Date 8th March 2011
Name William Douglas
Are you a Hobbyist or Professional Genealogist?
What, if any, formal or informal studies have you undertaken that are relevant to genealogical research? Although I have had no formal studies, I am learning all the time.
What is your day job? Retired
How long have you been chasing ancestors? 40 years
How did you get hooked on genealogy? My interest was first sparked when my aunt, (40+ years ago) discovered we were all Counts and Countesses of the Holy Roman Empire (look it up - you might be too!). Recently, my sister's research proved that assumption wrong! My aunt had asked me to look up some long lost ancestors in Devon, England, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
For many years, it was an on/off activity depending where in the world I was, and what I was doing.
What are your areas of Expertise in Genealogy? I am more of a family historian than a genealogist. The one is of little interest to me without the other. Thus, when researching historical events, I come across people of interest to my genealogy research, which is broader than purely my family line, taking in all Douglases of every shade and hue. (Black and Red, for those who do not know their Douglas History!)
The Douglas family, or clan as some prefer, originated in Scotland, and as I live in Scotland, that is my principal area of expertise.
Please outline your involvement in Genealogy Societies and Groups I am not involved with any genealogy societies, but run the Douglas Archives ( www.douglashistory.co.uk ) website, which consumes much of my time and energy. I receive enquiries daily, some of which take several months to research, perhaps working with others, and some which can be dealt with by a quick response.
I am a member of a couple of on-line forums, where I contribute to research by others - and hope to get something back. It is always frustrating when people respond by telling me to look in my own website!
What are the lands of your ancestors? Scotland. But the are more Douglases in the diaspora than there are at home, so the I do not confine myself to my home country.
What Family Names are you Researching? Douglas, Douglass, Dugliss, Dowglace and many more.
Who is your favourite ancestor? Why? This is a genealogist's question! And as I research all Douglases, it excludes many people of real interest.
My favourite ancestor (after my parents) is always the one I am researching right now. Most recently, I have been wondering what my grandfather, his siblings and his parents were doing in Spitzbergen in 1906.
Although I have come to an end of this research, I am still fascinated by John Douglas of Newcastle who appears to have arrived in the town penniless, but became one of the biggest landowners in the area, using money he had made as an advocate and as Town Clerk, when he installed the town first water supply. I have been unable to identify his parents.
What ancestral city or town would you like to visit? Why? Flodden, near the village of Branxton, in Northumberland, England, the scene of a famous battle fought on the 9th of September 1513 between the English and the Scots. We are about to commemorate the 500th anniversary and I feel the Douglases should do something to recognise the many hundreds of them who lost their lives fighting for their country that day.
Among the ten thousand Scottish dead were all the leading men in the kingdom of Scotland, and there was no family of importance that had not lost a member in this great disaster.
Scottish dead included twelve earls, fifteen lords, many clan chiefs, an archbishop and above all King James IV himself. It is said that every great family in Scotland mourned the loss of someone at the Battleof Flodden.
What is your favourite resource for genealogy? Not genealogy.com! I am frustrated by the number of errors, with no way of them being corrected.
Google Books is a resource I use more and more, but it is also true that old books also contain mistakes. And so does my website!
Do you keep your genealogy files on paper? Yes
Do you keep your genealogy files on a computer? Yes
Do you have your tree posted on the internet? Yes
If Yes What is the URL?
Do you have a blog? Yes
What are your blogs' URLs?
What are your Other Hobbies, Activities, Interests? I look after several community websites and am an active member of my church, and give support to others in the area.
I am an active contributor to Wikipedia.
What is your favourite lesiure time activity apart from genealogy? None rises above another.
What is your favourite (non genealogy) book? My grandfather's photograph album.
If you have anything else to share please add it below My biggest genealogy failing is forgetting to quote sources.
What is your personal philosophy in a few words ? No matter how rude some people can be on the internet, keep cool, calm and carbolic (a phrase my sergeant major taught me).