Apr 29, 2021

Book Reviews: Recent Books by David Dobson

The following book reviews were written by this newsletter’s book review editor, Bobbi King:

Scottish Genealogy, The Basics and Beyond

David Dobson. Published by the Genealogical Publishing Co. 2021. 157 pages.

Dr. Dobson wrote this genealogy research guide sprung from his masterful grasp of Scottish source materials that he has explored, compiled, and documented over the course of his fifty years of looking into archives and libraries as he continues chronicling the Scottish Diaspora.

The book includes illustrations, maps, an introduction, index, and surname index. Chapters describe research in major record sources (birth, marriage, death, divorce, and the Old Parish Records of the Church of Scotland); church and other religious records (Church of Scotland, Free Church of Scotland, Methodist Church, and more); secondary sources (Heritor’s Records, sasines and land registers, maritime records, and more); emigration (Netherlands, Germany, Asia, Africa, and more); and a list of family history societies with their addresses and urls.

This guide sets the beginning researcher off on a very good start. But it also offers the advanced researcher some very sound advice for looking into the less commonly used resources and repositories. Overall, this should be a win-win for both sides of the research spectrum.

Scottish Highlanders on the Eve of the Great Migration 1725­­–1775.

This series of Dobson’s books identifies the Scottish Highlanders whose migrations to colonial America burgeoned in the early 1730s. The Highlanders clustered into communities along the coastal Georgia regions, and into the Mohawk Valley of New York, keeping alive their origin roots of cultural traditions for over one hundred years.

Dr. Dobson continues to publish editions of his lists of emigrant Highlanders, categorized by regions. Each book has an introductory section, list of references consulted, and some maps and illustrations. Entries include a name, a piece of information (such as place of birth, occupation), and the source. Some of his recent additions to the Scottish Highlanders on the Eve of the Great Migration series are:

The People of the Grampian Highlands Vol. II. 2019. 100 pages.

The Grampian Highlands are an area stretching from the Braes of Angus northwest towards Strathspey but not including the coastal plain nor Strathmore. Many of its citizens were victims of the anti-Jacobite persecutions, transported in chains to America and the West Indies. There are approximately 1400 entries.

The People of the Hebrides Vol. 2. 2019. 135 pages.

The Hebrides are islands off the coast of the Western Highlands, forming parts of the counties of Ross and Cromarty, Inverness, and Argyll, containing thirty-six parishes. Parish registers, a mainstay for Scottish research, exist for only about a quarter of Hebridean parishes. This volume cites thirty alternate sources for approximately 1300 entries.

The Northern Highlands Vol. 2. 2019. 120 pages.

The Northern Highlands comprise the counties Caithness, Sutherland, and Ross and Cromarty (some of Ross and Cromarty county are islands of the Hebrides, which are included in the People of the Hebrides books). The parish registers for this region are lacking in number and content; the author cites twenty-seven alternate sources for approximately 1100 entries.

Dr. Dobson’s contributions to Scottish research are certainly considerable in number, and of enduring benefit for genealogists tracing back their family links.

The many books written by David Dobson may be purchased from the publisher, the Genealogical Publishing Company, at