The mid-19th century was a transitional period for Scottish emigration to North America. To quote Mr. Dobson, “Intermittent voyages of ships from Scotland to North America were to be replaced by a relatively integrated system whereby the railways would transport emigrants to major ports . . . .By mid-century, about half the passenger trade was by steamship, partly because of the increased capacity of these vessels.” It should be emphasized that many Scots whose ultimate destination was the U.S. opted for cheaper passage on ships that docked at Canadian ports. A number of the Scottish emigrants of this period were persons who faced eviction from the land because of the so-called Highland Clearances that converted large agricultural estates to sheep farms. Other Scots, displaced by the Industrial Revolution, simply hoped to find better opportunities for their skilled industrial or professional talents.
The purpose of this series is to enable researchers to link their emigrant ancestors’ first whereabouts in America with their port of embarkation in Scotland–and thus possibly the emigrants’ regions of origin. Based mostly on sailings documented in contemporary newspapers and other sources found in North American archives, Volume II identifies an additional 1,500 ships that made thousands of transatlantic passages between 1830 and 1860. For all of these voyages, the notices announced the departure of a particular ship that had the capacity and opportunity to carry passengers. Mr. Dobson has arranged the vessels in alphabetical order and gives, for each voyage, port of origin, port and date of arrival, name of captain, source of information, and sometimes the number of passengers. While not exhaustive, Volume II brings us closer to identifying the names, ports, and dates of departure/arrival of the majority of ships that participated in this important exodus.