Am I Scots-Irish or Irish?
Many Americans today wrongly believe
themselves to be Irish Americans when they are in fact Scots-Irish
Americans. An easy way to help determine whether someone
is of Scots-Irish (Ulster-Scots) ancestry, rather
than Irish is by the following:
Those of Scots-Irish background
are more likely to be of the Protestant faith (usually Presbyterian
Those of Irish ancestry are most
likely to be Roman Catholic.
Scots-Irish names include those
with the Scottish prefix of 'Mac' or 'Mc' (e.g. MacDonald,
MacDowell, McCloud) and names such as Campbell,
Graham and Ferguson.
Irish names include those with
the Irish prefix 'O' (e.g. O'Neill, O'Donnell, O'Rourke) and
names such as Quinn, Fitzpatrick and Murphy.
3. Emigration period
The Scots-Irish left north of
Ireland (Ulster) in the 1700's and were the early frontiersmen
who carved America out of the wilderness. The
Scots-Irish are particularly numerous across the American
Mid-West and the Southern States.
The Irish arrived on mass in America
in the second half of the 19th century following the potato
famine. They tended to congregate in Irish Catholic
communities in cities such as New York, Chicago and Boston.
Scots-Irish is the term for ethnicity which is
a mix of Scots
or for a person or people of such ancestry.
("Scots-Irish" is frequently confused with the
also an ethnic term.)
Irish and the Scots: A Shared Surname Heritage