Scotch-Irish-L Archives

Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 2010-09 > 1285280783

Subject: Re: [S-I] New Commercial Website in County Down
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 2010 22:26:23 +0000 (UTC)
In-Reply-To: <>

Hi Mill, ethnic identities are not always 'black and white' or green and orange, They may be in Belfast, but I am assuming you are not <grin>. So you are American or Canadian or Aussie, etc, etc, and you lather on top a mix of interests and feelings you largely inherited from ancestors or evolved to where you are now.

If you are in Chicago, maybe you decided that dying a river green (and poisoning the fish) was a stupid thing to do and you weren't going to stand outside in a cold wind,drunk on green beer in March watching a parade, for any reason. That's a decision you made based on your living in Chicago, not Belfast.

If you lived in Belfast in 1621 (or 1550!), the ethnicities were different. The issues were different. The events were different. You would probably not self identify as any ethnicity we recognize now and certainly not for the same reasons.

If you visited Belfast in 1983 or so and were accidently caught up in current events, you might fear Loyalists (if you witnessed sectarian violence they caused) or the IRA (if caught up in IRA violence). You might have forged an identity around that. I know. In any case, it would be different from what you would be in America.

"Scotch Irish" is an American ethnic group. It means some dudes who believe their ancestors were Scots Protestants from Ulster who largely came in colonial times. They largely live in the American south and Pennsylvania. The ones who put down stakes in New England and New York assimilated into the local ethnic groups because there were not enough of them. On the other hand, south of the Mason Dixon line, they predominated so others assimilated into them. So you can be Scotch Irish and not have ancestors from Ulster at all but from England, Germany, etc. However now they all share the same values.

Kirby Miller, who wrote "The Book" on Irish emigration, stated that Donegal largely lost its native population in the 1700s due to bad farming land. DNA projects like the Cumberland Gap one show he's right: A lot of people have North West Irish DNA. Does that mean their ancestor was Catholic, drank green beer, believed in leprechauns, etc? No. Their ancestors might have assimilated into an "Ulster Scot" identity in the 1600s or whenever. This wasn't a big thing (as it was later to become). The incoming Scots in the early 1600s spoke Gaelic and their ministers preached in Gaelic. The locals hadn't hardly seen a priest or minister in 60 years. They'd had unending war among the clans and with the highland Scots and then the English. No Sunday school!! No education. How could these folk tell the difference between a Catholic and a Protestant? The counter reformation was yet to be. Someone showed up, a nice Gaelic speaking man, and he offered to baptize the children and gave a nice sermon (outside; no churches with roofs in the early 1600s). So in some locales everyone just became Protestant by default (eastern Ulster).

While a lot came in the early 1600s, the Scots were persecuted in the 1630s and many left. More were run off in 1641 when the Rising occured. In some areas every Protestant was killed. So in the 1650s and later, new people came. A few in some places and a lot in others. Larger migrations to Ireland seem to have occurred after The so called Glorious Revolution in the late 1600s (it wasn't so glorious in Ireland). But largely not a lot came. The Scots figured out what the English had learned in the Elizabeth times: Ireland is a very good place to die. Unless there was a famine, or a war (these happened), it was hard to recruit tenants to come to Ulster.

The DNA shows this: a lot of Irish assimilated in, sometime. They adopted Ulster Scots ways and over time their descendants crafted a Scots background for them. Someday on Mars, some fellow name Charlie Chang will wonder where in England his ancestors came from: because his immigrant ancestor came from America and everyone knows they were originally English (or Scots or Scotch Irish, etc)! But nope, he'll be wrong there..... But his ancestor will have eaten hot dogs, gone to foot ball games, and been an American guy, just like the rest, even if his ancestors came from China.

So you are an American, Canadian, etc. All the rest is your choice. It won't correspond to what our cousins feel they are in Ulster or Northern Ireland, because probably your ancestors left before the Orangemen, etc, -- the events that formed the basis of Ulster culture -- occurred. You are different from your ancestors and from your cousins in Northern Ireland and your ethnicity is probably very soft and blurred --- which is how it gets unless someone starts shooting at you. In 1641 the Scots Catholics of Antrim had to decide whether they were A or B. Maybe they did that based on who shot at them first (I woulda).

Oddly ethnicity changes even for one person. Several Ulster Scots have told me that much to their dismay in London, they're Irish. That's what they're perceived as. To the Londoner there are two flavors of Irish people (raspberry and blueberry -- not so different). When I am in Dublin for a few days, I pick up a slight accent and am mistaken by Dubliners for an Irish person who had lived in the USA for too long. I look Irish. However one foot in Northern Ireland and everyone can tell I'm a Prod. And I FEEL like a Prod. I unconsciously start avoiding things that are 'too Irish', things I feel okay doing in Dublin but not in Belfast. Very weird. So what am I? In Dublin I'm an Irish American or a local girl back visiting family. In Belfast I am a Prod. In Georgia I'm a Yankee. In China town I'm a 'white ghost'.

Ethnicity is understudied by the social scientists.

My mother's family was half Ulster Scots in identity and half Ulster Irish though my Irish or rather "Irish" grandmother was Protestant. In County Down (where the ancestors came from) her family would have been hard pressed to maintain an Irish identify and be Protestant. She'd have been a "Unionist" (as she was also a free stater and I believe what you call someone who supports the partition, is Protestant, and lives in the North is a Unionist). But a free stater and a Unionist, as people living in Ireland will tell you, are two different things. Or used to be. Maybe things are softening over the decades, but then, I avoid places where these things are discussed, having maxed out on pubs where people routinely discuss how they'd like to cut the throats of their neighbors and cousins (last one was in Southern California and the guy saying it knew I was descended from Irish Protestants, so it was threat. I kind of regret not ripping out his windpipe and throwing it in the sawdust).

I had first cousins who wore Orange on St. Pat's Day (they were in the Eastern Star, Rainbow Girls, etc -- very stereotypical). I was taught to wear green as my grandmother won and my grandfather lost on the 'ethnifying' of my mother. The eldest were Orange and the younger green. She was the youngest, so she was so green she could curse you so bad no one ever messed with her or her mother: the local Irish fays. I think the longer she lived with my grandfather the greener she got.

You are you -- and your ancestors were different from you and you are different in different places and in different situations. In Afganistan it doesn't matter if you are orange or green: the Taliban will shoot you whatever the color of your beer.

However if your grandpa wore Orange on St. Pat's day it is a good genealogy clue that you probably won't find him in the Catholic parish records <grin>! Not always so. I have a distant cousin, we share NORRIS from Swatragh in L'Derry. The Norrises left about 1820 and were Orangemen and Masons, as well documented here. However she fell in love withe the son of an Irish immigrant, now a banker, and she's Catholic and the possessor of her ancestor's orange sash. St. Pat's Day I suspect you'll find her at mass, not getting drunk in the streets. And she's probably as confused by, not her family, but the history of Ireland as the rest of us are and shares with us one prayer: for peace and the right of anyone to self identify however they want without having to fear persecution by their neighbors, no matter where they live. My granddaughter was baptized Catholic because her father is half Canadian Irish and half Canadian French. (He's since married a southern Baptist, moved to Tennessee, and raised three confused girls). So, hey, we're all a little confused ....

Linda Merle

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, September 23, 2010 4:46:59 PM
Subject: Re: [S-I] New Commercial Website in County Down

Linda .... thank you for the info on the Scotch-Irish ..... but parts of me are still confused ....

it has come down my family that we were from Northern Ireland .... and my GrandPa always wore Orange on St.
Patricks Day .....

Am I Scotch-Irish .... am I Ulster ... or just somene who also wears the Orange on St. Pat's Day ???

so confused ...

Mill Ryan ~

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Thu, Sep 23, 2010 1:41 pm
Subject: [S-I] New Commercial Website in County Down

Hi folks,
I was asked to announce this website:
It's often been said that history has united the Irish and divided the
cotch-Irish. For example they were key players on both sides of the American
ivil War. Once people emigrated from Ulster they tended to define a new culture
n their new land and quickly fell away from events in Ulster, where ethnicity
nd culture evolved onward -- differently. So while many Ulster Scots leaving
or America in the 1770s and later were very republican (in a French sense) and
y the 1790s United Irishmen in sentiment, cousins who remained in Ulster gelled
nto Unionists. So we became different.
So this website above may or may not feel 'like you', depending on who and where
ou are. It's easier to put up a shamrock website that appeals world wide!
It has some nice items. I liked the linens and the postcards in particular. I
ot a lot of Orange music and I like it a lot as well. I am too fat and fear
iabetes, so I can't order the candy <grin>. I don't buy sports paraphenalia,
ot even the Pittsburgh Steelers (for one thing, I don't like looking like a
uge bumble bee.....)
Back to life. Got curtain rod and curtains up (had to hire a guy to help). Now
V don't work: which connector that came out goes where??!!!!!
Linda Merle

o unsubscribe from the list, please send an email to
ith the word 'unsubscribe' without the quotes in the subject and the body of
he message

To unsubscribe from the list, please send an email to with the word 'unsubscribe' without the quotes in the subject and the body of the message

This thread: