Tom Boyd


The Boyds

My interest in the Boyd family history began in 1999 while living in Mexico City. One day I received in the mail a manuscript entitled "Boyd Family History 1763 - 1997. This was a fairly comprehensive summary of the descendents of William and Robert Boyd, brothers, who lived in County Antrim, Ireland. It was originally written by Charles Morgan Boyd and later updated and extended by Robert Burton Boyd. I'm not sure now who sent me the document (maybe it was Robert Burton Boyd, the author), but I was amazed by two things. One, that my family history in America dated to before the Revolution and, two, that I had never heard of either Charles or Robert Boyd. As I later found out, Robert was my dad's 1st cousin and Charles his uncle.

Several years later I undertook to update the document and to attempt to find more information about the people it described. This really started out as an exercise to transcibe the information into a genealogy program so that I could produce a family tree graphic. In the process of doing this I became curious about the people who existed in the document mostly as names and dates and I decided to see what I could find out about them. The internet is a wonderful source of information and I had soon not only confirmed (found other accounts that agreed) but had extended the information in some key areas. It was interesting to learn that for 5 or more generations, the Boyds were surprisingly consistent with regard to occupations, politics and religion. Growing up as a Presbyterian, it never occured to me that my family had been Presbyterians for more than 300 years. I learned what Scots-Irish meant. My Dad had told me that we were "Scots-Irish", but as a child I assumed that meant that some of our ancestors were from Scotland and some were from Ireland. I now know how unique the Scots-Irish were and what a key role they have played in the development of America. All of this gave me a new and profoundly different sense of identity.

As described in Robert Boyd's account, William Boyd was born and married in County Antrim, Ireland. He moved to South Carolina with his wife and (probably) two children in 1772. In 1790 his nephew, the son of Robert Boyd, moved to South Carolina at the age of 30 (there is a great deal of uncertainty about his exact birth date) and initially lived with his Uncle William. Here is a transcribed version of the original family history (it has been scanned and rewriten through the use of OCR). (You'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you don't have it, download Acrobat Reader here.) In case there are transciption errors, I intend to also include here images of the original document.

I am very grateful to Robert Boyd, who died at the age of 89 in 2005 and to his uncle Charles Morgan Boyd for his initial efforts to capture the history of the family. Robert had the help of his sister, Sarah Doris Boyd and his cousin, Agnes Strong Simonton.

Other Families

I've also done quite a bit of research on Margaret's (my wife) family history. Her mother is also Scots-Irish and Margaret's great great grandfather was both a Baptist minister and a Brigidier General in the Confederate Army. After the Civil War, he founded a college for women, Blue Mountain College, in Blue Mountain Mississippi.

The genealogy website also has infomation on my first wife's (Kathryn Edwards) family. Her father is of welsh descent, the great grandson of a Pennsylvannia miner who immigrated from Wales in the 1850s. Her mother's ancesters were of German (probably) descent having immigrated to Pennsylvania prior to the 1850s.