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Deepest Root

Doris's Reid family emigrated to the United States from Antrim County, Northern Ireland.  The most distant ancestor identified is Thomas Reid, who is listed on the marriage certificate of Alexander Reid and Elizabeth Hyndman as Alexander's father.  Thomas Reid  married Rose Anne Catherwood in Antrim on January 9, 1815.

The Immigrant Ancestors

Alexander Reid, his wife Eliza, and two children, arrived at New York on July 28, 1849 on board the "John Kerr" from Glasgow.  The family quickly settled in the area of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Doris's great-grandfather John Way Reid, a son of Alexander, was born in the United States and was not one of the immigrant children of Alexander and Eliza.

There is also a record of an Elizabeth Reid and two children arriving at New York on the "Nancy" on July 31, 1851, who are possibly the wife and children of Alexander.  If this is true, it means that Elizabeth and the children returned briefly to Europe, for some unknown reason.  The 1850 Federal Census for Ohio Township (now Sewickley), Allegheny County, Pennsylvania suggests that Alexander Reid was living without his family, but with his friend John Way, at the Academy (later Sewickley Academy) on July 29, 1850.  This census record agrees with the theory that Eliza and the children returned to Europe for a while.

Family History

Doris's Reid family ancestors have been traced back to Antrim County, Northern Ireland.  Early nineteenth century records (church, census, and other civil) indicate that the Reid name was well established in Antrim County, and it is very likely that many of these Reid families were related in some fashion.  However, we have no information which connects any of these Antrim Reids to Doris's Reid line, except for the marriage license that identifies Alexander's father as Thomas.

It appears that Alexander and his family put down roots in the Pittsburgh area soon after their arrival in America.  We believe they had family, friends, or acquaintances in the area, who helped them get established.  Their were others Reids and at least one Hyndman in the Pittsburgh area, who might have been relatives, but this is only conjecture, at this time.  The Way family of Sewickley imported materials from Europe, and it is possible that Alexander's association with John Way began long before he arrived in America.  Family tradition says that, at some time, Alexander worked as a gardener for John Way of Sewickley, after whom he named his son, John Way Reid.

Doris's Reid family is most likely of Scottish origin, which would include them among the many Scotch-Irish immigrants to the United States.  There are several origins of the Reid name, and we do not know the actual origin of Doris's Reid family.  One possibility is the Reid sept (division or sect) of the Clan Robertson of Scotland, MacDonnachaidh or MacRaibeirt in Gaelic.  (See the Clan Donnachaidh web site for more information.)

The Origin of the Name

There are several independent Scottish, English, and Irish origins of the Reid name, and we cannot be certain of the origin of Doris's Reid family name, even though the family most likely has Scottist roots.

In Scotland, the Islay name MacRory, Mac Ruaraidh in Gaelic, became Reid, and the name Ruadh, meaning red, also became Reid.  The name MacInroy, or Mac Iain Ruaidh in Gaelic - "son of Red John" - a sept of Clan Donnachie, was changed to both Reid and Roy.  Tradition says that the progenitor of the Reid sept of  Clan Robertson is 'Robert the Red' of Scotland.

In both England and Scotland the names Reid, Reed, and Read can derive from the word for "red" implying that the progenitor of the family name was someone with red hair or a ruddy complexion.  In Old English, 'ried' refered to a residence in a clearing.  English roots of the name can also be connected to the towns of Read in Lancashire, Rede in Suffolk, or Reed in Hertfordshire.

Reid is among the 100 most common names in Ireland, and among the 40 most common in Ulster.  It is particularly common in the counties of Antrim (where Doris's family is from), Armagh, Down, and Tyron.  In Ulster, the name Maoildeirg or Mulderrig, meaning "descendant of the red warrior" became Reid.  A sept of the O'Muldergs of Antrim was anglicized to Reid, among other names.  Also, the Roscommon County name Mulready occasionally became Reid.

Descendants of Thomas Reid and Rose Ann Calderwood - 4 generations

Robert Bell, The Book of Irish Surnames
George F. Black, The Surnames of Scotland

Robertson tartanRobertson Clan tartan



Alexander Reid 1897
Jessie Reid Martsolt Stotts 1966


Gas Explosion Claims the House of John W. Reid tells about how the house of the John Way Reid family exploded in 1908.

Other Topics Related to the Reid Family on this Site

Antrim County, Northern Ireland

Favorite Links

Electric Scotland & ScotSearch

Irish Genealogy on the Net 
Public Record Office of Northern Ireland 
Irish Genealogy on the Web - County Antrim  


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This page was last updated on: Sunday, September 13, 2014


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