RBCM Archives

Series MS-2164 - Family records

James Douglas death certi... Register of Marriage Lice...

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Family records

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  • textual record

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  • 1837-1890 (Creation)
    Douglas family (James Douglas)

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Physical description

7 cm of textual records

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Douglas family (James Douglas) (1803-1933)

Biographical history

The Douglas family consisted of Sir James Douglas (1803-1877), Lady Amelia Douglas (1812-1890), and their children.

James Douglas came to Canada as a fur trader for the North West Company in 1819 when he was 16 years old. When the North West Company merged with the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) in 1821, Douglas managed to continue his trading vocation with the HBC. In 1828 he married Amelia Connolly who was the daughter of a Cree woman and William Connolly, a Chief Factor for the HBC. James and Amelia would have 13 children together, though only six would survive past childhood.

The family lived in Fort Vancouver (now Vancouver, Washington) before Douglas became responsible for the creation of Fort Victoria in 1843. His new responsibilities eventually brought the whole Douglas family to Vancouver Island. They remained in Victoria as Douglas became Governor of the Colony of Vancouver Island in 1851, and Governor of the Colony of British Columbia in 1858.

Amelia Douglas (née Connolly) was a part Cree woman who married James Douglas when she was 16. While in 1828 their marriage was considered legitimate, it wasn’t officially registered until 1838.

James Douglas stepped down from his position as Governor in 1864, and around that same time he was also knighted with 2nd level of the Order of the Bath. This gave him and his wife the titles of Sir and Lady and it raised the families’ overall social standing.

The Douglas children who survived past childhood included: Cecilia, Jane, Angus, James Junior, and Martha. James Junior married Mary Elliot in 1877, and passed away 1883. Jane married A.G. Dallas, Cecilia married Dr. John Sebastian Helmcken, Agnes married Arthur T. Bushby, Martha married Dennis Harris, and Alice married Charles Good (though Alice and Charles Good divorced in 1878). James Douglas passed away in 1877, Amelia Douglas passed away in 1890, and their youngest daughter, Martha, passed away in 1933.

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Scope and content

Series contains a letter to Sir James Douglas; a receipt to Lady Amelia Douglas; a calling card from Mrs. H. Dallas Helmcken; James Douglas’s death certificate; James Douglas and Amelia Douglas’ Marriage Licence; and a textbook owned by Cecilia Douglas.

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Presented by Isobel Cliff, Victoria, 1985.


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Accession number(s): 85-110

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