What is the meaning of the term "Scot-Irish"?

I have heard the term Scot-Irish all my life, especially since I am one of them. What does that mean? Does it refer to Scots who went to Ireland because otherwise they were being burned at the stake by Presbyterians? Or, does it refer to Scots who were sent to Ireland to bring the new Protestant religion there?

The book "Descendants of Hugh Thomson" by Don Thomson briefly describes a Thomson ancestor of mine (first name not provided) who was burned at the stake in Scotland by Presbyterians, and two other Thomsons who were tied to poles in the Irish Sea and then left to drown when the high tide came in.

This is what the chess politics people have been trying to do to me for the longest time.

Does this explain why some went to Ireland and then came back to Scotland later on, frequently changing their names back and forth between Thomson and Thompson, thereby making it difficult for us to find them?

I have been able to trace almost all of my Scot ancestors back to at least 1720. However, I have found no records for any of my ancestors during the time that they were in Ireland.

At least two books address the families who went to Northern Ireland in the 1600's. One is by John Stevenson and the other is by T. McCavery re. Newtown: A History of Newtownards, Belfast, White Row Press (1994).

When I was growing up, I was always told that my mother's ancestry was half Scot from her mother and half Swedish from her father. Ireland was never mentioned.

However, now that I have been researching this question, I have found that while my mother's mother's father's side, the Graham side, may have originally been from Scotland, they were living in Ireland before coming to America. No trace or records of them in Ireland has been found.

Similarly, some of my mother's mother's mother's side, the Thomson side, which did come directly from Stranraer, Scotland, a port city only 20 miles across the Irish Sea from Ireland, came to Scotland from Ireland. I have found no trace of them in Ireland, either.

My father, Leroy Sloan, was Irish. His grandfather came over from Northern Ireland in the 1850s-1860s, but I have found no record of him in Ireland either.

What is the cause of this, and what is the solution? Did the Irish keep no record of the Scottish interlopers? Or, did they simply keep no records at all?

Sam Sloan

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