Scotch-Irish-L ArchivesArchiver > Scotch-Irish > 2002-02 > 1013462126
Subject: Re: [Scotch-Irish] Ethnicity in Colonial America
Date: Mon, 11 Feb 2002 13:21:45 -0800
Hi, Win said....
>This is a little confusing to me, since from the 1730s until about 100 years
>later there were numerous Highland Scots who came to North Carolina and also to
>parts of Canada. Is the quote above referring to immigration before that time
>SCOTS: Two divisions: Highlanders saw British America as an
>extension of the English state which they had battled for
>generations. They didn't come. [They often went to the continent
>instead (16, 1700's)-- See Dobson's books on Scottish migration].
>Lowlanders: usually went to Ulster. [This is the "traditional" view:
>some now believe the lowland Scots immigration numbers are too low.] )
Right, read David Dobson. Fewer Scots Highlanders came to America in
the colonial period. That doesn't mean that none came. It means fewer
in proportion to English and Scotch- Irish. Dobson agrees with this. See "Scottish Emigration to Colonial America, 1607-1785" His book is organized geographically and he does cover major groups of highlanders who did come.
(P15) says that "Highlanders were, as a matter of policy, excluded
from settling in Ulster because it was felt that they would identify
with the native Irish rather than the Lowland Scots." The Glens of
Antrim suggest this was a valid concern!
P 16 -- "The seventeenth century was a period of reorientation for
Scottish emigration. Previously it had been overwhelmingly eastward
toward countries bordering the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, but
henceforth the emphasis would be westward, initially concentrating
on Ulster, later America."
He shows in the following pages how in the early colonial period
Scotland attempted to compete with England for the colonies and
lost. With the accession of King James VI to the English throne,
He goes on to review every instance of Scots presence in the colonies
that can be found. he concludes: "It is clear that there was a sizable
Scottish element in the colonial population of the early English
settlements in America and the West Indies, but the majority
arrived involuntarily. " Here he speaks pre 1660, and he is
attempting to refute allegations that there were no Scots here.
So his "a sizable" isn't meant to convey even the numbers of
English who came to New ENgland. Compared to the numbers of Scots
who moved to Ireland in the early 1600's, the Pilgrims were a handful.
And the Scots in the colonies were even fewer.
I think I abstracted all this stuff already in the archives last
summer, so I'm not going to go on. If you want the details,
check the archives and be sure to read Dobson's book. I believe
he is the world's leading authority on Scottish emigration. The
book includes footnotes and bibliography so you can "followup"
on him. You should. Those sources may contain the names of your
He covers the known colonies of highlanders who migrated. However,
we are more in a position of proving that there were more Scots
in the colonies than we believed before rather than building as
case for there being huge numbers. There were not. Try Carmack "A
Genealogist's Guide to Discovering your Immigrant & Ethnic Ancestors".
Much to the irritation of highlander-Americans, these
books tend to not only treat highlanders and lowlanders together
as "Scots" but to also combine in the "Scotch-Irish" as one
group of migrators. As you "focus in", you'll see this makes sense.
First of all we don't have the records to distinguish them.
But also, these groups were not separate. Lots of highlanders
moved to the lowlands before leaving Scotland for Ireland or
America. What are they? Lots of Scots -- huge numbers -- left
for England. Northern England was becoming industrialized in
the late 1700's. A cursory check of most any Northumberland
or Durham parish registry will show you lots of Scottish names.
I got Armstrongs, Irvines and a few others in my "English" tree!
Some Scots migrated from England. SOme English Scots moved to
Ulster. Think "melting pot". Actually large groups of Highlanders
also moved to the lowlands so in the end it's truly difficult to
tell who was what. There is very little documentation of the
highland clearances. No one stood on the shore and wrote down
the names IN MOST ALL CASES. We do have books and articles that
preserve the names of some who did get documented, but those
ships left from every tiny inlet in the shore and often were
attempting to evade the government. See Bailyn "Peopling of
North America". So we have no uniform records of highlander
But if David Dobson's next book says the opposite -- I'll say
He's right! He's the man reading through a gazillion horrible
handwritten, moldering papers, not me (thank God!). He's the
expert. If you really want to know -- read him or do your own
research to refute him.
So some highlanders did come and those groups are written up.
But mostly lowlanders came, so says David Dobson and other
writers as well. These folk came in the 1700's, not the 1600's.
In the 1600's you had largely involuntary migration of Scots.