Week 27: Free

I wonder why my ancestors would choose to leave their homes, all that was familiar, and emigrate to the New World, to America? I decided to take a look at when my ancestors came to America and what might have been the motivator based on what was going on in their country at that time.

My 4th great-grandfather on my Dad’s side, Duncan McDearmid, was born in Scotland about 1719. He married Elizabeth McClellan in the Parish of Fortingall, County of Perth. It appears they had 3 children and planned to emigrate to America probably for economic freedom and opportunity. Landowners were turning farms into sheepherding and farmers were forced to find new income. Duncan and Elizabeth obtained certificates of church membership in Scotland and were early members of their church when they settled in Thornton, New Hampshire. (picture of their meeting house can be seen here: https://www.wikitree.com/photo.php/0/03/Thornton_Name_Study-1.jpg) Unfortunately, Duncan became ill and died on the voyage to America and Elizabeth was left a widow.

From Thornton, NH history

Archibald McDearmid, my 3rd great-grandfather and son of Duncan and Elizabeth was born in Scotland in 1744. Somewhere between 1744 and 1782 Archibald emigrated to the New World with his parents. In 1782 he married Sarah Varnum in Thornton, New Hampshire. She was a native of NH and several years younger than Archibald. They had 14 children in 24 years. He became a Husbandman (farmer) and likely fulfilled the dream of his father Duncan. Archibald died in 1821 in Thornton leaving substantial property and goods to his wife and family. His will and probate records can be found on my family tree.

Another grandparent on my father’s side is William Sawyer, my 8th great-grandfather, who was born in 1613 in Gainsborough, England. Probably in his early 20’s he emigrated to the New World very early in New England history, around 1635, settling in Newbury, Massachusetts. Between 1630 and 1640 some 20,000 people sailed to the New World because of civil unrest and economic instability in England. William married Ruth Bitfield in 1644. They had 12 children. He was one of the founders of the Baptist Church in Newbury. He lived to the ripe old age of 90! He left very little in the way of worldly goods but an abundant family of settlers.

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