Many know him simply as Doug Holmes, but others call him Doug da Rocha Holmes. That's his pen name used in connection with his writings about Portuguese genealogy.
Doug is a very active genealogist specializing in Portuguese and Hungarian-Slovak genealogy; this reflecting his ancestry.
His father is almost 100% Portuguese - to be specific, from the Azores Islands of Portugal. But one of Doug's paternal great-grandmothers was born in Concepcion, Chile, the daughter of an Azorean (surname Leal da Roza) from the island of Pico, and a native of Chile (surname is Vasquez Arriagada). Doug's paternal grandfather (surname Leal da Rocha Homem - later changed to Rocha Holmes), is a native of the island of Terceira in the Azores.
On his mother's side, Doug is 25% German (the surname is Specht from the Dresden
region) and 25% Slovak-Hungarian. This part is more confusing. Doug's maternal
grandmother, born within the modern borders of Hungary, was "Liska Iren" (last
names always said first in Hungary). But Liska is not an Hungarian name - it's
Slovak. It turns out, as Doug discovered, his grandmother had a Slovak father and a mother
whose father was Hungarian (surname Balla) and a mother with another Slovak name, Kohut.
So, there is some Hungarian in there. As a fun calculation of percentages, Doug's ancestry
The problem with these percentages are that there are even more nationalities in there. Way back in the 1300s & 1400s, Doug has been fortunate enough to trace some of his Portuguese ancestors to England (surname Sudeley, called Sodre in Portugal), Italy (surname Perestrello), Bettencourt from Normandy (France), and various Portuguese names originating in Flanders (surnames: d'Utra, "Silveira" originally van der Hagen, "Rosa" originally Rouze, "Terra" originally van Aard). But the majority of the Portuguese surnames can be traced to Spain before the formation of Portugal as an independant country in 1095. All these other nationalities probably don't amount to more than 1%.
In 1990, Doug started to learn about his ancestry while traveling on the East Coast. Things quickly snow-balled and for one month that summer he spent his days in Salt Lake City's Family History Library. This was when he discovered his "Hungarian" ancestry was really more Slovak than Hungarian. Because he knew much about his Portuguese and German ancestry, his "Hungarian" ancestry was the most mysterious and was the first to be researched in depth.
By 1992, Doug was helping people with their Hungarian genealogy by e-mail and in January of that year he decided to start his own group calling it the Hungarian/American Friendship Society (after the name of a group in Hungary). By the summer, he began working on the first newsletter and named it, Regi Magyarorszag "Old Hungary" emphasizing that it was not just for genealogy within the modern borders of Hungary, but included the areas which were once part of the Hungarian Kingdom. This includes Hungary, Slovakia, the Subcarpathian Ukraine region, Transylvania (in Romania), the northern part of the former Yugoslavia (part of Serbia , most of Croatia, and Slovenia), and a tiny strip of land known as the Burgenland in Austria. But the main emphasis of the group is research in the Hungarian and Slovak regions.
So, after 13 issues of the Old Hungary newsletter, this website (www.dholmes.com) combining all his genealogy and business interests, was created in September of 1996.
The interest Doug has in Portuguese genealogy far out-weighs his interest and time spent doing genealogy in other areas. While he has no intention of forming a group comparable to his Hungarian/Slovak group (which takes so much of his time to deal with), he writes articles about Portuguese genealogy which are published, first in O Progresso, and then often in other newsletters and newspapers. The name, "Doug da Rocha Holmes," was chosen as his Portuguese pen name following the lead of his father, Lionel Rocha Holmes, who is the editor of O Progresso and had started using the name Rocha to identify his ancestry, since it was the name his own father had adopted, "Rocha Holmes," when he emigrated to Sacramento in 1914. After all, with a name like "Holmes" who would ever think he was anything else but English?!
Go to the Genealogy Connection
Go to the Hungarian/American Friendship Society Home Page
Learn about the Old Hungary Newsletter
Browse the Old Hungary Bookstore (Great books & maps of Hungary & Slovakia)
Go to the Portuguese Genealogy Home Page
See the Portuguese Genealogy Information Page
Visit the Portuguese Gift Shop