Migrations from Northern Ireland and the Irish Sea: The Scots-Irish-

If your ancestors are Scots-Irish (they could be called Ulster Irish, Scotch Irish, North Britons, and other designations, you cannot afford to miss the next few blog posts–

“Migration to the Shenandoah Valley,” Augusta Historical Bulletin 29 (Spring 1993): 1-7.  Katherine Gentry Bushman describes the large landholdings of Jacob Stover, Benjamin Borden, William Beverley, Alexander Ross, Lord Fairfax, Col. James Patton and Col. John Lewis, and many other early settlers in the Great Valley of Virginia—most of whom had come from Ireland. In fact, Augusta County was called the “Irish Tract.” Using importation statements from the court records of Spotsylvania, Orange, and Augusta counties, Bushman shows many of those coming to the Valley came almost directly from Ireland.

Some stopped for a few years to a few generations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware before moving on west. See Patricia Burton, “Augusta County Regiment 1742-1992,” Donegal Annals 44 (1992); Ned C. Landsman, Scotland and Its First American Colony, 1683-1765 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985); Patricia Givens Johnson, Settlers from Delaware River Come to Roanoke and New River. (Blacksburg VA: by the author, 1995).

These “Scotch-Irish servants,” as General Lee called them, were by no means “rulers,” for their number in legislative halls was a small minority. But their efforts and influence were a major factor in helping form the American way of life. The 90-percent Dissenter population—German and Scotch-Irish—of old Augusta County believed in and fought on the battlefields and in legislative halls for the freedom of people to be under laws of their own making and the natural right to do anything that did not harm another. Howard McKnight Wilson, “Augusta County’s Relation to the Revolution,” Augusta Historical Bulletin, 2 (1967): 18. Based on the Preston Register, 1754-58, Draper MSS IQQ83.

From Augusta County, these hardy frontiersmen moved into Kentucky, Tennessee, and into the Deep South moving all the way to Texas. They also moved north into Ohio and the Old Northwest, and west across southern Indiana, Illinois, and into Iowa. They brought with them their Covenant religion–where they had pledged to God their lives and their property–their naming patterns, and their marriage customs. Stay tuned for specific clues that identify your ancestors as Scots-Irish. Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle  http://arleneeakle.com

PS Many writers on the Scots-Irish have done too little research on the ground and their conclusions can easily lead you astray. Watch your ancestors, their relatives and friends. Their behavior along the way will show yo who they are and where they come from. Stay tuned in for some guidelines to lead you to the right evidence.

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