after bride in the realm and soon was married to Sir Malcolm Drummond, marriage however failed to produce any children and the Countess soon became the focus of...
Another 354 words (25 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Douglass Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Douglass family to Ireland

Some of the Douglass family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 59 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Douglass migration to the United States +

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 United States in the 17th Century
  • William Douglass, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1640 [2]
  • Robert Douglass, who arrived in Maryland in 1640 [2]
  • Francis Douglass, who landed in Maryland in 1652 [2]
  • Henry Douglass, who landed in Massachusetts in 1657 [2]
  • Alexander Douglass, who landed in Maryland in 1675 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Douglass Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Roger Douglass, who arrived in Virginia in 1705 [2]
  • Samuel Douglass, who landed in New England in 1730 [2]
  • David Douglass, who landed in Georgia in 1740 [2]
  • Collins Douglass, who landed in Virginia in 1789 [2]
Douglass Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Hugh Douglass, aged 5, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1804 [2]
  • Ann Douglass, who landed in America in 1805 [2]
  • Campbell Douglass, aged 31, who arrived in South Carolina in 1812 [2]
  • Daniel Douglass, aged 34, who landed in New York in 1812 [2]
  • A Douglass, aged 22, who landed in Maryland in 1813 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Douglass migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Douglass Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • James Douglass, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1749-1752
  • Robert Douglass, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Thomas Douglass, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Eliza Douglass, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • William Douglass, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Douglass Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • George Douglass, aged 20, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833
  • Margret Douglass, aged 21, who landed in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833
  • Andrew Douglass, aged 22, who landed in Quebec in 1833
  • Margaret Douglass, aged 40, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Salus" in 1833
  • George Douglass, aged 18, a smith, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Salus" in 1833
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Douglass migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Douglass Settlers in Australia in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Peter Douglass, English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for life, transported aboard the "Barwell" in September 1797, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [3]
Douglass Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Douglass, Scottish convict who was convicted in Aberdeen, Scotland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Atlas" on 16th January 1816, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [4]
  • Mr. James Douglass, British Convict who was convicted in Edinburgh, Scotland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Asia" on 5th November 1835, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land)1836 [5]
  • Samuel John Douglass, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1848 [6]
  • Margaret Douglass, aged 18, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Cheapside" [7]
  • Maria Douglass, aged 24, a dressmaker, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Cheapside" [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Douglass migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Douglass Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Ann Douglass, (b. 1828), aged 37, British domestic servant travelling from London aboard the ship "Greyhound" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 7th May 1865 [8]
  • Frederick Douglass, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Inflexible" in 1870

Contemporary Notables of the name Douglass (post 1700) +

  • Gus R. Douglass (1927-2015), American politician, West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture (1993-2013)
  • Michael Reese Douglass (b. 1955), former American football player who played from 1978 to 1985, inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame
  • Leon Forrest Douglass (1869-1940), American inventor and co-founder of the Victor Talking Machine Company; he registered approximately fifty patents including the first successful subtractive color movie process (1916), underwater cameras, underwater flashlights, a new type of snap cigarette lighter and many more
  • Mabel Smith Douglass (1874-1933), American academic, the 1st Dean of the New Jersey College for Women in New Brunswick, NJ in 1918, later renamed Douglass College in her honor
  • Stephen Douglass (1921-2011), American actor-singer
  • William Bingham "Klondike" Douglass (1872-1953), American Major League Baseball player who played from 1896 through 1904
  • Paul Douglass (1905-1988), American academic, President of American University (1941 to 1952)
  • Kingman Douglass (1896-1971), American investment banker and Deputy Director of Central Intelligence in 1946
  • John W. Douglass (b. 1941), retired Brigadier General in the United States Air Force, United States Assistant Secretary of the Navy from 1995 to 1998
  • James W. "Jim" Douglass (b. 1937), American author, activist, and Christian theologian
  • ... (Another 16 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Hood
  • Mr. Mark R Douglass (b. 1923), English Boy 1st Class serving for the Royal Navy from Annfield Plain, County Durham, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [9]


The Douglass Motto +

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.


  1. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  2. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  3. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 29th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/barwell
  4. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th July 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/atlas
  5. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 28th January 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1835
  6. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HOOGHLY 1848. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1848Hooghly.htm
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The CHEAPSIDE 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Cheapside.htm
  8. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  9. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm


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