Scottish Naming

Is It a Clue?

One of my brick walls is James Crawford. Unfortunately, James is a common name and there seems to be multiple James Crawford families wherever my ancestor moves. Even though I’ve worked hard to separate the various families, I still haven’t been able to figure out how all of these James Crawfords might be related. Nor, have I been able to identify parents for my James Crawford.

Thus, I’m going back thru my research looking for clues that might help me make a breakthrough. One of those clues is the given name of Nelson.

To make sure I found all of the Nelsons, I ran a descendancy report for five generations and then searched for Nelson.

I also ran reports for James and Martha (Knight) Crawford, James and Rebecca (Anderson) Crawford and Alexander and Mary (McPheeters) Crawford. I did not find any Nelson Crawfords in those reports.

Thus, I’m wondering whether the name, Nelson, is a clue!

Using the Scottish naming convention, the given name might help me find the father of James.

  • The first son is named after the father’s father;
  • The second son is named after the mother’s father;
  • The third son is named after the father.
  • The first daughter is named after the mother’s mother;
  • The second daughter is named after the father’s mother
  • The third daughter is named after the mother.

If James Crawford followed the convention, then his father could be named Nelson.

So, is this a clue worth pursuing?





Are We Irish (or Not)?

Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s day. Growing up (and throughout my teaching career), this day was for the ‘wearin of the green’. I’m guessing that more children wear green to avoid the pinching than to proclaim their Irish roots.

I remember asking mom about our heritage. I don’t remember the exact question, but I’m guessing that I asked if we were Irish. I do remember the first part of her answer: “No, we are Welch.” She had to go on and explain that being Welch meant we came from Wales. Then she expanded and named some other countries (which I don’t remember).

Unfortunately, the paper trail hasn’t led to Wales (yet). I can safely say that for over 200 years, I am American. Prior to that, our lines lead back to England, to the Alsace-Loraine area of Germany, to Scotland and possibly to Ireland.

It is my RALSTON line that may go back to Ireland. My great-great grandfather, Richmond Fisk Hammond’s first wife was Sarah Ellen Ralston. Sarah was the granddaughter of David Franklin Ralston. According to Find a Grave, David Franklin Ralston was born in Ireland.

Since the Ralston surname is of Scottish origin, it is likely that our Ralston line is Scotch-Irish. Scotch-Irish families were Scottish families that settled the Ulster plantation during the time of King James. (The YouTube video, Born Fighting, provides background on Scotch-Irish heritage.)

Thus, the paper trail says we may be Irish – but more likely Scottish people who lived in Ireland for a while.

With DNA ethnicity reports being popular, one might assume that my DNA results would verify Irish blood. Unfortunately, our potential Irish ancestor first appears in my 7th generation of ancestors. Thus, the chances of my getting much ‘Irish blood’ are slim. The article, Where is my Native American DNA helps explain why some ethnicities won’t show up in a DNA test.

So, does my DNA ethnicity report reveal Irish blood? The answer is ‘maybe’. According to Ancestry, there is a ‘low confidence’ that my heritage is 3% Ireland/Scotland/Wales. For one of my brothers, that percentage increases to 9%.

From what I’m learning about the Ulster Scots, I believe that our heritage may be Scotch-Irish (which is basically Scottish by blood, Irish by where living prior to America).

So, will I continue to wear green?

Yes, because I believe that everyone is a ‘wee bit Irish’ on St. Patrick’s day.


DNA Ethnicity

Recently, Ancestry added a feature to create a ‘player card’ based on DNA Ethnicity results. Creating the card was simply the press of a button.

I’ve been more interested in shared matches and DNA circles than my ethnicity results — especially since my paper research hasn’t gotten outside of colonial America. Since my paper research isn’t leading me to Scandinavia or Spain, I thought I’d review what I do know about the lines of my 16 great grandparents:

  • Crawford – resided in Garrard County, Kentucky in 1799 – likely born in Virginia – likely Scottish
  • Foster – resided Maryland in 1735 – likely English
  • Hammond – resided 1636 Plymouth, Massachusetts — likely English
  • Ralston – resided 1810 Armstrong County, Pennsylvania – likely Scottish
  • Currey – resided 1783, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania – likely Scottish or Irish
  • Burke – resided 1835 Jackson County, Tennessee — likely English
  • Hutchinson – resided 1790 Hampshire County, Massachusetts – likely English
  • Harding – resided 1767 Orange County, New York (family was Loyalists in New Brunswick after Revolutionary War) – likely English or Irish
  • Briles – resided Wierttemberg, Germany 1703 – part of Germanna Colony in 1717
  • Thompson – resided 1820 Ohio County, Kentucky – likely English
  • Ricketts – resided Anne Arundel County, Maryland 1729 – likely English
  • Christy – resided Fayette County , Ohio 1842 – likely Scottish or Irish
  • Mentzer – resided Suffolk County, Massachusetts 1792 – likely  German
  • Minnick – resided 1822 in Pennsylvania – likely Irish
  • Wells – resided 1758 in Washington County, Rhode Island – likely English
  • Crandall – resided 1761 in Washington County, Rhode Island – likely Scottish

Since my paper genealogy roots lead to Germany, England, Ireland and Scotland, I have to question where my Scandinavian ancestry is. However, I believe my Scandinavian DNA comes thru my Scottish ancestry. Wikipedia’s article on Scandinavian Scotland supports my beliefs about my Scandinavian DNA.