GFS Linda, Co-leader Scot and Irish SIG, AOL Genealogy Forum.
Most of this history is a direct paste from a review of the movie, “God’s Frontiersmen” which was written by Rory Fitzpatrick. The movie was shown on Irish TV, edited, and sent to GFS Linda by an Irish cousin of hers from Belfast. The movie was then viewed and written up by GFS Linda for her forum on America On Line. She has graciously shared it with me and given me her permission to use her material on this page.
A few terms for your understanding: S/I = Scots-Irish, purely a U.S. term used to distinguish the Presbyterian/Protestant Irish, mostly from Northern Ireland, who emigrated to the U.S. in the 1700’s as separate and distinct from earlier and later Catholic emigrants.
Papists = Roman Catholics. You should understand that much of what happened in Scotland which resulted in the emigration to Ireland was the result of the English King realizing that the Pope held a “higher” position than that of the King of England. With that thought came the outlawing of the Catholic Church in the whole of the British Isles.
Ulstermen or Ulster-Scots = Another name for the Scots-Irish, since Ulster was the part of Northern Ireland in which the Scots were settled by the British. And Ulster Scots is the name by which the Scots-Irish are known in the United Kingdom.
Orangemen = This name for the Scots-Irish comes from William III, Prince of Orange, and is kept because his victory over despotic power laid the foundation for the evolution of Constitutional Democracy in the British Isles. [O.K. Some of this rhetoric is rather radical, but that is the nature of the people.]
In the early 1600’s, the border between Scotland and England was in terrible trouble. It was impossible to live peacefully and normally. In order to survive, the border people became “Border Reevers” (Robbers) and turned their hands to cattle, stealing, kidnapping, protectionism and fraud. Because of their way of life, they made excellent frontiersmen, guerrilla fighters and scouts. [However, the English had no use for people with such professions on their borders.] The most famous of these border clans were the Armstrongs, the Bells, the Grahams, and the Johnstons. The most notorious of the clans were the Pringles.
When James I of England (who was the Scottish King James VI and son of Mary, Queen of Scots) came to the throne in 1603, the border was finally “pacified”. Many people were killed and others sent to low countries. Whole families were sent to Ireland with the hopes that they would settle down to farming and be peaceful. However, their previous way of life had become so ingrained, they became the hard core of the Scots/Irish settlers. They were the best frontier fighters in Britain, if not in Europe.
The Emigration to the Colonies
The English landowners no longer had a need for the soldier farmers. There had been no harvest for 5 years due to the ravages of war and several severe winters. [This area of the Scots/Irish was hit by the same bad weather as the Palatines were in Germany].
This recreated the need for emigration in the early days of the 1700’s. Many paid passage by agreeing to 4 years as indentured servants in order to take advantage of the fertile and free land in the US. [In this we see many parallels between the Palatine migration and the Scots/Irish migration.
Both groups were non-conformist Protestants. Both groups were hit hard by warfare and religious persecution, and both groups were mainly farmers who had, in a final insult, been hit hard by severe weather.]
[Here, the movie “God’s Frontiersmen” describe a rather severe ocean voyage. This voyage is so severe that you may think it was extremely atypical. Not true.
The records left by the Palatines have similar references to bad ocean voyages, and even in the best of trips, which lasted 2 to 3 weeks; the ships were overloaded with people, the rations were short or just barely enough, the food was vermin ridden, and the water was stagnant and scummy.]
The ship “Sully” set sail for PA on the 31st of May and at first was blown off course northward. The weather turned very cold and icebergs were sighted. By the 10th of Aug. the weather had turned very warm and their rations were down to 1 1/2# of bread per passenger per week. 2 weeks later, the ration was cut even further. In the next 12 days, they were reduced to 2 biscuits per week. Hunger and thirst reduced them to shadows. Many killed themselves by drinking salt water or their own urine. They were saved only by a providential rain.
On Sept. 2, they finally saw land. Their journey had lasted 14 weeks or 3 1/2 months. [The film didn’t bring this out, but the Palatines tell of the disembarkation process at their destination.
First the ones who could pay full price were allowed to pay and get off the boat. Next the healthy ones were sold to their new masters for the full fee. Then unhealthy ones were sold at auction. This process often took several weeks. If one of the family died, the rest of the family members were held accountable for passage fees of the deceased.] However, like the Germans, the Ulstermen thought they had found the promised land.
The Scots/Irish occupied the hills around the settlements in PA, and later they did the same in Maryland. They chose that which most closely resembled the areas from which they’d come.
Those Irish who had indentured themselves to reach the US, set out for the frontier immediately on fulfilling their Indenture. The “frontier” was 40-50 mi. west of Philadelphia, and south in the foothills of the mountains in Western Maryland. They marked their property by cutting their initials in trees on the boundary of what they considered to be theirs, then cut circles in the bark to kill the tree. They refused to pay for the land, since God owned it.
Immigrant Irish wives spun flax, milled the corn, worked in the fields and bore 10-15 children. They also educated their own children. The Irish fell trees and cleared ’round the stumps, rather than clearing the land properly, as the German immigrants had learned to do. Home made whiskey was important for trade and made a harsh life more tolerable.
The Ulstermen were known for drinking, arguing, singing and dancing but neighbors gathered to clear land, build houses, harvest crops and THEN they partied.
The first Ulster settlement was in Donegal, PA – the Susquehanna being a barrier, and beyond which lay the rich Cumberland Valley. Eventually, a ferry opened the Cumberland Valley to the Scots/Irish and it became their heartland.
The Scots/Irish were used unknowingly to form a cordon around the English and the Germans. [Actually the Germans were settled a little further inland than the English, to provide a buffer between the English and the Indians, and the Irish were settled a little further into the frontier than even the Germans. Another example of the English solving two problems at once.]
For every Native American killed, 50 Irish settlers were either killed or kidnapped by Native Americans and a kind of literal bankruptcy took place in the Scots/Irish which would be termed racist genocide today.
The Scots/Irish moved down the Cumberland to VA and Carolina. From PA to SC, they dominated. In the Shenandoah Valley between the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mtns., two land grants existed.
During the 1740’s, here lived the Lyles, the Lusks, the Trimbles, and the Houstons. [Here we see another pattern developing. The old reevers of the Scots-English border, became the frontiersmen and the mountain men. The tenant farmers of the Scots settled in many of the same areas as the Palatines because of their similar history and disposition.
However, even among the farmers, the Scots tended to be more scrappy than the Germans, as the Presbyterian Scots never had a pacifist background as did the Anabaptist Palatines.]
The Scottish Record Office has made available some services online.
GENERAL REGISTER OFFICE FOR SCOTLAND INTERNET SERVICE
Internet service was formally launched by Henry McLeish, Minister of State at The Scottish Office 6 April 1999, with public access.
The service provides access to a fully searchable index of births/baptisms and banns/marriages from the Old Parish Registers dating from 1553 to1854, and births, marriages and deaths from the Statutory Index for 1855 to 1897. An index to census records for 1891 is available, along with 1881 census data.
Searching is possible on the following fields
||Event type (birth/baptism, marriage, death)
|Year of Registration (or range of years)
||Age (or age range)
||County (Old Parish Record)
This index constitutes one of the world’s largest databases of genealogical information, including nearly 30 million names.
Users may order register extracts (e.g. a birth certificate, a census entry) from the GRO(S) via the Web.
Payment for the service is by credit card, using a highly secure payment mechanism. Credit card details are transmitted in encrypted form, making this method more secure than using a credit card in a store or restaurant.
This venture was initiated and operated by OMS Services Ltd. The application is being developed by RTA, an associate company of OMS.
MORE INFORMATION General Register Office for Scotland Deputy Registrar General New Register House, Edinburgh EH1 3YT, UK Tel: +44(0)131-314 4434 Fax: +44(0)131-314 4405 Web http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/
OMS Services Ltd Dr Ian Galbraith, Managing Director
87 Moss Lane, Pinner, Middlesex HA5 3AT, UK
Tel: +44(0)181-866 5830 Fax: +44(0)181-868 1160 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Scotch-Irish-L. A mailing list for Scotch-Irish or Ulster Scots genealogy and culture.
Mailing address for postings is: email@example.com.
To subscribe, send the following to firstname.lastname@example.org: subscribe
- My History Page on the Palatines
- Lorine Schulze has an excellent page on Irish history, some Irish and Ulster-Scot surnames, and ship passenger lists on her Web Pages at the Olive Tree Enterprises Genealogy Site. This page gives some history from the Irish point of view. In other words, her page has a distinct “Green” tint, whereas mine is definitely “Orange”.
- Washington County, MDGenWeb Page
- Frederick County, MDGenWeb Page
- The Orange Standard, An Ulster-Scots Newsletter. Somewhat of a propaganda sheet, but it is interesting.
- Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia Extracted from the Original Court Records of Augusta County 1745-1800 by Lyman Chalkley Complete in Three Volumes. A reference work in progress of being digitized for the web.
- the Clan Gray Home Page
- the Clan Johnson Heritage Page – This is a great page on the Highlanders, the Border Scots.