“Write back home”: Ulster letters from America

A talk which looks at Ulster emigration to America from the 18th century on and also relates the experiences of individuals and families based on their own words through letters and other documents which have survived through history.


Between 1717 and 1776 around 300,000 Ulster Presbyterians made the perilous voyages across the Atlantic, but few of them left written accounts behind.

This is the story of a journey to a new life through some of the letters that have come down to us through history.


From Ulster to the White House: The epic story of Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson is one of the major figures of American history, a participant in the Revolutionary War – in which he lost his family – and the saviour or the USA during the War of 1812 when he won a famous victory at New Orleans in 1815. Jackson was the seventh President and the first of Ulster Scots extraction to enter the White House.


In many ways he encapsulates the American Dream and he is regarded as the founder of the Democrat Party. He was not a perfect figure but his story is of survival and triumph amidst adversity.


An enthralling look at how an orphan boy with Antrim roots became the most powerful man in America.


South to Carolina: Journeys in the footsteps of Ulster settlers

The speaker was able to follow the footsteps of many Ulster families, who made up 70% of the population in the Carolina Piedmont in 1790 and to explore their contribution to their new homeland. Learn about settlers from Antrim, Down and Tyrone and view their landscape in this unique tour of sites associated with the Scotch-Irish migration.

The Ulster Presidents: From here to the White House

There have been more US Presidents with roots in Ulster soil than any other part of the world (at least 17), among them Andrew Jackson, Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and Bill Clinton. Learn about


  • The Ulster President whose family was divided by the American Civil War
  • The man who was known as ‘the Presbyterian President’
  • The Ulster Scot President who was taught to read and write by his wife
  • The President whose ancestors fled Ulster after the 1798 Rebellion


This talk examines the story of the Ulster Presidents and their lives and times as well as pondering why such a small part of the world should end up having so many claims to the highest political office in the land.

Sam Houston: The Tallest Texan

The first word issues from the first moon landing echoed his name, and Sam Houston remains an outstanding figure in American history. His roots lay in rural County Antrim and this talk tells the story of the Houstons of Ballyboley and their emigration to Virginia. The story of young Sam is detailed along with the major events in his life which include the Texan victory under his command following the loss of the Alamo. A great friend of another prominent Ulster Scot, President Andrew Jackson, and Sam Houston never made it to the White House, but he did become President of the Republic of Texas.

Ulster and the American Civil War, 1861-1865

The American Civil War was the most divisive and costly war which the United States has ever had to contend with. There were many first generation Ulstermen involved in the war, as well as many descendants of Ulster settlers in America who fought on both sides of the War.


What did people at home in Ulster learn about the war, and who were the locals who were to be found in the ranks of the Blue and the Grey?


Using documentary materials including newspaper reports and correspondence, this talk opens up a new understanding of the significance of the American Civil War in an Ulster context.


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Ulster American History