Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     David Dobson, the distinguished author of numerous reference books about the Scots and the Scots-Irish in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, continues to delve into a wide assortment of resources. As he researches, he constantly discovers genealogical gems that may otherwise remain hidden indefinitely. His latest publication is THE PEOPLE OF BELFAST, 1600-1799.

     Although known as a significant city in the twenty-first century, Belfast was a small village of approximately only 1,000 people in 1613. In that year, the village was granted a Royal Charter, which made it semi-autonomous and allowed economic expansion. Further transformation occurred in the early seventeenth century when King James I of England (James VI of Scotland) ordered the Plantation of Ulster. During that time, the indigenous Catholic Irish population saw the arrival of Presbyterian Scots and Anglican English and Manxmen. Added to the mix later were the Huguenots who fled from Catholic oppression in France. Therefore, two hundred years after receiving the Royal Charter, Belfast’s population had increased to approximately 22,000 residents.

     During those two centuries, Belfast developed trading links with Scotland, England, France, Spain, the West Indies, and the American colonies. The increase in merchant ships caused the port to grow in size. As a result, many of the vessels carrying emigrants from Ulster to the New World in the eighteenth century embarked from its docks.

     Following his usual format, Dobson lists the names of the principal individuals alphabetically. Information about each person varies, but most entries provide the man or woman's name, a date, and the source of the information. In some cases, facts may also include occupation, the name of a parent or spouse, year of birth or death (sometimes both dates), and place of settlement in America (if they immigrated).

     Some examples of basic entries are those for Anna STOKER, who was a widow in Belfast in 1687, and for Alexander MCCONNELL, who was master of the ship Hopewell of Belfast in 1771. Other entries are more detailed. For instance, information about Hugh JOHNSTON says that he was a grocer from Belfast and was naturalized in South Carolina in 1798. Facts about William MCCLURE state that he was born in 1757, died in 1843, and married a woman named Elizabeth, who was born in 1773 and died in 1848.

     Mainly based on primary source materials located in Ireland, Scotland, England, and elsewhere, Dobson’s publication makes accessible much data not available online. THE PEOPLE OF BELFAST, 1600-1799 will make another valuable addition to genealogical library holdings.

     The 157-page paperback has an introduction, an illustration, and a key to sources. Names of main individuals are arranged alphabetically.

     To the book's price of $19.95, buyers should add the cost for postage and handling charges. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $5.50 for one book and $2.50 for each additional copy; for UPS, the cost is $7.50 for one copy and $2.50 for each additional book. The volume (item order #8116) may be purchased by check, MasterCard, or Visa from Clearfield Company, 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, Maryland 21211 (for phone orders, call toll free 1-800-296-6687; fax 1-410-752-8492; website ).

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