I have been researching my ancestors, William and Margaret MacKeachey, who settled in North Carolina in the 1760's at Cross Creek. I have had an impossible time trying to determine where they lived prior to emigrating to the Colonies. Some people say Ulster, others say they sailed from Scotland. The truth is, at this point, nobody really knows. What I do know is that although they lived almost exclusively among Highlanders, and were documented Gaelic-speakers themselves, their name is one that is common to Galloway and parts of Ayrshire (although usually spelled Keachie/McKeachie in those places.) I know that they were, almost immediately after arriving in North Carolina, living next to, marrying into and settling estates for a Jackson family. The head of this family was named Samuel Jackson, and he was from Carrickfergus. Although many researchers claim he was President Andrew Jackson's uncle, I doubt this, and think he was rather a distant relative (since there are Jacksons all over the place in that area, and no documentation to support the claims.) Anyway, it is interesting to me that William MacKeachey would have been so involved with this Jackson family "right off the bat" unless he knew them already, prior to immigrating. This leads me to believe that the MacKeacheys may have lived in the area around Larne/Carrickfergus in the period between 1730 and 1770.
Recently, I ran across an article that was discussing the prevalence of the names McEachan and McCaughan in the area around Glenshesk. Since I know almost nothing about this area, I don't know if the author was accurate or not in saying this. I just used the information as a new lead in my research. Anyway, I am seeing the migration patterns emerging for this name, and understanding the "back-and-forth" between the Glens and the adjacent portions of Scotland. I guess the point of all of this is that I want to know if anyone knows if there is some insider or local info that might help me figure this all out? Would it have been an odd scenario for a family from the Lowlands, who were Presbyterian, to live among the people in the Glens. Also, another odd tidbit is that William and Margaret were next-door neighbors to Flora and Allan MacDonald in North Carolina. After William died in 1780, Margaret MacKeachey married a man named Daniel McDonald, who was a relative of Flora's from Skye. It seems weird to me that a family that has a surname common to the Lowland area of Galloway, and may have lived in Antrim is living almost exclusively with Scottish Highlanders and is close with MacDonalds from Skye. It's all too much!!! Thanks to anyone who has taken the time to read this voluminous tome and another thanks for any help with my quandary.