Is William (Douglas) Hamilton KG (1634 - 1694) (Douglas-1386) really a member of Clan Hamilton?

+4 votes
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Is William (Douglas) Hamilton KG (1634 - 1694) (Douglas-1386) really a member of Clan Hamilton as it is stated here?
WikiTree profile: William Hamilton
in Genealogy Help by Michael Hamilton G2G1 (1.6k points)
retagged by Richard Devlin

2 Answers

+3 votes

As you imply, he was never a Hamilton by birth and only changed his name, as he also changed his religion, in order to marry an advantageous wife, to whom he was unfaithful. Nevertheless, my own view is that by the time of his death we could allow him to have become a Hamilton.

You may also be concerned that the Wikitree profile has oddities. The alleged place of birth is fictitious, as he was not a Hamilton and was probably born in a Douglas possession. And the place of marriage is perfectly well known, being at Corstorphine in Midlothian.

by Anonymous Flower G2G6 Mach 1 (12.2k points)
Thanks Stanley for your answer. Could the change of his last name to Hamilton lead his descendants to believe they have descended from the male lineage of the Hamiltons?
All his children were born as Hamiltons, because he had changed his last name on marrying the heiress, and their grandfather was the first Duke (Hamilton-4583 James Hamilton). So I would reckon that his descendants can be regarded as continuing the Hamilton line.

PS His wife's profile (Hamilton-4585 Anne Hamilton) also offers us a fictitious place of birth, if anybody else thinks such trivial details are important.

It is actually a bit complicated. One could say that at the very least his remaining descants mostly consider themselves to be both of Clan Douglas and Clan Hamilton because they all hyphenate the last name to Douglas-Hamilton. All the surviving descendants in the male line are descendants of Augustus Hamilton (or Douglas-Hamilton, both are used), and all the living descendants use Douglas-Hamilton as their surname. In some records all descendants of William (Douglas) Hamilton are given the name Douglas-Hamilton. There are no more legitimate living descendants in the male line that descend from anyone else. Interestingly enough the current Duke of Hamilton, Alexander Douglas-Hamilton, 16th Duke of Hamilton, is the current Chief of Clan Hamilton, who is also de facto Chief of Clan Douglas, but the Lord Lyon requires him to assume the single name Douglas to be Chief de jure. The 16th Duke is also a life member of the Clan Douglas Society of North America, which tells me that he considers himself a member of both Clan Hamilton and Clan Douglas.

Sure, James Hamilton was their grandfather on their mother's (maternal) line. Their Y-DNA still came from the Douglas line.
+4 votes
Affiliation with a Clan was not just by birth. Allegiance to a Clan could be made. A change in surname may also have happened.
by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (421k points)

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