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Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 2008-07 > 1215873624

Subject: Re: [S-I] Ephemera: one reason for leaving Ireland pre famine
Date: Sat, 12 Jul 2008 14:40:24 +0000

Hi Beverley, unfortunately even though it is published that doesn't mean it is right. Note the publication of Seaton: 1867 . That should raise a flag immediately. There's been over one hundred years of research done and published since then. Could this work be superceded?

The answer is yes. If you check works of modern scholars who investigate the claims of Seaton and others, you will find that much of his speculation is debunked by evidence. One is that though the Ulster Scots complained a lot about religious persecution they did not leave at the time when it was fercest, which was in the 1630s in the time of Laud and the black oath. They could not leave in the 1640s due to there being no boats due to civil war. The 1650s were a bit better -- Cromwell. He did not persecute them. He thought at first he might have to but they were loyal to him. They didn't leave in the 1670s with the restoration of the increasingly more Catholic Stuarts and the threat of persecution. They didn't leave in the period leading up to the Glorious Revolution despite very dire signs: the purging of Protestants from the army, etc. They fought with King William through the 1690s. Even in the early 1700s with the passing of the penal laws meant to disenfranchise Cathol!
ics tha
t also disenfranchised them and remove them from public office, they did not leave. They didn't leave until economic hardship fell upon them.

I didn't make this up. I read about it in a number of books an articles -- and slumbered through some lectures. You should read Leyburn "The Scotch Irish" for starters before you make up your mind. Others have tirelessly plotted out the periods in the 1700s of greatest migration and mapped those to periods of economic hardship in Ulster. In all cases, the periods of great mass migration corresponded to economic hardship. Most certainly NOT religious persecution. There is a big difference between being thrown into prison for your faith (1630s) and not being able to hold public office (1700s). The latter certainly causes one to bear nasty grudges but it doesn't threaten your life. Not having food DOES.

I suspect myself that many also left due to civil strife. These periods tended to correspond with economic hardship, so it is probably not possible to differentiate who left because of being burnt or threatened out of their village by gangs of marauders (whose families they had themselves terrorized, most likely). All leading up to the United Irish situation, in which case we KNOW that many left due to the political situation. Had they gone to church and not joined in the civil unrest, their religion woul not have mattered. They were being persecuted for what we call these days domestic terrorism. Of course many innocents get swept up in these occurances and become its victims.

So if you would like to try to build the case that the Ulster Scots left for America due to religious persecution, you will have to contend with disproving what has been written about it in the last 50 years or so.

As 'genealogists' without formal or even informal training in the areas we explore, we are very vulnerable to becoming victims of old, outdated scholarship because we don't understand that just because something is published doesn't make it correct, just because something's old doesn't make it so, and so on. We do not have the critical skills that ask : When was this work published? On what basis does the author make his allegations? what proof does he offer? How did his peers and more recent scholars view his work?

The genealogy journals are full of articles that will educate us about how to guage the authenticity of a statement but many of us don't read them. We're 'bottom feeders', like catfish. Whatever floats down from above, a long time after it died, perhaps, we consume, without regard to quality. Don't be a bottom feeder....think about what you put in your brain.

Seaton is very useful for information about specific churches and congregations and also their history. That's his forte. He was not, even in his day, a scholar of Irish history. By the way, it's not hard to become one. You can buy or borrow many books on Irish history and learn. Then on encountering a statement like he made, even without reading Leyburn, your hackles would rise. If they were leaving due to religious persecution they left 100 years later than it occured. That's okay ...these things 'build'! But if you don't get food in your children's mouths today, they may die tomorrow. That's what the data strongly suggests.

You are certainly free to propagate old myths but if you do it here you need to be prepared to provide evidence supporting your allegations. The only way for us to succeed in family research is to improve our research skills and to learn to read critically.

BTW: the topic is mass migration. there were always individuals who didn't follow the major movements of their day. So to those who want to email me with info about your family, please don't. what your family did is not of interest to scholars --- what 100,000 families did IS. Here's where genealogy, which is concerned with one particular family and history --which is interested in mass movements unless your ancestor was famous -- diverge. So we always need to remember as individuals our ancestor might have gone left when 100,000 of his contempories went right. But we do not want to confuse history and genealogy or we'll be .... confused. At some point that confusion will result in an immense brick wall that can only be overcome by backtracking to discover what erroneous conclusionn it was that took you down the wrong track.

Also we know about the Eagle Wing already. It was one boat and it didn't even succeed in leaving. And afterwards, they gave up and didn't try to leave for another generation. It's a lovely story but no evidence of reasons for mass migration (or any migration at all past 0).

Have a great day!

Linda Merle

-------------- Original message --------------
From: "Beverley Clarkson" <>

> I just returned from an amazing visit to Dublin, Newry and Belfast. It is so
> GREEN there! I cant wait to return!
> Others have wondered on this list why our ancestors left the emerald isle,
> and while our moderator has provided lots of insights, I ran across a
> specific reference and thought I would share it. The quote may be inexact;
> my handwriting was pretty scrabbly, and of course you are only allowed
> pencils in PRONI:
> Source: *Extracts from the History of the Presbyterian Church in
> Ireland, *James
> Seaton Reed, Belfast 1867 p. 143 Vol I
> " The presbytery in Ulster, despairing of enjoying their religious liberties
> at home began to look out for some more forward regions abroad and directed
> their attention to New England. They accordingly resolved to send a minister
> as a gentleman farmer to ascertain the condition of the country and if
> necessary to select a place of settlement that might be most commodiously
> effected.
> The persons sent on this mission were Rev Mr John J Livingston and a Mr
> William Wallace. After going to Londonderry in the spring of the year 1634
> and thence to Plymouth, they were delivered by various untoward
> circumstances from proceeding further and they returned to Ulster in the
> month of May where they found their brethren resolved to endure for some
> time longer their religious privations."
> I didnt have time to read more, but it clearly expresses an early motivation
> for relocation.
> Beverley
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