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Book Review – the People of Glasgow 1725-1775, David Dobson

What’s it about

As with the other books in his “Scottish People” series, Dr. David Dobson’s The People of Glasgow, 1725-1775 identifies thousands of individuals who were living in a Scottish burgh at the time of significant Scottish immigration to North America.

In Glasgow’s case the political union of Scotland & England in 1707 resulted in a major expansion of the town’s overseas trade and the stimulation of industry in and around it.

By 1740 Glasgow merchants dominated the Virginia tobacco trade; their merchant companies had settled personnel along the American eastern seaboard and in the West Indies, distributing Scottish goods and transhipping tobacco for the continental market. The colonies also attracted individual farmers, physicians, tutors & other professional workers & skilled craftsmen, who, along with the Glasgow merchant class, dominated the town council as burgesses.

Our Review

I was interested to review this book as I have come across many clients who are struggling to locate where in Scotland their Ancestors came from & when, especially in the years prior to civil registration when research can be that bit more difficult.   But, as the majority of my Paternal Roots are from Glasgow, some of which were Merchants & Burgesses, I must admit that this book may come in useful for my own family research!

This publication is more of a source book than a reference book & includes a glossary to make understanding old occupations & legal terms much easier.

David starts by explaining the importance of the tobacco & sugar trade on the economy of Glasgow & how this led to companies settling along the eastern colonies of America as well as the West Indies.   Understandably these new colonies would also attract men & families from other walks of life who would also move from the Glasgow area.

A list of sources is also included & features records from Georgia, New England, Maryland, South Carolina, Boston, Virginia as well as a multitude of records from within Scotland.

The book has 148 pages, was published in 2012 & is arranged alphabetically by surname & give details from the records as well as the source used.  

To give you a feel for the kinds of entries you might expect I will provide a few examples: -

DUFF, Robert, born 1722, a painter in Glasgow, a Jacobite transported in 1747, landed at Port North Potomac, Maryland [NA.T1.328] (P.2.168)

LOW, James, born 1750, a weaver from Glasgow, to New York, 1774 [NA.T47.12]

MCKAY, Donald, from Glasgow, an indentured servant in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in 1772 [Records of Indentures in Philadelphia]

SMITH, Thomas, born 1757, a weaver from Glasgow, to New York, 1774 [NA.T47.12]

All in all, this is an amazing book crammed with people from the Glasgow Area, I would highly recommend it & am sure that I will come back to it time & time again.

I wonder how many brick walls it might knock down for all you researchers out there?

If you live in the US you can purchase this book via the website

Elsewhere you can purchase them via Amazon or any of the usual online book stores.


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