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Ask-the-Pros — Question and Answer — Ireland to Scotland

Judith E. Wight answers today’s Ask-the-Pros Questions.

Question #1: How do we get from Ireland back to Scotland for families we know were in the plantation?

Answer #1: For readers who are unfamiliar with the term “plantation” it refers to lands in Ireland that were confiscated by the English crown.  This occurred during the 16th and 17th centuries.  The land was given to English, Welsh and Scottish settlers (usually the landed gentry class) thus displacing Irish Catholic landholders.

Given the time period it is all but impossible to document these early settlers.  The primary source of information that includes births/baptism, marriages and deaths/burials are church records.  Church records for the time period of interest were seldom kept this early.   If estate records survive for the place where the person resided in Ireland, it is  possible that the records may include information about the tenants of the estate such as deeds and leases, rent rolls, and other records.  The challenge is to determine who the estate owner was and then find out if records exist.

Question #2: How do we get from Ireland/Scotland to the Canadian settlements in the early 1800’s?

Answer #2: There are no comprehensive passenger lists for Canada prior to 1865.  The Library and Archives Canada website has an article about limited pre-1865 sources including immigration schemes.  See

Question #3: The census shows my relatives were naturalized, but I can’t find a record of it so can’t find the ship name for their immigration.

Answer #3:

It is uncertain if this question is referring to Canadian censuses or United States.  A person who was born in Ireland or Scotland would not have to be naturalized in Canadian since the person was already from the U.K.  If the immigrant was naturalized in the United States it is suggested that readers check out the article United States Naturalization and Citizenship at  It covers the process, records, and resources including online databases. This is too complex of a question to discuss in a paragraph or two, you may want to consider attending a Retreat where you can dedicate several days to this kind of research.

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