Monday, February 19, 2018

The 300th Anniversary of the Scots Irish Diaspora

The next two years are going to be a very interesting time here in New England as we commemorate the Scots Irish diaspora.  Although a few Scots Irish migrated to Massachusetts, like my minister ancestors Rev. William Holmes and Rev. Thomas Craighead, who arrived in Boston in 1714 from Londonderry, Northern Ireland.  The organized mass migration began in 1718 when Rev. William Boyd obtained permission for a grant of land from Governor Shute of Massachusetts. That same year Rev. James McGregor brought a large portion of his flock from Aghadowey, to Boston.  These Ulster Presbyterian families spent a cold winter in Maine, where some remained, and some went on with McGregor to found the Nutfield settlement in New Hampshire in the spring of 1719, and others spread out in Massachusetts.

The 300th anniversary of these events begins this year, and the kickoff event will be The Scots Irish Reunion at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine 14 – 16 August 2018.  It will be hosted by the St. Andrews Society of Maine and the Maine Ulster Scots Project.   This reunion will include:

-  Identifying the people who left Northern Ireland, their home villages, and their settlements in New England

-  Exploring the uniqueness of the diaspora and the folkways brought to America

-  Academic lectures, articles, conferences, archaeological reports, genealogy, and publications

-  Tours of points of interest: First Parish Church, cemeteries, archaeological sites

Next year celebrations will be held in Nutfield (Londonderry, Derry, Windham and Derryfield (part of Manchester), New Hampshire) with a kickoff  for the300th anniversary of the 1719 sermon by Rev. McGregor on the shore of Beaver Lake in present day East Derry.  A heritage day will be held on 13 April at the Meetinghouse with historical presentations, artistans, and a musical performance.  There will be a special church service that weekend to conclude the weekend.

There will be also be commemorations in 2019 during Wndham’s June Strawberry Festival, Derry’s Fourth of July, and Londonderry’s August Old Home Day. 

Nutfield Genealogy will be celebrating, too!  I plan on switching my “Surname Saturdays” to cover the Scots Irish families who settled in Nutfield/Londonderry.  The first posts will be the first 16 families who arrived with Rev. James MacGregor in 1719, and then I will feature some of the other Scots Irish families.  Stay tuned to see if your ancestors are included, and stay tuned to learn more about the Nutfield commemorative events next year.

For more information:

Maine Ulster Scots Project:


St. Andrews Society of Maine


The 1718 Migration

The 1718 Society at Facebook

Nutfield History   

The following links will be updated soon:

Londonderry’s Old Home Day 

Windham’s Strawberry Festival


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "The 300th Anniversary of the Scots Irish Diaspora", Nutfield Genealogy, posted February 19, 2018, ( accessed [access date]). 

1 comment:

  1. This is certainly exciting! We are already planning our first trip to New Hampshire for next year's Old Home Days, and hope to meet some cousins. As always, thanks again for all you do!