Are your Virginia Ancestors Scottish or Scots-Irish?

Are your Virginia Ancestors Scottish or Scots-Irish?  Charles H. Haws, Director of the Institute of Scottish Studies, Old Dominion University, Norfolk VA, gave permission to the Family History Library for his book Scots in the Old Dominion, 1685-1800 to be put on microfiche: fiche #6087317.  Published Edinburgh: John Dunlop Publishers, 1980.  This book includes 19 pages of Scots who came to Virginia directly from Scotland, in alphabetical order “as an aid to both students of Scottish ethnic history and to genealogists in search of their own family histories.”

I ran the list of names and found some real surprises.  Most of the names in Haws’ list are  not included in other compilations of Scots immigrants. Here is a quote for a couple of entries so you can see the format:

Giffin, Robert. 1743-1829. From Kildoul, Argyllshire. Settled Virginia and died in Wheeling (DSE, 133/1869).

Graham, Richard. Merchant. From Dumfries. Settled Prince William County VA (DSE, 144/2026).

McKenzie, John. Weaver. To Westmoreland County, VA by 1755 (VMH, ii, 49).

Ralston, Gavin. 1735-1819. From Beith, Ayrshire. To Virginia before 1744. (DSE, 364/5067).

Sangster, Thomas. Some time in Nova Scotia. To Fairfax County VA, ca. 1770 (DSE389/5435).

Each entry is documented so you can trace the sources.  The bibliography identifies many of the Scottish trading companies which employed these men (and some women) and where their records have been deposited–very significant when it comes to documenting the origins of these Scots.  And the chapter of the Scottish merchants on the Norfolk and Portsmouth tidewater fills an important gap in our knowledge of Scottish settlement and their contribution to Virginia ancestry.

Migration to Virginia via Nova Scotia 

And note the reference to Nova Scotia. Some years ago, I was hired to trace a Fulton family who settled in Augusta County in the early 1700′s–with a tradition that there were 5 brothers who sailed to America in their own ship and then scattered among the colonies. In his will, James Fulton left a thoroughbred horse to his daughter which he imported from “New England.” A short time later the horse sickened and died. So Fulton ordered another from”New England” in a codicil to his will probated in Augusta County, Virginia.

Imagine my delight when the Fulton family history was published with this same tradition on its first page:  “Five Fulton brothers came to America in their own ship.” And naming James as one of the Fulton brothers. I also learned that parts of Nova Scotia were often called “New England” to differentiate them from New Scotland and from the American colonies–Massachusetts, Rhode Island, etc.  See  The Fulton Family of Atlantic Canada by Margaret Seward Cleveland, etal.  Truro, Nova Scotia : Fulton Family Associates, 1979.

It is my belief that descendants of Virginia ancestors have a substantial amount of Scottish blood in their veins–direct from Scotland, not just by way of Ireland.

The English get the credit, the Scots did the work.

Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS  Have you begun your own checklist of the people included among the Scot-Irish?  You will get many more descriptions of these  people who called themselves “a mixed people.”  And be sure to add dates to the time period when they are specific backgrounds.

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