5 specific clues that tag your ancestors as Scots-Irish–These five markers confirm your family traditions and lore that your ancestors are Scots-Irish. These are footprints left for you to follow. These are clues to document your genealogy. These clues will peg your own ancestors and set them apart from others who have the same name or the same migration pattern.
1) Kinship by blood or marriage. The primary commitment in life of persons with Scots-Irish background is kinship. When family called, your ancestors answered. Examine your family charts – brothers marry sisters, become business partners, and settle in clusters together. Relatives serve in the same militia units and attend the same church. Cousins perpetuated family feuds (called “blood feuds”), even when they no longer remembered what the fuss was all about. Your Scots-Irish ancestors kept their assets and their lineage in the family: when the estate was divided, family wealth descended to family members.
Be sure to check these key sources:
- family Bibles (your ancestors are Protestant by covenant)
- family histories and genealogies including pedigree charts and ancestors’ interests lists published by local genealogy societies
- correspondence—including business letters, business and partnership minutes, account books, store ledgers
- militia lists–cousins served together; watch for related surnames which match passenger lists and bounty land lists
- voters’ registers
2) Willing to fight for their rights against hereditary power:
- their right to bear arms–your Scots-Irish ancestors were called “Long Hunters” and “Long Knives” by Indian allies and enemies alike.
- their right to distill and distribute whiskey–when the “Whiskey Rebellion” broke out in 1795 over attempts to tax the production of spirits, Washington County PA alone had over 570 distilleries!
- their right to plead and sue in court for redress of grievances–your Scots-Irish ancestors were “Sons of Liberty” and “Daughters of Liberty” in cities and towns across America on the eve of the American Revolution. They threw the tea overboard. They refused to buy or consume British products. They harassed British troops.
- their right to defend their freedom. They served with Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys and with Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox and his men. They were “Regulators” in NC seeking close-to-home court access. They fought behind General George Washington: “They are but lads,” he said. “They will follow me into hell if I ask them to.” Your Scots-Irish ancestors served at the Alamo and at Gettysburg. They could be counted on to show up surrounded by their_kinship to fight for their rights!
Include these records on your checklist of sources:
- court minutes and depositions–WPA transcripts for Tennessee and West Virginia include every-name indexes
- claims for weapons and supplies furnished to the war effort at every government level
- government investigations including testimony under oath
- newspaper clipping files at local historical societies
- military pension records—French and Indian Wars as well as later Indian wars, Revolutionary War, War of 1812
- newspaper ads, columns, and broadsides (casualty lists) published at all levels of society
Stay tuned for other clues equally as important, your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle http://arleneeakle.com
PS We are working hard to give you a good, readable map of the Irish Sea and its surrounding areas. In color. Watch for it.
PPS My special thanks to Jerry Kerkmeyer who found a map (1750) by Herman Moll on http://ancestry.com. And when I locate a white, uncolored copy of this early map, we will include it too.