Foundations of Scottish Genealogy 12 of 12: Emigration from Scotland

Foundations of Scottish Genealogy 12 of 12: Emigration from Scotland

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by Dr. Bruce Durie

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Foundations of Scottish Genealogy 12 of 12: Emigration from Scotland


Many people overseas of Scots origin have a family story that involves a narrative of victimhood – “We were cleared off our land”’ “We were persecuted for our religion”; “We were transported as convicts and/or indentured servants”. But what was the reality? The vast majority of Scots were economic migrants who chose to leave. And most of them came, not from the Scottish Highlands and Islands or the Borders, but the Lowlands between. This was where the majority of Scots lived- speaking Scots rather than Gaelic – and which suffered greater depredations over a longer period than the Highlands. Who were these people – the destitute and distressed, or the educated and able? Where did they go, and why? What were the “Push” and “Pull” factors involved? What welcome did they receive? And why is it historically and culturally mistaken to call anyone “Scots-Irish”?


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Presenter: Dr. Bruce Durie

Dr. Bruce Durie is considered one of Scotland's top genealogists, with an international reputation. He is perhaps best known for his eight-year BBC radio series, “Digging Up Your Roots” and “A House with A Past”, and he has authored over 30 books, including the best-selling “Scottish Genealogy” now in its 4th edition. His background is in medicine and neuropharmacology, as well as holding a doctoral degree in history and education.
Bruce founded, delivered and ran the much-acclaimed Postgraduate Program in Genealogical Studies at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, including a full-time, online, one-year Masters Genealogical Studies programme. He now teaches courses on Genealogy, Documents and Heraldry as a Teaching Fellow at the University of Edinburgh.
He is well known for speaking, lecturing and presenting workshops on various aspects of Scottish genealogy, heraldry, history and culture worldwide but particularly in the UK, USA and Canada.
His latest book is "Your Scottish-American Ancestry" and forthcoming are:
  • "Celt-ish: Uncovering the Great 'Celtic' Conspiracy" (The History Press, late 2019/early 2020)
  • “The American Declaration of Independence and the Declaration of Arbroath” (early 2020)



Other honours and awards:

  • Shennachie (Genealogist and Historian) to the Chief of Durie
  • Elected to the prestigious Académie Internationale de Généalogie (the only member from Scotland)
  • Recently appointed Chartered Biologist (CBiol) by the Royal Biological Society for his work on the public understanding of Genetic Genealogy
  • Founding Member of the Register of Qualified Genealogists (
  • Founding Member of the Editorial Board of two scholarly, peer-reviewed journals, Genealogy ( and The Journal of Genealogy and Family History (
  • Fulbright Senior Scottish Studies Scholar 2016, spending eight months researching “Scottish Migration into Colonial America” at St Andrews University, Laurinburg, North Carolina, USA
  • Right of Audience at the Court of the Lord Lyon

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Dr. Bruce Durie