Hi Lighter, always good to hear from you. My information came from the Wikipedia. I very much appreciate your corrections on that. I have certainly come across some of what you are talking about in both old and quite recent accounts of the Scots-Irish. I am also aware that there were a lot of Germans coming into the Port of Philadelphia at the same time that the Scots-Irish were arriving. Since about WWI, their presence has been down-played somewhat in the development of the "upper South" and Southern Appalachian regions.
I'm just wondering if there is any print documentation for an early importation of the "Child" ballads. I approach this question with a good deal of skepticism. But maybe there are some family accounts out there, or smaller collections like the Western NY one mentioned above that have some early references. The question is have they been noticed by anyone enough to get into the discussion. I was amazed to find the "Sarah Willard" manuscript copy of "The House Carpenter" on the TAUNY (Traditional Adirondack Music) website, which is a handwritten copy of "The House Carpenter" dated April 18, 1869, and no discussion of it anywhere. Here is the link:
Do you know if anyone has actually done a study on the early dating of these ballads in America?