Unfortunately, the circumstances of how the Scottish prisoners of war came to the New World, taken from the battlefield by hostile captors, marched, deprived, and shipped to the New World against their will, does not lend itself to a well-documented-paper-trail for us to follow.
The origins of these men in most cases is sparse and sketchy and requires us to be creative problem solvers using everything available in our contemporary genealogists’ toolbox.
On this page I would like to suggest some of the indicators and clues that could or should be considered when trying to understand the first and second generations of the early Scotsmen in Massachusetts.
Just brainstorming here…:
DNA SURNAME PROJECTS:
Hamilton DNA Surname Project “John Hamilton, b.1634 Scotland” represented by Group R1b-5 (Formerly Group E1)
PLACES OF RESIDENCE:
Many of the Scots sought the western or northern edges of society where they could practice their faith and culture without hassle from English Puritans.
PLACES OF WORSHIP:
Most of the Scots would have been Presbytarians rather than Puritans
EARLY FAMILY STORIES AND RECORDS:
Some families have passed down oral and/or written records of their ancestor’s Scottish origins. There may be family records passed down.
The Scots Charitable Society of Boston, Established 6 Jan 1657:
“It is no coincidence that the Scots Charitable Society was established in Boston on 6 Jan 1657 “for the relief of Scotchmen”; around that time many of the Dunbar and Worcester veterans would have been ending their years of servitude.” “The Scottish prisoners of war who were sold into virtual slavery in New England were initially looked down upon by the English settlers. According to the Massachusetts Bay Militia Regulations dated 26 May 1652, “Scotsmen, Negroes and Indians, inhabiting with or servants to the English, from the age of 16-60 shall be listed and hereby enjoined to attend training.”
From: Scottish Emigration to Colonial America, 1607-1785, page 36, by David Dobson c1994 paperback version 2004
Any Scottish associations in Puritan New England before about 1655-1660.
INDIVIDUAL NEW ENGLAND STATE RECORDS:
“The Maine State Probate Office has wills and testaments dating from 1640. Some seem to have been made by Scots who were banished by Cromwell to New England: Niven Agnew, Kittery, Maine, probate 16 September 1687; James Grant, York, Maine, probate 11 January 1694; John Brody, Kittery, Maine, probate 6 December 1681; Alexander Cooper, Kittery, Maine, probate 28 Feb 1684; John Taylor, Berwick, Maine, probate 23 February 1691; Robert Junkins, York, Maine, probate 2 January 1699; James Warren, Berwick, Maine, probate 24 December 1702; Malcolm McIntyre, probate 2 October 1705; and Alexander Maxwell, York, Maine, probate 8 October 1707.” From: Scottish Emigration to Colonial America, 1607-1785, page 36, by David Dobson c1994, paperback version 2004.