Evidence of Migrations of the Scots-Irish, Within and Without the United States

  • Legalities acquired along the way–watch carefully for the presence of these evidences of origins: Lease for 3 lives (Scots moving into Ireland on way to North Carolina) __Inherit 2 portions of estate (Connecticut into Pennsylvania)
    __Land conveyances not recorded until land sold out of family (Virginia into Kentucky and Indiana)
    __Use of “next best friend” as guardian of children in wills (Northern England, Lowland Scotland into Tennessee)
    __Legal use of maiden name (Scots into Ireland and on to New Jersey)
  • Identify contact families where sons and daughters intermarry–In Duke University Library (Durham NC) is an old account book of Zachariah Johnston. It records money loaned to family members and close associates from the time the Johnston family left Ireland to their initial settlement near Bethlehem PA, through their stop in Orange County VA until they finally settled in Rockbridge County VA. The same names over and over again, are recorded in that little account book. These families intermarried more than 10 times from 1709 to 1800.  Later members of the Johnston family migrated on to Iowa and Idaho.

Each contact person is a potential key to unlock your pedigree. Contact families can be relatives (Scots-Irish and Germans marry cousins), neighbors from nearby farms, employers and business  partners, fellow travelers, militia units, sponsors and officers in church or government, school  mates, bondsmen and witnesses to documents.

  • Commercial Networks and Activities–“Buchanans of Glasgow, Greenock, and London,” Bernard Bailyn, Voyagers to the West (New York:  Alfred Knopf, 1986) and William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd S. Vol 46 describe one of the principal families who traded in Scottish indentured servants and new immigrants.  The account books of this commercial firm include passenger Lists!  The Scots-Irish employed their own family members. (Recall that they were transplanted Scotsmen for the most part and brought this folk-way with them into Ireland and on to America.)  Younger generations became the factors to handle the business affairs of the earlier generations who may not leave the old country.
  • Bridging the Ocean:  Dumfries, Virginia to Glasgow, Scotland and Bristol, England–you search in reverse order from place of settlement or entry back to the place of origin.
    __Scotland–David Dobson compiled over 51 vols of Scots emigrants and immigrants __England–Henry F. Waters (wills and administrations,) Peter Wilson Coldham (court records), George Sherwood (court records and genealogies)
    __Ireland–Indexes to Irish Films at the Family History Library, 6 vols (271 rolls)
  • Adaptations to institutions and lifestyles encountered–
    __Congregationalists from New England, as they moved into New York, found active Presbyteries established very early. Both groups lacked sufficient members of their own and the necessary funds to support separate churches. So they accommodated themselves to the united support of a neighborhood church–changing administrative structure and even underlying philosophy.

These few examples can set migration patterns for you to watch for as you trace your families toward the Ocean’s edge.  Collect the evidence along the way so the scholarly studies that discuss where the Scots-Irish settled and who they affiliated with will make sense to you and match what you have discovered.  Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle  http://arleneeakle.com

PS  The Scots-Irish are worthy ancestors.  I hope you will like them as much as I do!  Stay tuned.



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