Scottish Prisoners

Transported Scottish Prisoners of the Civil Wars (1650s)
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About us

The results in the Results Page are grouped according to the following scheme (with colour coding to help recognise each group).  This has been updated to make use of research by Andrew Millard and other members of the University of Durham team to create a new list of Definite / Probable / Possible / Doubtful names of Prisoners who may have been transported on the Unity from the Battle of Dunbar (drawing upon the valuable work of other researchers, before them), and original new work in contemporary records).  See Lost Lives, New Voices (2018) Appendix A, pp. 245-256 for more information.

        green for Dunbar/Unity prisoners
        gold for Worcester/John and Sarah prisoners
        blue for other colonies or other prisoner ships
        purple for other Scottish arrivals in the colonies in the 1650s


1.      Prisoners from the Battle of Dunbar (1650)
Note: the only conclusive listing of Dunbar prisoners transported on the Unity is the list of Scots working at the Saugus Iron Works made in 1653 – the basis for the A list for Dunbar prisoners, providing the names were not also on the John and Sara list of Worcester prisoners.  Until recently, reference was often made to a further 112 names collected by George S Stewart of the Reade Historical and Genealogical Society in 1913, the manuscript now held at NEHGS, Boston.  The sources of the list were given, but Stewart believed these to be probable transportees on the Unity.  In 2018, the University of Durham team published a new assessment of the best evidence for who were likely or unlikely to have been on the Unity, and this is used as the basis for the order of names shown in the Project groupings:

1-A.  Dunbar Prisoners, transported on the Unity (1650): A list: Definite (from Saugus Iron Works list, NEHGS, and who were not on the John and Sara list) - 46 names

1-B.  Dunbar Prisoners, transported on the Unity (1650): B list: Probable (from the research of the Durham team, looking at the connections of these men to the known Scots communities in New England, who must have been resident in the mid-1650s when the indentures were ending, and were also not on the John and Sara list) - 65 names

1-C.  Dunbar Prisoners, transported on the Unity (1650): C list: Possible (from the research of the Durham team, men with connections to the Scots communities of the 1650s, but who have weaker and not definitive evidence for being Scots or for having been indentured in 1650-51, and could also be on the John and Sara list but with uncertain identification) - 52 names

1-D.  Claimed to be Dunbar Prisoners, transported on the Unity (1650): D list: Doubtful (may be additional names on George S Stewart's list of Unity Prisoners but with evidence that they likely came to the New England after 1660, or were actually transported on the John and Sara. Names in the D list may appear in other lists below, particularly the Worcester list, or be placed here if there is no better place for them) - 21 names


2.     Prisoners from the Battle of Worcester (1651)
Note: a contemporary list of 272 Scots transported on board the John and Sarah from Worcester exists in the Suffolk Deeds, and these are the A list Worcester prisoners.  There may have been others not listed and some names cannot be read, so they will appear in the C list. There is no need fora B list in the case of this ship.

2-A.  Worcester Prisoners, transported on the John and Sarah (1651): A list: Certain or highly likely passengers (from the John and Sarah passenger list, Suffolk Deeds)

2-C.  Worcester Prisoners, transported on the John and Sarah (1651): C list: Possible passengers (Scots not on the John and Sarah passenger list, but likely New England indentured servants arriving early enough to have been on board but not likely to have been Unity passengers.)


3.      Prisoners transported to other colonies e.g. Virginia, Bermuda, Barbados
Note: hints survive in the records of forced transportations to other colonies, but proof has not survived, although there are candidates who may have been transported elsewhere, then either moving to New England or settling in southern American colonies.

3.  Other Colonies Prisoners, of Dunbar or Worcester; possible transportees to Virginia, Bermuda, Barbados, etc. (from descendants' research)


4.     Scots arriving in the Colonies in the 1650s, not known to be transported prisoners, but possible Covenanters, refugees from the Commonwealth, possible prisoners on other ships, etc.

4-A.  Other Scots in New England, 1650s (from descendants' research)

4-B.  Other Scots in Virginia and other Colonies,1650s (from descendants' research)