Genealogist & Family Historian
Cecilia L. Fabos-Becker
AmeriCeltic is Raising Funds to "Digitize" Celtic Family History Collections and put them On-line where anyone interested in tracing their ancestors through the records they left behind can easily use them. (See list below). To help fund this important work, just click the 'donate' button below.
AmeriCeltic promotes awareness and preservation of the full range of Celtic culture and history. We are not a paid genealogy service. We encourage everyone to do as much of their own research as possible and give them tools to search for Irish roots in Ireland and Scots-Irish connections back to Scotland.
Over forty years of research into our own Scots-Irish, Irish, Scottish and Welsh ancestry, we discovered many sources and links that are useable by many families. In the past few years we've been gathering resources and links to put on-line in one place, here on our website, www.AmeriCeltic.net to make it as easy as possible for others doing the same kind of research we have to find their own families.
Most Scots-Irish Americans had ancestors who came to this country from about 1685-1745. Many of those ancestors spent a generation or more in Ireland between Scotland and the U.S. If they are trying to find their Scottish ancestors and shires and villages/towns from which they came, it is usually helpful to know who and where the intervening ancestors were in Ireland.
We have been focusing on the 17th and 18th centuries' (and for some the 16th century's as well) Irish records. For instance, we have put on-line, families and the counties and parishes in which they resided, found in the 1659-60 still existing hearth rolls, Scots families listed in the original plantation grants of Ulster, and have links to county and other resource sites that identify leading Scots Covenanters. We just added a link on www.AmeriCeltic.net to the thousands of 1641 rebellion depositions and claims held at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, in which family members, neighbors, and rebels are identified and the locations in which they lived. We have a book on 1630 muster rolls for all of Ireland on order.
We can also do look ups from materials in our library (no charge) that, because they are not yet out of print, we cannot put on-line. We additionally do look ups from my existing files and published materials on several families: notably Wallace, Woods, Campbell, Ross, Dunlap, McCormick, Bruce, and Ramsey. Again, there is no charge for a look up from our existing materials.
Additionally, we have links to and some source materials for Virginia colonial Scots-Irish families, e.g. a direct link to Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish by Lyman Chalkley, a 3-volume set of abstracts of most of the county records for Augusta County, Virginia, and partial records for four daughter counties, since thousands of Scots-Irish, Scottish and Irish families spent a few years to several generations in this area as they spread southward and westward over time.
We welcome contributions of other links that emphasize primary and valid secondary source materials that people have found very useful in tracing their Irish and Scots-Irish linesWe also have a weekly AmeriCeltic newsletter, and events calendar that covers much of northern California, for those who want to enjoy music and other events that are part of the culture of their history, and we welcome contributions to both. We promote a number of the Scottish Gathering and Games in California, among the hundreds of cultural activities available to enjoy or in which to participate.
Here is why many Americans are a blend of Scots-Irish, Anglo-Irish and English, and why, to find their ancestral roots in Scotland or northern England, first family researchers must trace their families through the generations that lived in Ireland.
Not all Scots-Irish families were the same size, nor did all these families have many members who needed to leave Scotland for something other than being on the wrong side of a major political issue. After losing the battle of Flodden Field in 1513, Scotland was reduced in size and amount of arable land, but the disputed Scottish-English border was settled. Some smaller clans who lived between larger clans were also being squeezed out. What had been formerly claimed by Scotland and was now annexed to the rest of northern England, was not much better in climate and fertility than most of Scotland. The large split border clans and families were experiencing some of the same growth difficulties.
At the same time, of the Scottish clans and Anglo-Scottish families of northern England were experimenting with new and more crops and improving the quality of livestock. Overall, the population of Scotland began to increase. The leaders of larger, more populous clans needed additional land to accommodate this growth.
Meanwhile, the treachery and rebellion of the three Irish earls, in the late 16th and first few years of the 17th century offered opportunities for expansion and growth in Ireland, as thoughtout Europe, law and custom of the time required the defeated to forfeit their lands. This applied equally to the lands of these rebellious earls, as well as he lands of all their feudal subjects who had been forced to follow them.
In broad terms, McDonalds, and their allies and supporters were mostly in Antrim, where they had always held lands even when a large number had moved to Scotland. O'Donnell and McDonnell/McDonald are all one and the same, the last direct lines of the ancient archipelago kingdom of Dalriada that included northeast Ireland and a substantial part of western Scotland as well as the numerous islands between. These families also held land in what is now northern Sligo and Donegal.
Other Scots settled the other Ulster counties: Down, Armagh, Tyrone, Coleraine (later merged with the London owned Londonderry, now called Derry), Fermanagh and Donegal. North English, and Normans had been settling the eastern and southern counties, some as early as the 12th century when the king of Leinster had first begun importing mercenaries. Other than the McDonalds and allies and mercantile lowland coastal Scots families, most of the large plantation settlements of Scots began with James Hamilton, first Lord Claneboy and Sir Hugh Montgomery, Laird of Braidstane, a cadet to the Earl of Eglinton. These two and their extended families were largely Ayrshire families. They settled in County Down and brought a branch of the Campbells with them.
People usually think of the Campbell family as exclusively from Argyll, with the exception of the wayward, often considered black-sheep branch of Breadalbane, and the smaller branch of Cawdor, that once even was more English than Scottish. However, there has long been a large Campbell branch, the house of Loudon, descended from the second son of the Lord of Lochawe, before his line became "Argyll," in Ayrshire. The house of Loudon eventually attained its own earldom, had cadet houses, and more cadets to those. The bottom rung didn't even own land, but was granted a relatively poor piece of leased land along the Ayrshire coast, from the Earl of Eglinton, with whom it and the cadet house above had mercifully for both, become intermarried. That piece of coastal leased land was almost all sand and constantly threatened with becoming permanently submerged in the rising Irish Sea. It was no place to raise a growing family and future generations, unless they were planning on evolving flippers or gills. Neither were most other bottom-rung lands of cadets to cadets of any major house of any large clan. When young Hugh Montgomery, himself laird of a rather insignificant piece of property called "Braidstane," said, "I'm going to try my fortune in Ireland," his younger Campbell of Skeldon in-laws were only too happy to say, "Can we join you?" They all embarked from Portpatrick and arrived at what they built into the port of Donaghdee between 1605 and 1607.
One of the items we have just added on our documents webpage, 'Intro. Extracts from the Campbell of Skeldon and Caldwell Collection' covers families that were among the earliest Scottish settlements in County Down, is and includes the pedigrees of the most of the Campbells of Skeldon in Ireland, and Caldwell families with whom they had become allied more than once by marriage. They had previously become so allied with Montgomery's.
Embedded in the introduction to this first set of primary source documents is a link to a second document, 'Montgomery Papers: 1603-1706'. This volume consists of compiled papers of the Montgomery's, Campbells, and other related families or families with whom they had a number of transactions. This link can also separately be accessed under our "sources" webpage. It includes mention of some Irish families who had been allowed to remain as they had not been found to have supported the two leading rebellious earls of Ulster.
We have an additional new link under 'sources' to 'The Hamilton Manuscripts'. 'The Hamilton Manuscripts,' covers, in addition to several Hamilton lines, families of Upper Ards in County Down, including Maxwells and some Wallaces, as well as parts of the Campbells of Skeldon.
Combined with the link to the heritage centre site for Down by Ros-Davies, these several items now comprise a nearly complete group of County Down related materials that cover four generations and more of Scots families in County Down, one of the leading counties for eventual migration of Scots-Irish to the U.S. in the 18th century.
AmeriCeltic Ancestors Archives Project Target Documents
We're sure there are many more private collections, library collections covering many families before 1850 (when the U.S. census began naming wives, children, ages and birth states/countries), and which could help replace civil records lost in the War Between the States, the census records burnt in the War of 1812, and numerous courthouse fires in the days of wooden buildings, oil lamps and candles and no fire departments in the U.S. Likewise are more collections than just those of the RCB Library in Dublin, Ireland to help replace all the records lost in the explosion and fire of the Public Record Office in Dublin in 1922. For the millions of Americans of Scottish descent who came from younger sons of cadet houses of major clans, the archives of the clan chiefs and titled clan leaders would be very helpful to family history research.
There are states, who through their state archives or state libraries are trying to digitize and get on-line all county records prior to 1900 or 1910 and will accept donations to expedite the process, such as Virginia.
AmeriCeltic is seeking to identify, locate and help fund digitization and uploading of these many collections. If you know of other collections, please send us an email telling us about them. If you would like to donate to the effort, please use the donate button above. Most of the collections below will require under $250 to put online. Please contribute what you can, and we will acknowledge your contribution appropriately.
The Charles Campbell Papers (many boxes of letters, history, etc. covering the Campbell families of Virginia from about 1740 to the end of the War Between the States), College of William and Mary
The Crockett and Dunlap Papers, University of South Carolina
The Andrew Woods (of Albemarle and Botetourt Counties, VA) and West Virginia and Ohio Descendants' Papers, Clemens Library, University of Michigan
Collections/Manuscripts at the Registered Church Body (RCB) Library in Dublin, Ireland (using numbering system of the RCB Library)
No. 6 Inscriptions from Headstones at St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin; Artane in Dublin; Rostrevor in County Down, etc..
No. 13 Hamilton Family Deeds and Legal Papers related to mainly the Hamilton family of County Tyrone and Londonderry. (1736-1879)
No. 18 Ossory Marriage Licenses 1738-1807
No. 23 Collected by Groves, Tenison Arthur: Extracts from the 1766 religious censes; the 1634 tax subsidy rolls; the 1664-5 hearth money returns (all fireplaces were taxed and the heads of households were named); 1660 poll tax returns; 1740 list of Protestant housholders.
No. 28 Donoughmore in County Armagh, copies of parish records transcribed by Capt. Y.A. Barger; transcriptions made from original parish records that were destroyed in 1922.
No. 29 Ward, Edward Gordon; copies of parish records of Clontibret, County Monaghan.
No. 30 Swanzy, Henry Biddall, Dean of Dromore; Pedigrees of 120 Irish Families compiled from original parish and family records-25 volumes.
No. 31 Swanzy, H.B., Notebooks of his genealogical research, abstracts of prerogative wills, etc. that were used to compile the 120 pedigrees.-9 volumes
No. 32 Copy of the 1625 Inquisition on the Culdees of Armagh.
No. 36 Webster, John Thomas, Rector of Ballyboy parish, County Meath; copies of the parish records of Ballyboy from about 1709-1890, from original sources destroyed in 1922.
No. 37 Groves, Tenison Arthur. More extracts from the 1766 religious census, related to the dioceses of Dublin, Glengalough, Limerick, Killaloe, Meath and Kildare.
No. 71 Ballymoden, County Cork; copy by Rev. Walter William Stewart, curate, of the baptisms of the parish of Ballymoden from 1695-1793.
No. 80 Welply, William Henry, genealogist; abstracts of wills, marriage licence bonds, deeds, chancery records, etc., pedigree notebooks and misc. genealogical documents and research notes related to families mostly in the province of Munster, especially in Cork. 17th-20th centuries.-52 volumes and 8 boxes.
No. 102 Durrow in Ossory; extracts from parish registers for the parish of Durrow in County Laois (aka Queen's County)
No. 207 Welply, William Henry; genealogical notebooks containing extracts from parish registers, Killinkert, Co. Cavan; extracts of Clogher and Kilmore diocesan wills and Irish prerogative wills 18th and 19th centuries; chancery bills 17th and 18th centuries, etc..
No. 675 Inch, Down extracts from the 1766 religious censes naming Protestants and Catholics.
Additionally, there are private clan and family archives whose owners would like to have digitized and on-line:
The Duke of Argyll, the entire archives of Argyll, including sheriff's records of Inveraray and Bute; all the cadet houses of Argyll who had transactions with Argyll or whose boxes of records for one reason or another returned to Argyll, such as those of the baronets of Auchinbreck.
The Earl and Countess of Rosse, Birr Castle, County Offaly, Ireland; records of two lines of the Parsons family and families with whom members intermarried; Irish, Norman-Irish and Scots-Irish families of counties Wicklow, Meath, Offaly, etc. are in these records.
Family Histories Researched by Celia Fabos-Becker
The following family history names are mostly in Celia's late mother's family history. They are mostly Scottish, with some Irish, French, Welsh and Native American (from anglicized records, e.g. Sizemore). I continue to research them with the goal of getting all of her lines back to European branches and places where they originated just before emigration. For the Scottish names, for those who passed through Northern Ireland, the point of origin I want is actually Scotland. The completed history will include Northern Ireland, along with the various colonies/states in what is now the U.S., as well as the last place in Scotland. Also, many of the "English," are actually Cornish or from the Welsh or Scottish borderlands with Welsh or Scottish ancestry.
For communications regarding the information in this site and contributions to this site send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org