Thursday, March 24, 2011

Scots banished to America?

I received my Virginia Genealogical Society Newsletter this week and one of the many features included is the book review section. In this month's edition, one of the books reviewed is called Directory of Scots Banished to the American Plantations, 1650-1775, second edition, by David Dobson. It is available by going to

One of the things that grabbed me, just with the title, was the knowledge that such records were available to do such a compilation in the first place. Eighteenth century passenger records, in particular, are one of those frustrating road blocks in my own research, though not Scotland specifically. The passenger records of the seventeenth century showing those coming to America seem to be better documented and preserved, I think because most people would think "Hey, these are among the earliest settlers. We better save these!" For instance, we know who came to Jamestown through the various waves of passenger arrivals but I still can't find my ancestor who came over from England more than 150 years later. I have seen a few published records of those who came over from Ireland in the 18th century as indentured servants or even convicts, and few other examples of 18th century departures/arrivals as well but it seems like the coverage is so spotty, especially when you try to compare it to the arrival records kept in this country in the later 19th century and onwards. Obviously, this has much to do with the laws and practices put in place at the time, as well as the time itself that's passed which would have a very real impact on the survival of such records. In any case, I was pretty glad to see this title and I know anyone who has been trying to break through with their Scottish emigrants in the time frame covered in the book, might be happy to see it as well.

According to the review in the VGS Newsletter, the first edition of the book was published in 1984 but the author has added to it in this second edition by around 30% by utilizing records
"on both sides of the Atlantic". Corrections and clarifications have also been made to this edition which led to the reviewer's opinion that the 2nd edition was worth purchasing even if you already own the 1st edition.

It sounds like a fascinating reference even though I'm not trying to track any Scottish emigrants. But for those who are, this sounds like a necessity. Happy hunting!