New Website Tells the Story of Ulster Colonists

The 1718 Migration To New World And The New Londonderry

A new website – www.1718migration.org.uk - has been created by the Ulster-Scots Agency which tells the story of the first organised migration of Ulster people to the New England colonies.

In particular, it tells the story of those colonists who left Co Londonderry in Ireland to settle in what eventually became the town of Londonderry, New Hampshire, in 1723.

The new website will also provide invaluable initial help to people on both sides of the Atlantic who wish to trace their family roots and has been produced in association with the Ulster Historical Foundation, the Centre for Migration Studies and the Institute of Ulster-Scots Studies. It has sections on genealogy, as well as links to further information on travel and on Ulster and Scots heritage.

Between 1717-1720, it is known that over 3,000 Ulster Presbyterians left the north of Ireland, with 700 of them leaving in one mass migration in the summer of 1718 alone.

The people who left came from all over the North, but mainly from Co Londonderry, and 50 years later, over 200,000 of their fellow co-religionists had left for the New World, making a significant contribution to life in the New England colonies while leaving a huge gap in their communities at home.

The website has been pioneered by Ulster-Scots Agency Board member Dr Linde Lunney, who explains the concept behind the website:

‘In 1718, the first organised migration of Scots and Irish-born Presbyterian people left the north of Ireland on their way to a new life in the New England colonies in north America. Parts of their story are familiar, but much has been forgotten. This website sets out what is known of the history of the Scots and Irish of the 1718 migration, and also reminds us of the lives of those who were left behind in Ireland.’

Dr James McConnel of the Institute of Ulster-Scots Studies, Magee, explains in the website how the early immigrants went on to create the town of Londonderry, New Hampshire.

‘The people who left in 1718 were mainly from the Bann and Foyle areas of Co Londonderry. They took with them their religious beliefs, customs, looms, spinning wheels and hoped for religious freedom and economic prosperity,’ said Dr McConnel.

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