Scotch-Irish and Ulster Scots Family Research


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History in non-US Locales

 British North  America

What is now known as Canada was settled later than what is now known as the USA -- largely. We are ignoring of course many exceptions. However until after the American Revolution, British policy was to discourage settlement in Canada. Afterwards it began to look for ways to attract settlers. In addition, various land speculators brought some Scotch Irish to Canada quite early.

After the American Revolution some people moved from the USA to Canada. Apparently few of them were Scotch Irish. The Scotch-Irish were predominantly rebels in that war, but this doesn't mean that ALL were. Some were Loyalists.

In addition the border between the United States and Canada has always been porous. Since it is also highly rural, it was often not clear to people which side of the border they lived on. Some New England Scotch Irish did move to northern Vermont. There they intermarried with Canadians.

After the Revolution it was cheaper to travel to Canada, so many British, bound for the USA, still arrived at Canadian ports. It is estimated that up to one third of American immigrants entered the country this way.

The policy of the British Government protected the native peoples of British America at a time when the US government was out to exterminate them. Hence some Indian tribes in Canada, out of gratitude to the British Crown, formed Orange Order lodges of their own.


One of the causes of the American Revolution was the British practice of using the American colonies as a dumping ground for convicts. Back then, there were no prisons to house convicted criminals, except for debtors prisons like the Clink in London. Most convicts were sentenced to be whipped or fined. Serious criminals were permanently disposed of. Many were given a choice of exile in the colonies, either permanently or for a certain numbers of years. If they returned, they were hung. Prisoners were shipped off to America and there sold as indentured servants. For more info read Immigrants in Chains by Peter Coldham. Benjamin Franklin said that a third of the population were descended from or were these British prisoners. While some were simply poor people, vagrants, and petty criminals, some were violent. They preyed upon other colonials.

After the American Revolution Britain began to use her remaining colonies as penal colonies. Including, of course Australia.

Some of these criminals were Protestants from Ulster -- Ulster Scots.

In addition others chose to emigrate to Australia where they sometimes became prominent citizens.

Since Australia genealogy or history is not the forte of this author, check the Links page for more info.

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© 2008 Linda Merle. Do not duplicate without the written consent of the author.