Scotch-Irish-L Archives

Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 1998-02 > 0887432753

From: linda Merle <>
Subject: Re: Does Scotch-Irish include English?
Date: Fri, 13 Feb 1998 21:05:53 -0800

Hi Iain,

> Can I take it that it is common practice in the United States to refer
> to "all those who came from Northern Ireland but who were not Gaelic
> Irish Catholic" as Scotch-Irish, even if their roots were, for
> example, in England, Holland or France, rather than Scotland?

Yes -- though the Canadians do not agree and therefore are more
correct in the historical sense. What happened in the USA is that
everyone got called "Scotch Irish" who came from Ireland. The Germans
got called "Dutch", presumedly because "Deutsch" sounds a lot like
it. It is not clear if all the people who identify themselves as
"Scotch Irish" really even passed through Ulster. Some -- like
Fischer in "Albion's Seed" claims some were from the borders.
He claims that the culture of the borders and of Ulster are the same --
one culture.

I'm not sure how I feel about that. My paternal great grandparents
immigrated from Durham and Stirling -- they were very very
different from my mother's family.

Many are set off on the wrong trail. It is esp. difficult because
many border riders were deported to Ulster -- so border names are
rampant in Ulster -- esp. Fermanagh, according to Bell "The
Surnames of Ulster".

I had a lot of discussion regarding the name "Scotch Irish" (which
I personally dislike) with a fella who is on the board of directors
of the Scotch Irish Society. He has spent his life studying these
things, from both the Ulster side and the American. He is convinced
(adamantly) that in the USA "Scotch-Irish" is a valid and proper term,
but not outside of it. In Ulster he uses "Ulster Scots" as well. He is
well aware that all Protestants in Ulster do not have Scots ancestors.

It's very difficult to do the kind of research we do here -- you
struggle back often to the 18 or 1700's in the USA, which is not
easy. Then you must find a link across the ocean. Then you must find
a second one, perhaps, unless the surname gives you a clear notion.

We've been fairly lucky here -- have made a lot of connections.

Linda Merle

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