The following book review was written by Bobbi King:
Scotland During the Plantation of Ulster
The People of Dumfries and Galloway
by David Dobson
Printed for Clearfield Company by Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore. 2008
We recently published a review of The People of the Scottish Burghs by David Dobson in this newsletter.
Scotland During the Plantation of Ulster is a very similar book, similar in format and information provided. It’s one of a series of publications for Scottish genealogists authored by David Dobson.
The introduction to Ulster, in just one and one-half pages, gives us a rundown of Scotland history during the seventeenth century. In 1603 James I, King of England, acquired Ulster where he planned to settle Ulster with Protestants, inviting Scots to participate. Consequently, the Plantation of Ulster came to be inhabited by English and Scottish settlers, many of them Scots from southwest Scotland.
The content of this book is derived from primary sources in the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh, including the Court of Session, the Commissary Courts of Dumfries and Edinburgh, the High Court of the Admiralty, Kirk Session Records, burgh records, Registers of Deeds, Retours, Customs records, and monumental inscriptions.
This book is not a comprehensive listing, but rather a set of selections taken from various sources. Major families included are Irving, Kennedy, Gordon, Maxwell, McKie, McLellan, McDowall, and Johnston.
A sample long entry is: “ADAIR, PATRICK, born 1675, son of William Adair in Corgie, Galloway, educated at the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, graduated MA from Glasgow University in 1694, minister of Carrickfergus from 1702, died 12 June 1717. [FI.89].”
But most entries are short: “STEWART, JAMES, a merchant burgess of Dumfries, testament, 1591, Commissary of Edinburgh. [NAS].”
I’d say there are about 1700 entries. The references are explained in front pages.
Now, I’d like to review the author.
David Dobson is quite a prodigious character. He has 112 books listed at www,genealogical.com, the online home of Genealogical Publishing Company and Clearfield Company, his publisher.
He authored the “Scottish Genealogy Research” handout, part of the “At A Glance” series that GPC puts out. This guy has done a lot of work.
Which may be why I find so little about him (online) personally. He has no web page, has no Facebook, has no obvious LinkedIn page (there are several David Dobsons but I couldn’t discern this author/genealogist from any of the other names), has no society associations that I could find; I guess he just doesn’t time for such idleness. He’s been plugging away compiling the names, the sources, scouring through the records, preparing the manuscripts, and after he submits his work to his publisher, Clearfield prepares a set of first-rate, softbound, laminated books to showcase the work.
Much to our great benefit.
He does have his own author page at www.amazon.com, where he has 53 books listed. Twenty of the books have reviews, which are good reading not so much to find a rating of excellence (or not), but the reviews are very descriptive of the books, a huge help providing clues as to the content of each book, which is a help in determining whether or not to buy.
And nearly all his books have the word “Scottish” or “Scot” in the title. How smart! He’s a clever author, making his books easy to find and him, hard to find.
Among his titles are: The Original Scots Colonists of Early America; Scottish Soldiers in Colonial America; Scottish-American Court Records; Directory of Scots in the Carolinas; Directory of Scottish Settlement in North America; Scottish-American Gravestones 1700-1900; Scots in the Chesapeake; and Scottish-American Heirs.
He even wrote a book about the Scots in Poland. I never would have guessed.
His books have a decisive and confident look about them. The covers are simple but of good-quality, laminated and soft covered. There are few images in the books, but the few on the beginning pages are intriguing and represent the nature of the book. The books I’ve seen have no color, but the black and whites don’t detract from the quality of the book. The fonts used are few throughout the books, but are very readable, a task you hardly notice until you pick up a book and you have to nearly pause at each word to read a sentence because a fancy font is so disruptive to the flow that you soon tire of the whole thing and you plop the book down in exasperation.
And you know, I have to hand it to the guy. He knows how to title a book. Have you ever searched for a book that you know exists, maybe a family history book that your cousin found and ordered on the Internet, but for the life of you, you just can’t find anywhere, because the author titled it “Our Family History”? You’re never going to find it using the usual search engines. (It does, however, give you a reason to call your cousin and talk to him again, and by the way, “where did you get that book?”)
Mr. Dobson’s book titles are crystal clear, plain and to the point, a tremendous asset to me the searcher. Tell me what it is, tell me where it is, tell me what time period it covers, and I can decide quickly whether or not it’s the book for me. (Thank you, Mr. Author!)
These books are simply lists, but if your person happens to be on one of the lists, then you’re excited as the dickens. The introductions and explanations offer good background for the records he cites. He provides context of the social, governmental, and economic times represented in the records. I don’t need to do Scottish research, but when I read the few pages of introduction in his books, I sit and read them completely through. A determinant of good writing is when it captures the interest of the reader who thought she wasn’t interested at all.
I found one of his books, Jacobites of the ’15 at the Family History Library online, which can be read online if you’re at the Family History Library, a family history center, or a member library with approved computer access.
The idea of buying a book of lists that may or may not contain something of interest to the buyer is a quandary; limited funds, trying to expend our limited dollars in the most effective way possible, watching the pocketbook. I’ve purchased books where only a small paragraph is about my family and that’s the only valuable information I gain.
I generally donate these books to a public library, or a regional genealogy or historical society which maintains a library. I take a charitable tax deduction, and call it done. Occasionally I’ve donated books to a society which offered the books as door prizes to interested members. And I’ve just given them away for free to fellow genealogists who can use the material.
It’s not a perfect solution to maximizing our dollars, but in a library, such a book is at its best: many people will see the book, for free. Someone will find his or her family in it, maybe a beginner, get all excited, and go on to find more information based on what was found this little book you donated. After all, we’ve all gained information from resources someone else paid for, so I just consider it “giving back” when I buy a book, transcribe the information, and pass it on to where it will help someone else.
It makes me feel good both ways. I got, and I gave.
Scotland During the Plantation of Ulster by David Dobson is available from the publisher, Genealogical Publishing Company, from Amazon, and from many other book stores.