Scottish Migration Documentary Film

$650 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 10 people in 18 months
"Why They Left: A Scottish Migration" is a documentary film that tells the story of the first large group to migrate to the United States, the Scots. Film website:
(Yellow Dot Designs is not a Non-profit organization. So please know that your donations will not be tax deductible. )

 Most people think of the romantic Highlands as the place our ancestors came from. And many did. But the purpose of this documentary is to explore where the majority of Scots migrated from - the Lowlands of Scotland. Most Americans of Scottish descent don't know where their ancestors came from, why they left, and on what ship and where they arrived. These details have been lost to the generations. This film tells why the Scottish Lowlands became so crowded, and what life was like there. The reasons that caused people to leave everything they knew, climb aboard a crowded and dirty ship, and sail in unspeakable squalor for many weeks to start a new life, penniless, in an unforgiving land.

 One man, William Gregory, left his family's carpet factory in Kilmarnock in 1807. He boarded a wooden sailing ship and sailed to Alexandria, Virginia. This film tells the story of how William fared once in Alexandria. Letters written home to his family in Kilmarnock and letters to America tell the fascinating tale of life in transition.

Ellen Hamilton shows us the cities of Kilmarnock in Ayrshire, and Greenock at the mouth of the River Clyde, where so many people left from, never to return. The busy Ocean Terminal port in Greenock has changed since the late 1700's, but it is still a vibrant port today for shipping containers and tourist ships.

Hamilton interviews the Scottish author Derek Alexander in the 400 year old, beautifully preserved Newark Castle, by the River Clyde, to learn about how how that area became a major seaport for Glasgow.

 Lance Malamo, head of the Office of Historic Alexandria talks about how Alexandria started out as an important seaport town and place where Scottish migrants started their lives in America.

Americans of Scottish descent were interviewed at a Scottish Games in Virginia to find out how much they know of their family's past.

We are in the stages of putting the film together and are in need of your donation to pay for the usage of images, help with film editing, illustrations, sound editing and so many things. Every donation is very much appreciated. Thank you for your help!

If you would like to sponsor the film, and have your name or logo displayed at the end of the film, call
703 - 328 - 8046. Thank you!

Visit the Film Website:

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Thank you so much to all who have so generously donated to this film project! You don't know how much of a help you have been!
On July 24th, 2018, I got back from a Scotland visit, including 2 nights in Kilmarnock, to get some final video footage, and to speak to two history experts who have been helping me. I got an article in the local newspaper, the Kilmarnock Standard. I managed a quick interview before getting on the train to leave town. I saw the Gregory's family church, the oldest in Kilmarnock, and saw 3 of the Gregory family tombstones, right next to the church. I saw the land right next to the river, the Kilmarnock Water, where the first textile factories were built, and where the last buildings were only removed in the last few decades. The land is along High Street, which used to be busy with buildings lining the road. Today that area is a park and not one building remains from that time. I found Kilmarnock to be a lovely town with a lively town center with statues of Robert Burns the poet, and his publisher, John Wilson.
See my article in the website:
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Planning an event to help fund this film, and to celebrate the opening of the new Yellow Dot Shop: History and Culture in Print! Pleased to have readings by local author Brooke C. Stoddard, and publisher Larry Moffi.
May 22 at St. Elmo's on Mt. Vernon Ave, from 7 to 9 pm.
Register and see the products at
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See the photos from the Scottish Celebration Burns Dinner here:
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Designed a special t-shirt for the Scottish Celebration Burns Dinner. You can get yours at
Custom art on 100% cotton shirts
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$650 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 10 people in 18 months
Created January 25, 2017
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1 day ago
Daniel Gillis
13 days ago

My ancestors left Loch Morar in the highlands for Cape Breton Isle Nova Scotia in 1826. Very interested in your work.

Lon Jones
1 month ago

A very interesting topic. My curiosity is stoked. So less time ice skating, more time film making to bring in the highly anticipated product :).

Margaret Rettig
6 months ago

Sorry I wasn’t able to attend the dinner. Good luck with the documentary.

8 months ago
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