For centuries, English monarchs had tried, with limited success, to subjugate Ireland, and under the later Tudors had made serious attempts to settle Ireland with English colonists. Once he occupied the English throne, James I, as King James VI of Scotland, also invited the Scots to participate in the plantation of Ulster in particular. Scottish “undertakers,” who were granted vast estates, recruited the settlers, and, as many of them were from southwest Scotland, many of the settlers came from that region as well. Besides the pull of the “undertakers,” some of the inhabitants of Dumfries-shire, Kirkcudbrightshire, and Wigtownshire (now known as Dumfries and Galloway) were Scottish Covenanters fleeing from persecution.
The latest book from David Dobson is designed to assist family historians researching their origins in Dumfries and Galloway during the 17th century. Since only three of 86 parish registers of the Church of Scotland prior to 1685 survive for this area, Mr. Dobson’s researches attempt to fill the void as best as possible. The volume is based, overwhelmingly, on primary sources in the National Archives of Scotland and Edinburgh, and is fully referenced. Sources include the Court of Session, Commisary Courts of Dumfries and Edinburgh, the High Court of the Admiralty, Kirk Session Records, burgh records, Register of Deeds, monumental inscriptions, and more. The inhabitants are arranged alphabetically and are identified by a town or townland, date, and source. In some instances, Mr. Dobson includes additional details. The major families in the Dumfries/Galloway region were Gordon, Irving, Kennedy, Maxwell, McKie, McLellan, McDowall, and Johnston, and many are featured in the volume.