Kinsearching June 5, 2011




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

     Presbyterianism is so closely associated with Scotland that genealogists may not realize that some people in this beautiful, rugged country were members of other churches. Noted author David Dobson brings attention to one such denomination in his latest book, SCOTS EPISCOPALIANS AT HOME AND ABROAD, 1689-1800.

     Prior to the mandated registration of vital (birth, marriage, and death) records, which began in 1855, the Registers of the Church of Scotland are the single most important resource of Scottish genealogical information and are often accessible. Registers for other denominations like the Episcopalians, however, can be difficult to obtain. History explains why.

     Throughout most of the seventeenth century, the Church of Scotland included elements of both Presbyterianism and Episcopalianism. The Stuart kings favored the latter form of church government. A Catholic, King James VII of Scotland (who was also King James II of England) fled to France after the Glorious Revolution in 1688, which resulted in Jamesís Protestant daughter, Mary, and her husband, William of Orange, gaining the British throne. At that time, Episcopalians composed approximately twenty-five percent of Scotlandís population. Because the Scottish bishops had sworn allegiance to King James, who was a Stuart, King William decided that the Church of Scotland would have a Presbyterian system of government. Under the eighteenth-century Penal Acts, Episcopalians faced a reduction in power and influence and endured persecution, partially as punishment for their supporting the Stuarts in the Jacobite wars in 1715 and 1745. Many Episcopalians headed for the New World, either as Jacobite prisoners of war who were deported or as persons who chose to become settlers. John ALEXANDER, Samuel GRAY, Andrew JOHNSTON, Thomas JOHNSTON, Samuel LAIRD, John LANGE, Robert MCCORMICK, Daniel MCDONALD, Robert MACKNO, Robert MCLAURINE, John MCPHERSON, George MACQUEEN, Archibald MACROBERT, Samuel MCGAW, William MCGILCHRIST, James MORRISON, John MORRISON, Richard MUNN, John URQUHART, and William URQUHART are only a few of the Episcopalian clergymen who immigrated to such places as Antigua, the Carolinas, Georgia, Jamaica, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia in order to practice their religion.

     Using a variety of resources, Dobson has gleaned data to help compensate for the lack of official Episcopalian church registers. Each entry in his new publication provides the name of the individual and furnishes a location, a date, and the source of the material. Some entries also supply details such as the personís confirmation, name of spouse or a relative, occupation, and destination in the American colonies.

     Since many of the records Dobson consulted are original manuscripts in church or diocesan libraries and typescripts or manuscripts in the National Archives of Scotland, he has brought to light an amazing amount of ďhiddenĒ material about approximately 2,000 individuals. To help round out their genealogical collections, libraries will want to have a copy of SCOTS EPISCOPALIANS AT HOME AND ABROAD, 1689-1800 on their shelves.

     The 160-page publication has soft covers, an introduction, and a three-page list of primary and secondary resources used in Dobsonís compilation. Names of main entries appear alphabetically in the text, but there is no index to additional names. To the book's price of $18.95, 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 FedEx ground service, the cost is $7.50 for one copy and $2.50 for each additional book. The volume (item order #9705) may be purchased by check, money order, MasterCard, or Visa from Clearfield Company, 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, Maryland 21211-1953. For phone orders, call toll free 1-800-296-6687; fax 1-410-752-8492; website

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