Scotch-Irish & Black Irish

Sep 2013
Incidentally, the Irish immigrants to the American colonies in the 1600s and 1700s were mostly Scots-Irish Protestants from Ulster. They were seeking farmland, which wasn't available in overcrowded Ulster. They were Presbyterian yeomen farmers with little attachment to the Anglican Irish ascendancy. Once in America, they supported Cromwell's Puritan government, which had overthrown the royal government. Later, they mostly supported the American Revolution. And their descendants were in the vanguard of the wave of American settlers who moved westward across the North American continent throughout the 1800s.

The Catholic Celtic Irish immigration to America didn't start until the Potato-Famine of the mid-1800s. If it hadn't been for the large Protestant Scots-Irish emigration out of Ulster in the 1600s & 1700s, they'd probably now constitute about half the population of modern Ireland.
You've summed it up well. Protestants in Ireland have always been a small minority and its a miracle that they are still there. In the 1800s they came under pressure from landlords and Catholics too and many of them headed off to America.


Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
Thanks for that info I wasn't aware of the actual numbers. How does it work re the Irish in America in the census are they classified as Irish or Irish-American. Is there a separate classification for them to use Irish-American.

There are separate categories of nationality/place of birth or of ethnic 'identity'.
Place of birth or nationality you cannot change on the census, but someone can 'identify' as anything they like.


Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
...someone might 'identify' as being 'Scotch Irish' just because their ancestors came from an area where they believe there was a high proportion of S-I.
For example, they might mistakenly believe Appalachia had a large amount of S-I immigration, even if that wasn't the case

This surname study, mentioned in the link, shows only 7% in 1790

Misconceptions about the Scotch-Irish
'A standard assessment of the ethnic composition of the first federal census is Surnames in the United States Census of 1790, published by the American Council of Learned Societies... Using surnames, this lengthy report judges the population of Tennessee and Kentucky combined to have been 57.9% English, 10.0% "Scotch," 7.0% "Ulster Irish" (i.e. Scotch-Irish), 5.2% South Irish, 14.0% German, 3.6% Dutch/French/Swedish, and 2.3% Miscellaneous (N.B.: people of African ancestry were not considered)...Subsequently it has become clear that for a variety of reasons, the Scotch-Irish are significantly underrepresented in this calculation...'
Likes: Fred Crawford


Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
The Scots- Irish made up in obstreperousness what they lacked in number
often in the most remote ( and cheaper ) lands on the frontier , they were great Indians killers
what other nation went to war for whiskey
Nov 2014
Birmingham, UK
If the Johnny Armstrong you are referring to was the same man also known as Black Jock Armstrong, then yes. Armstrong made the serious error of attempting to treat King James as his equal. James was on one of the occasional forays that the Scottish government mounted to restore order in the borders. Basically, this involved James descending on the borders with a huge armed band who would burn and destroy indiscriminately as they hunted for people with the right surnames to hang off trees as a warning to others. Such supposed 'judicial expeditions' were usually as bad as the worst reiving forays and stand as a stark reminder as to how little effective control Edinburgh had over its border counties.

Some reivers were summarily strung up during raids, but as a general rule, the leaders didn't have much too fear from the supposed judicial forum for dealing with their crimes, which were the warden courts.

Geordie Burn is a good example. He was a horrible little hoodlum who acted as the enforcer for the Kerrs, a Scottish family who, despite being active raiders, also periodically held the wardenship of one of the Scottish marches (and were therefore supposedly responsible for upholding law and order). Because he had the protection of the Kerrs, he thought no-one could touch him. Unfortunately, he got picked up whilst out on some night-time foray by Robert Carey, a new English deputy warden who was out to make a name for himself. Carey's decision to hang Burn amazed everyone and led to a massive feud with Robert Kerr. The night before his execution, Burn was in a reflective mood and basically 'fessed up to what he had done. Carey recorded the confession in his memoirs (which is one of the best little books you can get if you are interested in border history). A remarkable litany of crimes which Burn genuinely never thought he'd have to answer for.
The memoirs of Carey and the border lifestyle are quite brilliantly fictionalised in the novels of P F Chisolm, if you're interested.
Likes: Peter Graham
Jun 2017
I made a research tree, among several other research trees, of the Virginia Taylors. But I haven't looked at it for a while. This is at Ancestry, where you can have several trees. Anyway, as has been said already, Prez Zachary Taylor's direct paternal line goes back to England. He is also a first cousin of James Madison. Furthermore, actor Elizabeth Taylor is also in his branch of the Taylors of Virginia. I am connected in one way via the Virginia Lee clan (Robert E. Lee). And I'm probably connected from another angle, but I can't find records or other peoples' trees that I can connect to the Virginia Taylors. (Not all Taylors in Virginia are/were connected to this, what I call the Virginia Taylors). Abraham Lincoln is also connected, via his mother, to the Virginia Lee clan and is a distant cousin of Robert E. Lee. I am closer to Abe Lincoln than to R.E. Lee.
As a genealogist, let me advise you to ignore online trees.

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