Getting Out There to Learn About the Scots-Irish

Part Two from Finding Help With Your Scots-Irish Line originally appearing in Tracing Your Irish Roots, Moorshead Magazines Ltd., 2012 ©Cindy Thomson.

 How Ireland Can Help Researchers

Family Tree. Tracing your Scots-Irish roots.Tracing a family line back as far as the 17th century might seem daunting, but records do exist. And where better to get help and learn about this group’s culture than a society established for that purpose?

A special school for genealogists researching Northern Ireland roots is offered in conjunction with several Northern Ireland agencies, such as the Ulster Historical Foundation; the University of Ulster; Centre for Migration Studies at the Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh, County Tyrone; and local historical societies. Past participants came from the United States, Canada, New Zealand, The Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland, to enjoy a holiday researching with the help of local experts. Billed as “An Activity Holiday with a Difference”, the program stretches over a week and involves local history lectures, research visits to the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, and visits to historical sites. It is these visits to important sites within the homeland of our ancestors that help make this school intriguing to many, but the value of having access to local historians and genealogists should not be underestimated.

Previous students have enjoyed touring Belfast City Hall and Parliament Buildings. They

Tracing Your Scots-Irish Roots, Cindy Thomson

Ulster American Folk Park

also visited historical locations in the countryside, such as Sentry Hill House, and the Ulster American Folk Park and Centre for Migration Studies at Omagh. The Duke of Abercorn gave a personal tour of his home at Barons Court.

[Since this article appeared, I’m not sure the school is still running. But for research assistance options, check this site.]

One benefit is that because this effort is being supported by the University of Ulster, registrants will have access to that university’s library and electronic resources for genealogy research.

Short of making the trip, there are some materials available that can aid your research. Researching Scots-Irish Ancestors by William Roulston, published by the Ulster Historical Foundation, 2005, is said to be the first comprehensive guide for family historians searching for ancestors in 17th and 18th century Ulster.Researching Scots-Irish Ancestors

The society also offers two pocket histories/fold out maps entitled “The Scots in Ulster Surname Map and Pocket History” and “The Plantation of Ulster: The story of the Scots, 1610-1630.” You can order these for only the cost of postage and handling through these links: Surname Map    Plantation of Ulster

An online resource worth plugging your surname into is the Scots in Ulster. I found several hits for Thomson in this database, which could provide some clues for own research.

Closer to Home

In America, researchers should not overlook local organizations where help may be found, such as The Ulster-Scots Society of America, whose stated purpose reads: “The Ulster-Scots Society of America is primarily an educational and social organization committed to the promotion of the Ulster-Scots history and heritage, especially as it pertains to the nearly quarter of a million immigrants who left the north of Ireland (Ulster) during the 18th century and settled in America (often referred to as: The Great Migration).”

The Scotch-Irish Society of the United States of America is another group to check into. From their website: “The Scotch-Irish Society of the United States of America was founded to promote and preserve Scotch-Irish history and culture of America’s Scotch-Irish heritage and to keep alive the esprit de corps of the Scotch-Irish people. Membership in the Society is available to United States citizens, and to legal permanent residents of the United States, who are of Scotch-Irish descent.” The Center publishes issues of the Journal of Scotch-Irish Studies.

[I had more links in the article, but since links are hard to keep up to date, I won’t repeat them all here. If you know of any, please leave them in the comments. And by the way, did anyone else find it amusing that the Scotch-Irish Society used French to describe themselves, or is it just me?]

Tom&Cindy Thomson, Ireland 2010

Our 2010 trip to Ireland, taken at Inch Abbey, County Down, Northern Ireland.

These are just some of the resources available, but by consulting those who have gathered together to promote research and understanding of the Scots-Irish people, you will find like-minded people who can help you along your research journey.

11 thoughts on “Getting Out There to Learn About the Scots-Irish


    To be scots Irish you have to be scots and Irish the scots Irish are from Scotland if you are American and scots Irish then you then your living in a bubble and part of a identity thief of the scots Irish get real you would be American Irish am scots Irish and proud how can you be scots Irish and born in America your deluding yourself am from a proud scots Irish back ground a true real celt so please stop trying to steal our identity there is no such thing as American scots Irish we debate this all the time in Scotland and feel we are being robbed of our identity so plz reavaluate who u are ok the proud scots Irish celtic and proud and born to fight the good fight !

    1. cindythomson

      This was difficult to read, but if I understand you right, you think I’m trying to steal your identity as Scots-Irish? Not at all. Be Scots-Irish and proud. As for me, I’m American. I have Scots-Irish roots. I was talking about ancestors who came to America who were indeed Scots-Irish as you define it. Historically, the term was created in America to describe them. I can assume you did not read my post.


        The term scotsirish is for the scotsirish if ur American then you are either American scots or Irish u can’t be both if you research it proper u will see am right this scotsirish roots is wrong your either scots Irish or welsh you can’t be both or English American your stealing a creeds identity simple as that a feel you’s are deluded bigots you’s yanks that use the term scots Irish you know it and I know it !

  2. cindythomson

    Uh, no. I am not calling myself Scots-Irish. Just American. I have lineage, and that’s what this article is about. I never said in my post otherwise. Who’s a bigot?

  3. Ken. Latimer

    What is your problem folks? As an Ulster Scot I feel that those Americans who have Ulster Scots/Scots Irish ancestry should celebrate that ancestry ,no group of immigrant people have contributed more to your great nation than The Ulster Scots,Take a look back through the list of your Presidents ,your military leaders and those early frontiersmen who forged your land and its government and thank God for Ulster Scots Presbyterians.

  4. Citizen69

    Hi, good post. You are perfectly entitled to refer to yourself as Scots-Irish as the term relates to an ethnic group not a nationality. The use of punctuation isn’t the only thing BampotsUtd doesn’t understand!

  5. county derry post

    Hi Cindy. Thanks for this article on the Scots-Irish.

    I am from Northern Ireland, and it is a wonderful place, full of amazing history and culture.

    Many of the Scots-Irish went on to emigrate to the USA. And wow, what a wonderful impact they made there. Good people, hard working, honest, fair, with a love for music, poetry and dance (and a dram or two of whiskey) 🙂

    In my local graveyard (county derry), via an old gravestone, I can trace my own family tree back to the late 1700s.

    And in that same small rural graveyard, there are two graves with references to families that emigrated to America, 100 plus years before. Or as the gravestone writing said “the new world”

    I did some research on one of those families that emigrated. If interested, it is at

    Best regards.

    PS – love your website. Keep up the great work.


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