Explore the Family Name Douglas

The meaning of Douglas

Scottish: habitational name from any of various places called from their situation on a river named with Gaelic dubh ‘dark, black’ + glas ‘stream’ (a derivative of glas ‘blue’). There are several localities in Scotland and Ireland so named, but the one from which the surname is derived in most if not all cases is Douglas in Lanarkshire 20 miles south of Glasgow, the original stronghold of the influential Douglas family and their retainers. History: The family taking their name from Douglas in Lanarkshire were of Flemish origin. They rose to great prominence in the 14th and 15th centuries, controlling the earldoms of Douglas, Morton, and Angus, and later, Queensberry.

Dictionary of American Family Names, 2nd edition, © Oxford University Press, 2022.

How common is the last name Douglas in the United States?

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census, the popularity of the surname Douglas has seen a shift in recent years. In 2000, Douglas was ranked 286th most popular in the United States, with approximately 96,425 individuals bearing the surname. By 2010, the surname had slipped to the 311th position, a drop of 8.74%. Despite this decrease in rank, the actual count of people named Douglas increased by 5.22% over the decade, from 96,425 in 2000 to 101,458 in 2010. This growth indicates that while other surnames may have become more common, the number of people with the last name Douglas did indeed rise.

Proportion per 100k35.7434.39-3.78%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Douglas

Turning to ethnic identity, the data from the Decennial U.S. Census reveals some shifts between 2000 and 2010. The percentage of Douglas individuals who identify as White decreased slightly from 61.34% to 58.62%, a change of -4.43%. Conversely, those identifying as Black increased from 33.49% to 34.67%, a relatively small but notable rise of 3.52%. Additionally, significant increases were observed among those identifying as Hispanic (from 2.05% to 2.80%, a change of 36.59%) and those identifying with two or more races (from 2.02% to 2.69%, a change of 33.17%). The proportion of individuals identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian and Alaskan Native also saw modest increases.

Two or More Races2.02%2.69%33.17%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.68%0.7%2.94%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.43%0.52%20.93%

Douglas ancestry composition

23andMe computes an ancestry breakdown for each customer. People may have ancestry from just one population or they may have ancestry from several populations. The most commonly-observed ancestry found in people with the surname Douglas is British & Irish, which comprises 50.1% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (19.8%) and Nigerian (5.8%). Additional ancestries include Eastern European, Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean, Scandinavian, Spanish & Portuguese, and Italian.

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British & Irish50.1%
French & German19.8%

Possible origins of the surname Douglas

Your DNA provides clues about where your recent ancestors may have lived. Having many distant relatives in the same location suggests that you may all share common ancestry there. Locations with many distant relatives can also be places where people have migrated recently, such as large cities. If a large number of individuals who share your surname have distant relatives in a specific area, it could indicate a connection between your surname and that location, stemming from either recent ancestral ties or migration.

Based on 23andMe data, people with last name Douglas have recent ancestry locations in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom80.70%
Greater London, United Kingdom80.70%
Merseyside, United Kingdom80.40%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom80.30%
West Midlands, United Kingdom80.10%

What Douglas haplogroups can tell you

Haplogroups are genetic population groups that share a common ancestor on either your paternal or maternal line. These paternal and maternal haplogroups shed light on your genetic ancestry and help tell the story of your family.

The top paternal haplogroup of people with the surname Douglas is R-P311, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup R-P311 is descended from haplogroup R-M343. Other common haplogroups include R-CTS241 and E-P252, which are predominantly found among people with European and Sub-Saharan African ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Williams, Davis, Brown, Thomas, Carter, Harris, Wilson, Andrews, Harrison, Smith.

The most common maternal haplogroups of people with Douglas surname are: H1, T2b, H. These most commonly trace back to individuals of European ancestry.

douglasPaternal Haplogroup Origins R-M343

Your maternal lineage may be linked to Marie Antoinette

Because it is so dominant in the general European population, haplogroup H also appears quite frequently in the continent's royal houses. Marie Antoinette, an Austrian Hapsburg who married into the French royal family, inherited the haplogroup from her maternal ancestors. So did Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, whose recorded genealogy traces his female line to Bavaria. Scientists also discovered that famed 16th century astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus traced his maternal lineages to haplogroup H.

Maternal Haplo Image

What do people with the surname Douglas have in common?

Spoiler alert: it's complicated. People with the same last name are usually no more genetically similar than a randomly sampled group of people from the same population. That said, people with the same surname are more likely to have similar ancestries than randomly sampled individuals. The reason is the tendency of people with similar cultural or geographical backgrounds to preferentially mate with one another. That's why people who share a surname may be more likely to share traits and tendencies in common than people within the general population. Check out the percentages below to see the prevalences of tastes, habits, and traits of people with your surname compared with prevalences among 23andMe users.



Chocolate Ice Cream

Prefers chocolate flavored ice cream over other flavors.

"Douglas" Surname 43.7%

23andMe Users 41.3%




When sounds made by others, like the sound of chewing or yawning, provoke strong emotional reactions in an individual.

"Douglas" Surname 26.2%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Douglas" Surname 21.7%

23andMe Users 21.1%




A severe headache characterized by intense pain, sensitivity to light and sound, and often accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

"Douglas" Surname 17.2%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Douglas?

The short answer is that, if there is an association between surname and health, it's usually more about your ancestry than your name. Individuals with a given surname are no more genetically similar than the general population but often have similar ancestries. The populations of people associated with those shared ancestries often have sets of genetic variations, also known as alleles, in common. Some of those alleles are associated with a greater likelihood of developing certain diseases.

Disease variant frequency by ancestry

Disease allele frequencies in populations associated with the surname Douglas are shown below. Important Note: not everyone with a disease allele will develop these health condition

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Y402H variant

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of irreversible vision loss among older adults. The disease results in damage to the central part of the retina (the macula), impairing vision needed for reading, driving, or even recognizing faces. The 23andMe Health + Ancestry DNA test includes the two most common variants associated with an increased risk of developing the condition: the Y402H variant in the CFH gene and the A69S variant in the ARMS2 gene. Learn more about Age-Related Macular Degeneration

British & Irish 62.1%

23andMe Users 57.2%