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Thread: The largest Scottish Diaspora was in Poland

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    Question The largest Scottish Diaspora was in Poland

    David Worthington from the University of the Highlands and Islands in Inverness, in his 2015 article "Historians and the Scots in the Commonwealth of Poland-Lithuania (1569–1795)", wrote:

    "The burgeoning of a historiography of the Scots in the PLC has been hindered by either the unavailability to scholars of, or their unwillingness to tackle, secondary sources in the relevant foreign languages. Despite this ethnic group having comprised, at one time, the largest representation of the Scottish diaspora in a foreign state, this article demonstrates that, since Poland–Lithuania’s partition, historiographical coverage has been compartmentalised along linguistic and national lines. The article is tripartite, outlining work in the German, Polish and English languages, albeit highlighting the detrimental effects caused, until recently, by the frequent isolation of these, and other linguistic traditions of historiographical significance, from one another."

    According to Rosalind Mitchison, at the turns of the 16th and 17th centuries at least 100,000 people emigrated from Scotland - nearly half of them to Ulster. However, she did not include emigration to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and admitted that her estimate was probably too low.

    Scottish Diaspora in Poland-Lithuania was even larger than that in Ulster.

    Estimates for years 1600-1650 range from 7,400 to 30,000 families (the latter figure was given by William Lightgow in 1616). These numbers have to be multiplied by an average family size of 3 to 5 or even more people. If you multiply 30,000 x 3 you get 90,000 Scots, or about 1% of all inhabitants of the PLC (around 9 million). More moderate estimates say about 40,000 - 50,000 Scots in Poland. Scottish inhabitants were recorded by sources in at least 120-130 cities, towns and villages throughout Poland.

    Both Catholic and Protestant Scots immigrated to Poland, Protestants for the most part converted to Catholicism throughout the 2nd half of the 17th and the 18th century. It also seems that many of them adopted genuinely Polish surnames (instead of just Polonizing their surnames phonetically). I personally had no idea about my Scottish roots, until I took DNA tests. I'm still not 100% sure about it, but I guess that further genealogical research and more advanced DNA tests will give me final answers.

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    My and my father's closest Y-DNA matches on FTDNA are from Scotland.

    My father's autosomal results also revealed some "Celtic" admixture, so it isn't just Y-DNA:

    DNA Tribes:



    Eurogenes K15:



    MyHeritage:



    Our closest Y-DNA matches are also from Scotland:



    My dad's recent ancestry is indeed from this "Scottish Trail" area in southern Wielkopolska:

    http://powiat.konin.pl/media_pliki_p...ak_szkocki.pdf
    Last edited by Tomenable; 08-10-2018 at 08:26 PM.

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    I'm still not sure whether my "Celtic" autosomal admixture and "Celtic" Y-DNA have ancient presence in Poland, or whether they come from 17th century Scottish immigrants. I guess only a Big Y test as well as further genealogical research can help in answering these questions and showing whether my subclade is descended from Scottish subclades or just a cousin branch (or perhaps even ancestral to them).

    Interestingly this particular subclade of DF27 seems to exist in Iberia, Scotland and Poland.
    Last edited by Tomenable; 08-10-2018 at 08:21 PM.

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    Can we really say the largest Scottish diaspora was in Poland? I would suspect that the largest diasporas overall independent of the era would be found in areas known to have been part of the British Empire, such as North America, where the Canadian province of Nova Scotia holds the Latin name "New Scotland", Australia, New Zealand, etc.

    Maybe it was Poland in the 1600s, however Ulster (and the rest of Ireland) saw Scottish settlers too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by spruithean View Post
    Maybe it was Poland in the 1600s
    Yes, it refers to Poland in the 1600s. Since that time, many Scots and Scotch-Irish have emigrated to North America and Australia. Today undoubtedly the largest number of people who identify as Scots outside of Scotland, is in the USA. Also, Scots in Poland have assimilated into the larger Polish society and there is no any Scottish community in Poland today which cultivates the memory of their Scottish origins.

    As I said, I was absolutely not aware of having any possible Scottish ancestry until I DNA-tested myself and my parents.

    I still have doubts whether it is actually 17th century Scottish or just some ancient, prehistoric connection.

    But there is a lot of consistency - Scottish Y-DNA matches, haplogroup that is found in Great Britain (but also in Iberia), Scottish autosomal results show up for my father (in my case it just shows up as some ambiguous North-Western ancestry, but testing my parents revealed that my father has a more Celtic-shifted type of NW admixture, while my mother has a more North Germanic type of NW admixture).
    Last edited by Tomenable; 08-10-2018 at 08:35 PM.

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    The best way to know if you have Scottish ancestry or not is to see if you have any Scottish cousin matches on ancetsry/23andme.

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    Lol, maybe in Prussia not in Poland

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dmitry View Post
    The best way to know if you have Scottish ancestry or not is to see if you have any Scottish cousin matches on ancetsry/23andme.
    I tested with FTDNA so far (not with Ancestry/23andMe).

    On FTDNA and on GEDmatch most of my matches are White Americans (including many with recent Polish ancestry and some without it). Really, they should split it into "New World matches" and "Old World matches", because Americans are by far more numerous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Idwaajeden View Post
    Lol, maybe in Prussia not in Poland
    Nope, they were spread all over Poland. And that was in the 1500s-1700s, before Prussia annexed these areas.

    But they were also numerous in Lesser Poland, which is the area later annexed by Austria during the Partitions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dmitry View Post
    The best way to know if you have Scottish ancestry or not is to see if you have any Scottish cousin matches on ancetsry/23andme.
    Supposed Scottish ancestry is from my father's side and I tested him.

    He has many matches >20 cM with Americans and Australians with Scottish (or possible Scottish) surnames, like McKean, Adams, Dalton, etc.

    Sadly they don't have GEDCOMs so I would need to e-mail them all and ask if they are fully Scottish with no Polish, etc.

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