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  1. #1
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    Ancestor fibbed on where they were from?

    So in going back and doing genealogy one finds all sorts of strange questions. Here is mine. My family has always celebrated and maintained our Scottish heritage. Our family "lore" basically the verbal history of the family as it has been passed down. Says we came from the Morrisons of Lewis. My family has always had copies of the sailing papers of our first US immigrant. He sailed from Liverpool and in his US immigration papers his country of origin was Scotland. This is as much as anyone was able to find for decades and it didn't particularly contest the belief that we were from the Highlands if not Lewis itself albeit that's a long way to go to catch a boat. A DNA test on my father shows that is not the case. I'm adopted so my DNA is useless in this respect. As more information has come available we have found that as of the 1790 our family is from northern Yorkshire, The only way to go any farther back is to travel over to England/Scotland and find sources that aren't online. The conundrum is, why did the sailing papers say Scotland when they were from England. Did that border move more regularly than I realize? Would people who lived On the English side of the border consider themselves Scots and vice versa?

  2. #2
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    My ancestry is also a bit convoluted. As I suspect most people's would be if they dug deep enough.

    The oldest document that my fathers side of the family has, is a US census record from the early 1840's, where one of my direct ancestors states that his father was born in Scotland, but lived in the town of Ashton under Lyne near Manchester England.

    It seems that the family re-located from a small coastal town NW of Glasgow and moved to England for work, not clearances. After living there long enough to have at least one child they caught a ship out of Dublin, Ireland (A major deep water port where many of the cross-Atlantic liners used as the last stop before making the crossing) to America where they settled in Eastern Virginia.

    We have not yet found what name the family had in Scotland as the research seems to sugest that they may have adopted the name "Ashton" from the town in England (or perhaps even from the very small Scottish fishing village)

    The family would have been Lowlanders so would not have had a Scottish Highland Clan association. Just working folk.

    So I think I can honestly say that I am of Scottish ancestry on my fathers side. (via England, Ireland, Virginia, Illinois.) I have no Clan affiliation and do not claim one. I do not wear Clan Tartans but I do wear Tartan kilts.
    Steve Ashton
    Forum Owner

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  4. #3
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    Genealogy is certainly a journey.
    While you have your ancestors in Yorkshire in 1790, you don't give a timeframe for when they emigrated to the US through Liverpool. Depending on the timing, there could be several explanations. After the Union of the Kingdoms, Scots often went where the jobs were and given the emergence of the industrial revolution that could be anywhere.

    Given that in the USA it would have been an advantage during some time periods to be English rather than Scottish it would make more sense to claim an English origin if they could.

    Again - just thinking out loud here.
    President, Clan Buchanan Society International

  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ctbuchanan View Post
    Genealogy is certainly a journey.
    While you have your ancestors in Yorkshire in 1790, you don't give a timeframe for when they emigrated to the US through Liverpool. Depending on the timing, there could be several explanations. After the Union of the Kingdoms, Scots often went where the jobs were and given the emergence of the industrial revolution that could be anywhere.

    Given that in the USA it would have been an advantage during some time periods to be English rather than Scottish it would make more sense to claim an English origin if they could.

    Again - just thinking out loud here.

    The sailing papers were from the 1840s if memory serves.

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blueline72 View Post
    A DNA test on my father shows that is not the case. ... As more information has come available we have found that as of the 1790 our family is from northern Yorkshire, The only way to go any farther back is to travel over to England/Scotland and find sources that aren't online.
    I feel like there's some information missing here. How did the DNA test link your ancestor to Yorkshire?

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobus View Post
    I feel like there's some information missing here. How did the DNA test link your ancestor to Yorkshire?
    The DNA was done first. Then found out about the yorkshire ancestor later through online research.

  8. #7
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    There is a lot going on here! First off, Scots move around a lot for any number of reasons and always have done. Someone could have been born in Scotland then moved to England, or have been born of Scottish parentage there, or lived there for a while but moved back and forward for work, and still define themselves as Scottish. Me, for example. I'm a Morrison, my grandfather was from Wester Ross, my father from Angus and like your ancestor I'm now in North Yorkshire . My father in law is from Moray, my wife with his very Scottish surname is from the deep south west of England, we met when we both lived in Wales and of course she is now in Yorkshire as well. It's a small island really.

    Second - you're talking about the Morrisons. A very long-standing mythology has grown up about Vikings and Lewis etc and anyone who is a Morrison is obviously going to want to buy into that romantic origin story - possibly including some of your ancestors who could then have passed it down to you as family lore. In reality the present-day Morrison "clan" is a recently invented catch-all for everyone who has that surname. It includes the Islanders but also people who clearly originated from other areas of the UK and Ireland.

    So unless and until you are able to follow up your detailed genealogy by visiting the UK, I wouldn't worry about it. If you have written proof your ancestor was a Morrison and a Scot, take it at face value.

    Regards, EEM.
    "Humanity is an aspiration, not a fact of everyday life."

  9. #8
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    Ancestors 'get things wrong' all the time....we inherited a venerated table that family lore for the past 3 generations claimed was brought over on the boat from the 'old country'. A brief examination would have revealed the Sears label underneath
    “It has never been hard to tell the difference between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine.”

    P.G. Wodehouse.

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