Williamson, Duncan

Battle:Battle of Dunbar in Dunbar, East Lothian, Scotland
Ship/Arrival:Unity, Dec 1650
Prisoner and List:
Name Variations:
Other SPOW Associations:
Every attempt has been made to ensure accuracy; please independently verify all data.

Published: 5 June 2018, Updated: 24 May 2019
Page contributors: Dr. Andrew Millard and Teresa Rust

Duncan Williamson, #107 on George S. Stewart’s Captured at Dunbar List1

According to, Christopher Gerrard, Pam Graves, Andrew Millard, Richard Annis, and Anwen Caffell, in, Lost Lives, New Voices: Unlocking the Stories of the Scottish Soldiers at the Battle of Dunbar 1650,2 (England: Oxbow Books, 2018), on page 254, Duncan is categorized as:

Possible [that he is a Dunbar prisoner transported on the Unity]

Williamson, Duncan. No evidence found about him except his name on George S. Stewart’s list. [SPOWS]1

For explanations of the category, abbreviations and references see List of Dunbar prisoners from Lost Lives, New Voices.

First Generation in the New World

1. DUNCAN¹ WILLIAMSON, was born, possibly, in Scotland.


Sources and Notes:

Submitted by Dr. Andrew Millard on 6 June 2018:

  1. Duncan Williamson: He appears on Stewart’s list of Dunbar prisoners, but not in Stackpole’s Scotch Exiles in New England.
  2. The 1911 memorial stone for the colonization of Block Island, Rhode Island, includes Duncan Mack Williamson.
  3. The 1876 version of History of Block Island by S T Livermore, quoting directly from the New Shoreham Town Book, lists Duncan Williamson among the first settlers. He is not mentioned again. https://archive.org/stream/historyofblockis00live#page/16/mode/2up
  4. The 1901 version of History of Block Island by Livermore also names Duncan Williamson as one of the first settlers, but does not indicate the source. https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=4LkNAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA154&lpg=PA154
  5. He does not appear in the list of all freeman in the town recorded in the New Shoreham Town Book in 1678, transcribed in A historical sketch of Block Island by W P Sheffield in 1876. https://archive..org/stream/historicalsketch00shef#page/12/mode/2up
  6. He does not appear in Torrey’s New England Marriages.
  7. There is no Williams/Williamson/MacWilliams in the Rhode Island, Town Clerk, Vital and Town Records, 1630-1945 collection on FamilySearch until the last two decades of the 18thcentury. There are no entries in that collection for the forename Duncan before the 19thcentury. I’ve not been able to discover the coverage for this collection, so checks on other indexes of vital records might be useful. https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/2146229
  8. The John and Sara passenger list includes Gellust Mackwilliam, but it seems too much of a stretch to equate that forename (whatever it really is) to Duncan.
  9. Analysis: His forename is distinctively Scottish. By association with the other men who colonized Block Island in 1661, he would appear likely to be a Scottish prisoner, though not all the settlers were Scots and the Scots present came from both the battles of Dunbar and Worcester. As his name is not on the John and Sara passenger list, if he is a prisoner he was most likely captured at Dunbar. His failure to appear in later records, especially the New Shoreham Town Book, and the absence of both his surname and forename in any form suggests that he did not live long on Block Island and left no descendants there. Most likely he died within a few years of the settlement, but it is possible that he migrated out of New England.

Signed, Dr. Andrew Millard
Durham Scottish Soldiers Project: https://www.dur.ac.uk/scottishsoldiers/
and book: https://www.oxbowbooks.com/dbbc/lost-lives-new-voices.html
Chair, Trustees of Genuki: www.genuki.org.uk
Academic Co-ordinator, Guild of One-Name Studies: www.one-name.org
Bodimeade one-name study: community.dur.ac.uk/a.r.millard/genealogy/Bodimeade/

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  1. Stewart, George Sawin. The Bartlett Collection. New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts. /george-sawin-stewart-documents/ [] []
  2. Gerrard, Christopher M.., et al. Lost Lives, New Voices: Unlocking the Stories of the Scottish Soldiers at the Battle of Dunbar 1650. Oxbow Books, 2018, p. 254. []