The People Differences in Virginia: a Checklist of Characteristics

The people who settled Virginia, when all was Virginia had some differences that help in distinguishing them from each other.


__Cluster on plantations

__Younger sons of great families

__Marry within their social class

__Maintain households with servants—may be indentured, often related to the family

__Land holdings in more than one county; more than one state

__May be Quaker or Baptist before it is legal to practice their religion


__Merchants and their factors (almost always related to the family)

__Concentrated along rivers and major roads:  trade routes

__Trade with the Indians and intermarry with them (called alliances)

__Do not fight the Indians

__Purchase plantations as a seat of operations and to qualify to vote

__Usually not soldiers

__Rely on others to prefer, appoint, recommend, and aid

__Not frontiersmen per se, arrange trade zones and centers around their residences

__Employ  only their own relatives!

__May be Loyalists—low legal profile, stay out of public eye


__Clannish, congregate in “Welsh tracts”

__Acquire landholdings—land is essential  for an on-going pedigree in Wales and that characteristic is brought to America when they come

__Immediate family members often have different surnames—versions

of the same patronymic or metronymic

__Migrate in groups of families, usually interrelated before they move

Scots-Irish—also called Ulstermen, Ulster Scots

__Protestants who lived in Scotland and settled in Ireland before coming to America–one or more generations in Ireland.

__Neither Scots nor Irish as a race, their origins are shrouded in the mists

of Eastern Europe; tartans have been found in the hoarfrost of Western China

__Frontiersmen, always pushing westward away from the crowds

__Willing to fight—in court for their rights, in battle for their freedom

__Willing to fight the Indians for control of lands

__Attend church, religious participation is a passion.  They accepted their relationship with God by Covenant before they left Scotland; they taught their children the same relationship with God

__Marry within their own blood, brothers frequently marry sisters to keep their lands and property within the family

__Own land wherever they settle—move on quickly if owning land is not an option, or if land ownership requires too much chaos


__Includes Melungeon background—VA, NC, TN, and into KY

__Cherokee most common; Shawnee, Iroquois including Seneca, Chickasaw, Creek, Seminole (less common), Choctaw, smaller tribes from NC and SC

__May speak English from the time of early settlement

__Identified as “free people of color” or “all other free persons” on censuses; also classified as “mulatto” and of “mixed blood” in records

__20% of  the American people have Native American blood in their veins

__Ally themselves with frontiersmen


__Settle on the outskirts of the other groups on self-contained farms

__Often Anabaptist by religion:  Dunkards, Mennonites, Brethren, Schwenckfelders, as well as German Reformed and Lutheran

__Law-abiding, willing to pay fines for refusal to muster and fight

__Attend court-days, serve on road details and juries willingly

__Culturally adaptive, very compatible with Scots-Irish, often intermarry


__Merge identity into other groups so they do not call attention to

themselves—even attend whatever church is nearby (except Roman Catholic), although they prefer the Reformed religion

__Origins in Europe—Switzerland, Italy, German provinces, Netherlands where they fled for refuge from French persecution.  So while considered French, they are almost always something else too

__Usually speak English before coming to America–indicating that they spent time in England or Ireland

__Low legal profile, stay out of public eye if possible–unwilling to fight if it calls attention to themselves

Do any of these sound like your ancestors?  Review the information you have collected on your Virginia ancestors–who do they most closely fit?  Your favorite Virginia genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS  I have developed several NEW presentations on Virginia and Southern Research.  Watch for the posting of these topics on my Home Page.  If your group needs a speaker–I may be available.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply