Scottish Ancestors in 1700s Carolina

By David A. Fryxell Premium

Q. Can you help me trace a kidnapped Scottish relative who landed in the Carolinas in the mid- to late 1700s?
A. According to the Settling of Carolina website by J.D. Lewis, Scottish emigration soared after England and Scotland formed the United Kingdom in 1707. Highland Scots from the northwest were most desperate to leave, especially after the 1746 British suppression of the Jacobite Rebellion. Emigration brokers and colonial land speculators sought these tough but impoverished people, who landed in frontier valleys such as along the Cape Fear River in North Carolina. Note, however, that some so-called Scots in America actually came from Ulster in Northern Ireland, which their ancestors had colonized in the 1690s.
Two books written by Peter Wilson Coldham and published by the Genealogical Publishing Co., include indentured servants who came to the Carolinas: The Complete Book of Emigrants in Bondage, 1614-1775 and Emigrants in Chains, 1607-1776. You also can search them in three databases on subscription site
For data specifically about the Carolinas, try the two-volume Directory of Scots in the Carolinas, 1680-1830, by David Dobson, also from Genealogical Publishing Co. (on CD) and available on has other works by Dobson you may find useful; search the card catalog for Dobson or Scots. To learn more about indentured servants in North Carolina, see the chapter in Slavery and Servitude in the Colony of North Carolina by John Spencer Bassett.
From the January/February 2015 Family Tree Magazine 

Get Your Free Essential Genealogy Research Forms

Sign up for the Family Tree Newsletter and receive 10 research forms as a special thank you!

Get Your Free Genealogy Forms

  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Download the Essential Family Tree Forms Library!

Can’t get enough forms to organize family facts? This download contains over 100+ templates, checklists and worksheets to track your research—from conflicting death dates to DNA matches, censuses to source citations.