Naming Patterns among United States Families with Scots-Irish Origins

First the bibliography, then the data:

Making the connection between ancestors traced in America and the origins of those ancestors in their British Isles places of birth may depend as much on names as it does on knowing places.

Some naming patterns are unique to the Bible Belt South–family bonding occurs through given names passed from one generation to another which is a common pattern in the Old South.  See Tobacco and Slaves: The Development of Southern Cultures in the Chesapeake, 1680-1800, by Allen Kulikoff,  (published for the Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg VA, 1986).  Kulikoff describes the impact of given-name patterns of the Scots and the Scots-Irish population on the American population as a whole:  first sons were named for their fathers, 1680-1700; by 1781-1800, first sons were named for their grandfathers–a shift from the English pattern.

See also Brenna E. Lorenz, “Origins of Unusual Given Names from the Southern United States,” Names 37 (1989) 201-230 and Aaron Fogelman, “Migrations to the Thirteen British North American Colonies, 1700-1775,” The Journal of Interdisciplinary History 22 (Spring 1992) 691-710:

  1. Immigrants from Southern Ireland, 42,495
  2. Immigrants from Northern Ireland, 66,107
  3. Immigrants from Scotland, 35,300
  4. Immigrants from Wales, 29,000
  5. Immigrants from England, 44,100
  6. Immigrants from Germany, 84,500

Note that a total of 131,892 immigrants came from Ireland and Scotland in the 75 years before the outbreak of the American Revolution.  And brought their naming patterns with them.  Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS  I cannot yet identify Irish ancestors in my own background.  I have several Scots surnames on my pedigree and I am 3/4 Welsh.  I was told that with so much Welsh, I will have Irish as well.  Can’t wait to identify them.

PPS Stay tuned for some key examples of Scots-Irish given name patterns.


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