What You Can Find in the Records
David Dobson’s Scots in the USA and Canada records details about Scottish immigrants who came to the U.S. and Canada during the mid- to later-19th century. Dobson extracted the information primarily from newspaper accounts, as well as archival documents such as passenger records.
Entries vary widely, depending on details given in the original source, but they may include the following:
- year or date of birth
- place of birth or residence
- father’s name
- spouse’s name
- year or date of death
- place of death
Entries may include other details about family members and relationships, marriage places, religious or professional affiliations, ship names, and similar facts. Dobson provides a list of abbreviations used for sources throughout the book on page iv.
Dobson notes that many of the Scottish immigrants of this period were “skilled, educated workers from urban industrial backgrounds whose expertise was in great demand in the rapidly industrialising cities of North America.” While pointing out that emigration numbers are hard to accurately pin down, Dobson does record that “between 1835 and 1838 over 60,000 emigrants left Scotland bound for North America; from 1840 to 1853 nearly 30,000 emigrated there; and in 1881 alone 38,000 left for the USA and 3,000 left for Canada, mostly via Greenock.”
Help preserve historical records for generations to come. Join the Ancestry World Archives Project, a collaborative effort involving thousands of people around the world keying digital records to make them free for everyone. Anyone can join, and you decide how much time you’ll contribute - as little as 15 minutes helps. Learn more.