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Friday, 5 September 2014

They Came From Scotland

One of the key issues in tracking your Scottish ancestor often involves the gap between finding them in the Canadian records (BMD-Census) and being able to locate them in the Scottish records. While this may seem like a daunting task, it is often less of a challenge and more of a reward if you understand what brought them here in the first place. To do that, we need to understand a little bit of Scottish history. Not back to the beginning of time, just back to the beginning of emigration to the Americas.

Penal Transportation: 

Following the Battle of Dunbar in 1650, over 4000 Scots had been captured and imprisoned. Needless to say this presented a problem for the English in terms of the resources required to house and feed them, so a decision was made that the prisoners should be sold. Some were sold to coalmines, some were sold as weavers, some to the linen trades. However, these numbers were relatively small compared to the enormous number of men captured. Soon people began petitioning to have the men transported to the colonies. In fairly short order, 150 of the healthiest men were gathered, taken to London and then shipped on the Unity to New England, arriving in Massachusetts. For a list of Scottish Prisoners of War from the Battle of Dunbar and subsequent listing of men who were transported, this website is incredibly helpful: http://scottishprisonersofwar.com/unity-prisoners/ 

Several weeks after the sailing of the Unity, another 270 were led aboard the “John & Sara” and set sail for Boston. The ship’s list of the John & Sara has been transcribed and can be found at: http://www.us-roots.org/colonialamerica/main/john&sara.html

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