Scottish Soldiers in Europe and America 1600-1700 by David Dobson: Book Review

DISCLAIMER: I occasionally receive complimentary copies of books to review, including today’s book,  from Genealogical Publishing Company. However, my opinions are my own and not influenced by perks.

Scottish Soldiers in Europe and America 1600-1700 by David Dobson is a handy biographical dictionary to have on your research shelf if you have Scottish military ancestors in the 17th century, as that isn’t the easiest Scottish time period in which to research.

Mr. Dobson is a prolific compiler of early documented Irish and Scottish emigrants to the American colonies. Two months ago, I reviewed a book in his Irish series.

I have a handful of Scottish ancestors who settled in Massachusetts in the 1600s. I’ve always been curious about my (X great grandfather, Patrick aka Peter Hay. For years, I thought someone made up the name change, as I haven’t come across many ancestors who changed their given name. However, I did eventually come across Massachusetts primary records where he was called Patrick alias Peter Hay.

I’ve also seen undocumented claims that Patrick Hay was from Edinburgh. Little is known about his life before marriage to Sarah Barrett, in Massachusetts, c1695. His birth year is estimated as 1657 and the exact year of his arrival in the colonies is unknown.

David Dobson’s book piqued my curiousity. Might there be a clue about Patrick alias peter Hay?

There is an entry for one Patrick Hay! Here is just a portion of the entry:

HAY, PATRICK, from Edinburgh, . . . .  overseer at Darien, testament, 1707 . . .  [NRS]

All of the entries are in alphabetical order by surname. There are generally 2-4 lines of details about each person. The bracketed abbreviation at the end of each entry is the source of the information.

In Patrick Hay’s case, the record came from the National Records of Scotland. However, Darien refers to the Scottish Darien Company that defended a settlement on the Isthmus of Panama.

This is a rhetorical question, but could someone have seen a mention somewhere of this Patrick Hay from Edinburgh and decide that the details pertained to Patrick alias Peter Hay in Massachusetts?

I don’t know, but Patrick is clearly a second man of the same man, likely a bit younger than Patrick/Peter of Massachusetts. Not only is there no evidence that the Massachusetts man was ever in Central America, the date of the record for Patrick – 1707 – is long after Patrick alias Peter married and had a family.

Nevertheless, my ancestor is a good example of how hand Mr. Dobson’s reference book can be.

The entries make for interesting reading even if they aren’t my own ancestors, from E. Wilson, described as a soldier of fortune being held in Edinburgh Castle to D. Lundy, commissioned into the Russian Army (yes, Russian!) in 1632, to Lt. Chambers, killed at the Battle of Killiecrankie on 27 July 1689 to Duncan McCallum, a farmer from Otter, who was a soldier in Argyll’s Rebellion and banished to New English in July 1685.

Each entry is a glimpse into a bit of Scottish history.

Scottish Soldiers in Europe and America 1600-1700, by David Dobson and published for Clearfield Company by Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, Maryland, 2021 is available from Genealogical Publishing Company for $30.00,

Genealogical has a tremendous catalog of excellent genealogy books for sale. It’s worth a visit to their website to browse, too!


One thought on “Scottish Soldiers in Europe and America 1600-1700 by David Dobson: Book Review”

  1. Hello, I am David Dobson whose book you recently reviewed, many thanks. The ‘a’ in the reference is in error, there seems to be a gremlin in the system. As for your Hays, the surname has been associated with the neighbourhood of Perth since the medieval period. There were two men named Patrick Hay who were burgesses of Perth in the late seventeenth century, one was Provost, Sheriff and Coroner between 1677 and 1683, and the other a tailor in 1693. The forenames Peter and Patrick were and are interchangable here. I hope that helps, Kind regards
    David Dobson

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