Nineteenth-century emigration from Scotland to the United States was a continuation of a process that had its roots in the seventeenth century. Unlike the majority of European emigrants, who represented surplus rural workers from an agrarian society, the Scottish emigrants of the Victorian period were skilled educated workers from urban industrial backgrounds whose expertise was in great demand in the rapidly industrializing cities of North America. While the total number of Scots emigrating is difficult to estimate with accuracy, as Irish and Continental emigrants often sailed from Scottish ports, it is likely that over 100,000 emigrants traveled to North America between 1825 and 1880 from Scottish ports.
The volume at hand represents the third in a series by Mr. Dobson to list Scottish emigrants of this era. In the absence of official passenger records, this volume is compiled overwhelmingly from Scottish newspapers such as the Edinburgh Evening Courant and the Perthshire Courier, and from the Register of Sasines, Register of Deeds, and other original documents in the National Archives of Scotland. In all, Mr. Dobson names an additional 1,500 Scottish emigrants not mentioned in the earlier volumes, with such identifying characteristics as place of residence, date, and source, and sometimes names and residence of family members and the name of the sailing vessel.