The people who moved from Scotland to Ireland in the 17th century overwhelmingly originated in south-west Scotland. This region includes Ayrshire, from whose ports originated some of the earliest trading voyages to the New World. The opportunities in Ulster and Ayrshire’s close proximity to Ireland, however, discouraged transatlantic emigration. While many moved for good economic reasons, others fled from religious persecution. Those who settled in Ulster were the forefathers of the Scotch-Irish.
This book is the second volume in a series designed to provide information on Scottish communities that participated in the Ulster exodus and for which parish registers are virtually non-existent. The Old Parish Registers of the Church of Scotland are the backbone of genealogical research in Scotland, but in the case of Ayrshire, for example, only eight of 46 extant registers date from before 1650, the earliest dating from 1638. This work partially fills that gap and uses sources generally not available to American researchers with Scottish forebears, most of them primary sources in the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh and other sources, such as the Commissary Courts of Glasgow and Edinburgh, the High Court of the Admiralty, burgh records, Register of Deeds, Retours, Customs records, and a handful of published sources.
While Mr. Dobson makes no claims for comprehensiveness, this book does identify more than 1,800 17th-century residents of Ayrshire who may have figured in the exodus to Ulster. Each such individual is identified by name, occupation, at least one date (e.g., burgess of Ayr, 1607, or testament, 1662), and the source of the information. In many cases, the entries also identify the resident’s parents, spouse, or offspring; vessel(s) traveled on; additional dates; and more. Researchers with Boyd, Campbell, Cochrane, Cunningham, Dalrymple, Ferguson, Fullarton, Hunter, Kennedy, Montgomery, Muir, or Wallace lines should note that these families were much in evidence in Ayrshire in the 17th-century.
The first volume in this series, The People of Dumfries and Galloway, 1600-1699, is arranged in the same way as this second volume. The major families in the Dumfries-Galloway region were Gordon, Irving, Johnston, Kennedy, Maxwell, McKie, McLellan, and McDowall, and many are featured in this volume.