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  My ancestor was an emigrant

Scottish Emigrants
Scots have been emigrating since medieval times to other parts of Europe, and further afield (perhaps even to North America from as early as 1000 AD). In the seventeenth century many Scots took advantage of new opportunities in Ulster, the Americas, Africa and the East Indies, while many criminals and rebels (of widely different political and religious opinions) were banished to the North American colonies until 1776 and to Australia from the 1790s until 1868.
Over 2 million Scots emigrated between 1821 and 1915, aided, latterly, by steamship companies, railways, and emigration societies. The popular image of the emigrant Scot is of a refugee from the Highland clearances, but emigrants left all areas of Scotland: Highland and Lowland; urban and rural. Poverty and land hunger account for a high proportion of emigrants, but many skilled tradesmen emigrated temporarily to take advantage of high wages in growing American towns. It is estimated that, by the end of the nineteenth century, a third of emigrants returned to Scotland sooner or later. Among the most famous emigrants were the industrialist Andrew Carnegie and the author Robert Louis Stevenson.

What to do now
The text above is a summary of a longer article on emigration in the SCAN Knowledge Base, which also contains a bibliography and links. You can read this by clicking here.

The Knowledge Base also contains answers to Frequently Asked Questions. Click on one of these for an answer compiled by Scotland's archivists, or click on the Knowledge Base for a wider selection.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. My ancestor emigrated from Scotland. How can I trace information about him/her?

2. Where will I find information about emigration societies and other bodies that assisted emigrants?

To enter the Knowledge Base click here.