As early as 1575, a number of Scottish scholars and merchants gravitated to the cities of Holland, Zealand, and Flanders because of the educational and commercial opportunities they offered. For example, Antwerp and Rotterdam were the great emporiums of northern Europe where colonial products from America, Africa, and Asia were distributed. For their part, Scottish Covenanters went to the Netherlands to flee persecution under the Stuarts and to live among their Calvinist brethren. Probably the majority of Scots in the Netherlands were soldiers fighting in the service of the United Provinces in its 80-year struggle for independence against the Spanish Habsburgs and later France. The Scottish presence in the Netherlands was such that by 1700 about a thousand Scots lived in the city of Rotterdam alone, many of them members of the famous Scots Brigade. Over the course of the 17th and 18th centuries, some of these Scots or their descendants participated in the Dutch immigration to America.
In 2004 Scottish emigration expert Dr. David Dobson combed primary and secondary sources on both sides of the Atlantic in order to document these links between Scotland, the Netherlands, and America. The result was Scots-Dutch Links in Europe and America, 1575-1825, which provides over 2,000 separate references to this traffic. Now Dr. Dobson has assembled a second collection of Scots-Dutch links from primary and secondary sources. In each case, he states the individual’s name, occupation (soldier, merchant, student, etc.), date of the reference, and the source. Marriage entries typically give the Scot’s name and place of origin, those of his spouse, and sometimes the name(s) of parents, or more. In a few cases, the references are to Dutch persons who migrated in the opposite direction, lured by Scotland’s offer of full naturalization. The author cautions researchers to note that the names brought to America by these immigrants were generally modified by the Dutch and, on occasion, provide no clue to their actual Scots origin.