yDNA Douglas (and Variants) Surname Project


Much interest in DNA occupies the time and energy of many people, but it is usually those who want to trace their ancestry through certain lines who persist and will eventually find out which particular line their family belongs to. Surnames are passed down from father to son and like the Y-chromosones, this test is for males taking a y-DNA. Females do not carry their father’s y-DNA and most times acquire a new surname by way of marriage, so the tested individual MUST be a male that wants to check his direct paternal line with a Y-DNA12, Y-DNA37 or Y-DNA67 marker test. It is of interest, that this project was created because many modern Douglas families have lost their genealogical connections to the Old Douglas lineages.

Many of us can trace our families into the 1700s or even 1600s, and have family stories linking us to one of the old lines. But because of migration or lost records, we cannot find our ancestors or prove our descent.

It has been established that the genetic characteristics of the Drumlanrig / Queensberry / Douglas of Morton (not the Earls of Morton) line back to 1478. This means that in three families there has been no non-paternal event (illegitimacy or adoption) for 15-18 generations each. It also means that anyone believing they are from this line can now test this out with a high degree of confidence by y-DNA testing.

The Earls of Morton and William de Duglis lived 1174. This line has been proven back to the 1400s with distant cousins matching. All descendants of John, son of James Douglas 16th Earl of Morton must be R1b haplogroup.

The Earls of Angus (Red Douglases) descendants belong also to the haplogroup R1b, but as well have a strong Irish connection from Niall of Nine Hostages. It is known that Scotland was visited by some of the sons of Niall so the actual connection may stem from them. The Red Douglas line came from an illegitimate son of William 1st Earl of Douglas and the Black Douglases originating from Drumlanrig and the Marquis of Queensberry, stem from a natural son of Archibald the Grim.

If you are descended from Willem de Duglis (1174) please consider joining the project. You will be helping those Douglas families who have lost their connection to the Douglas tree, to focus their research into the major lines of the family. This includes the European Douglas families who have been separated from Scotland for hundreds of years. These lines can give information about the earliest Douglases when they are compared with the documented lines that have been already established.

If you belong to one of the ‘lost’ families, which cannot find their ancestor’s connections into the Douglas family, then it can now be ascertained with some confidence, whether or not you come from the lines mentioned above. You may be lucky and find your line immediately or otherwise a match will eventually come along giving you a clue as to which branch you belong to.

It is interesting to remember, that in the very early days, it was prudent for different families to group together for protection and form clans, taking the name of the area they were in as their surname — for instance Drysdale? Could this have happened to other Douglas families and vice versa? Were there a number of early Douglas progenitors? Willem de Duglis was thought to have been a Viking, so it is quite within the realm of possibility that something like this did happen given the different surnames that now through y-DNA, seem to be associated with the name Douglas.

For more information regarding kits and how to go about finding out your y-DNA, contact the President of CDAA, Jan Shaw who will point you in the right direction.