Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Guide to Aberdeen (city) history, family history, and genealogy: parish registers, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.

Aberdeen Harbor.jpg

History[edit | edit source]

Aberdeen coat of arms
Aberdeen location in Scotland
Flag of Aberdeen

ABERDEEN, a city, and sea-port town, the seat of a university, the capital of the county of Aberdeen, and the metropolis of the North of Scotland, 109 miles (N. N. E.) from Edinburgh, and 425 (N. by W.) from London

The Aberdeen area has seen human settlement for at least 8,000 years,with Pictish and Gaelic origins.

The city is cited between 2 river-mouths, the Don and the Dee. As such, it is based upon river sediments, rather than major rock deposits. However to the west and southwest are large deposits of granite, and for hundreds of years, Aberdeen has been known as the granite city of the north. This fact has also provided one the best supplies of quality drinking water in the UK.

The earliest charter for a city was granted by William the Lion in 1179. In 1319, the Great Charter of Robert the Bruce (one of the greatest champions for s free Scotland) transformed Aberdeen into a property-owning and financially independent community. Granted with it was the nearby Forest of Stocket, whose income formed the basis for the city's Common Good Fund which still benefits Aberdonians.

Aberdeen received Royal Burgh status from David I of Scotland (1124–53), transforming the city economically. The city's two universities, the University of Aberdeen, founded in 1495, and Robert Gordon University, which was awarded university status in 1992, make Aberdeen the educational center of the north-east of Scotland. The traditional industries of fishing, paper-making, shipbuilding, and textiles have been overtaken by the oil industry and Aberdeen's seaport.

During the Wars of the Three Kingdoms of 1644–1647 the city was plundered by both sides. In 1644, it was taken and ransacked by Royalist troops after the Battle of Aberdeen and two years later it was stormed by a Royalist force under the command of Marquis of Huntly.

In the nineteenth century, the increasing economic importance of Aberdeen and the development of the shipbuilding and fishing industries led to the construction of the present harbor including Victoria Dock and the South Breakwater, and the extension of the North Pier.

In the twentieth century, the discovery of the North Sea oilfields has made Aberdeen a major player in the petroleum industry. Aberdeen Heliport is one of the busiest commercial heliports in the world and the seaport is the largest in the north-east of Scotland. [1]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries (Civil)[edit | edit source]

There are 3 cemeteries in the area of Aberdeen.

Nellfied Cemetery
Aberdeen AB10 6QF, UK

Springbank Cemetery
Countesswells Rd
Aberdeen AB15 7YH, UK
Phone:+44 1224 317323

Trinity Cemetery
Erroll St
Aberdeen AB24 5PP, UK
Phone:+44 1224 522485

Other useful sites follow:

Census Records[edit | edit source]

A census is a count and description of the population, taken by the government, arranged by locality and by household. Read more about census records.

Click Census records for Aberdour 1841-1891. The 1881 census of Aberdeenshire has been completely indexed by surname. Click here to go to the library catalog entry for the index.

The 1901 nd 1911 census of Scotland is indexed on www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. To use it, you must register and pay a small access fee. All available censuses, 1841-1911, are indexed on this website. It may be easier for you to pay to use the website rather than access the separate indexes through the library.

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Parishes[edit | edit source]

Scotland generally does not follow the Anglican church. The Established Church of Scotland was Presbyterian. Read more about church records

Here are the pre-1855 records that exist for this parish.

Established Church—Old Parochial Registers[edit | edit source]
Record Type Years Covered Family History Library Film Number
Births: 1563-1591, 1602-1631 0991133
1631-1672 0991134
1672-1704 0991135
1704-1771 0991136
1771-1820 0991137
1820-1842 0991199
1843-1855 0991200
1793-1847 (East Church) 1068235 item 7
Marriages: 1568-1686, 1695-1776 0991138
1776-1819 0991139
1788-1819 (Dissenters*) 0991139
1804-1819 (various churches*) 0991139
1820-1844 0991201
1845-1856 0991202
1820-1831 (St. Clement) 0991202
1839-1859 (North Church) 1068225 items 5-7
1839-1859 (East Church) 1068226 items 1-6
1839-1844 (South Church) 1068226 items 7-8
1841-1859 (South Church) 1068227 items 1-5
1839-1845 (West Church) 1068227 items 6-8
1846-1859 (West Church) 1068228 items 1-3
1839-1849 (Greyfriar's) 1068228 items 4-8
1850-1859 (Greyfriar's) 1068229 items 1-2
1839-1841 (St. Clement's) 1068229 items 3-4
1844-1854 (St. Clement's) 1068229 items 5-7
1854-1859 (St. Clement's) 1068230 item 1
Deaths: 1560-1687 0991198
1789-1819 0991198
1793-1820 (St. Clement's) 0991198
1820-1854 0991203
1820-1854 (St. Clement's) 0991203
1846-1855 (South Church) 1068235 item 5
1813-1852 (neglected entries) 0991204

Marked with asterisk (*): These marriages performed by ministers of churches other than St. Nicholas, including those of Dissenters. Many marriages were performed in private homes rather than a church.

Condition of Original Registers[edit | edit source]

Index: For an index to these records, see Scotland’s People website, a pay-for-view website. The Scottish Church Records Index is also still available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Some records may also be indexed in other FamilySearch collections for Scotland.

Births: There are no records for July 1699–December 1700, December 1703–January 1706, except for five entries in 1705 and April 1707–November 1713. There are only two entries for May 1714–March 1719 and three entries April 1721–March 1725. It is again blank for August 1725–February 1726 and January 1733–May 1734. It is defective for January 1753–October 1754. There are many irregular entries during 1790–1820.

Marriages: Except for eight entries dated between May and July 1703, the record is blank December 1700–April 1734. It is also blank April 1740–July 1742 and October 1751–May 1786. From the latter date to February 1790, the entries occur among the births for the same period. The record is blank February 1790–January 1817, except for one entry in 1813, from which date a separate record is again kept.

Deaths: Burials for March 1787–October 1790 are recorded among the births and marriages. There is a separate record for December 1790–May 1793. The record is blank 1793–January 1817 after which the record is resumed on occasional pages of the baptismal register. It is blank for 1826–1847.

Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.

Non Conformists[edit | edit source]

Many other Christian and non- Christian groups can be found in Aberdeen. These would include:

  • Baptists
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
  • Greek Orthodox
  • Jehovah's Wintesses
  • Methodists
  • Romanian Orthodox
  • Seventh Day Adventist

Non Christian Groups include:

  • Buddhist
  • Muslim
  • Sikh

Civil Registration[edit | edit source]

Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from July 1837 to the present day. The following link provides access for Aberdeen:

General Office
Marischal College
Broad St
Aberdeen AB10 1AB, UK
Phone:+44 1224 522616
Aberdeen City Government Offices for BMD Website

Other websites:

Court Records[edit | edit source]

The Kirk session was the court of the parish. The session was made up of he minister and the land owners and business men of the parish, chosen to serve on the session. The Kirk session dealt with moral issues, minor criminal cases, matters of the poor and education, matters of discipline, and the general concerns of the parish. Kirk session records may also mention births, marriages, and deaths.

Here is a list of the surviving Kirk session records for this parish:

St. Nicholas
Minutes 1562–1563, 1568, 1573–1578, 1602–1624, 1629–1640, 1651–1922
Scroll Minutes 1739–1744, 1749–1926
Accounts 1768–1896
Cash Books 1845–1890, 1897–1937
List of recipients of money allocated from the Communion Collections 1839–1846
Note: Available at the Aberdeen City Archives, Aberdeen, Scotland, record CH2/448.

St. Clement
Minutes 1828–1965
Various Accounts 1845–1897
Scroll Minutes 1828–1839, 1849–1954
Note: Available at the Aberdeen City Archives, Aberdeen, Scotland, record CH2/1369.

East Kirk, St. Mary’s Chapel
Minutes 1828–1914
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/741.

Gilcomston Chapel
Minutes 1834–1852
Cash Book 1814–1850
Seat Rent Book 1821–1845
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/1487.

Greyfriars Church
Minutes 1828–1890
Note: Available at the Aberdeen City Archives, Aberdeen, Scotland, record CH2/492.

Roll of Male Heads of Families[edit | edit source]

An 1834 list of male heads of families in this parish can be found here.

John Knox Mounthooley
Communicants Rolls 1839–1842, 1846–1863, 1866–1987
Managers’ Minutes 1836–1896
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/1493.

South Church Family History Library Film Number Marriages 1850–1866 0304659 item 1
Deaths 1846–1865 0304659 item 1

Union Terrace Chapel of Ease (Bon Accord Free Church after 1843)

Various Minutes 1828–1848
Communion Roll 1829–1835
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/908.

Woodside North
See Woodside Free Church, in the list of Nonconformist churches, for records

Directories[edit | edit source]

Post office directories are available online through the National Library of Scotland, each one is in a PDF format that can be downloaded or one can view it online.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Military[edit | edit source]

War Memorial for WWI and WWII located at the Ruthrieston Church, Aberdeen, Scotland (Courtesy of Colin Milne)

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Occupations[edit | edit source]

Most of the leading pre-1970s industries date from the 18th Century, among them woolens (1703), linen (1749), and cotton (1779). These gave employment to several thousands of operatives. The paper-making industry is one of the most famous and oldest in the city, paper having been first made in Aberdeen in 1694. These industries have however, collapsed.

Fishing was once the predominant industry for Aberdeen. Lately, however, catches have fallen due to overfishing in previous years, and the use of the harbor by oil support vessels. Aberdeen still remains an important fishing port.[2]

Oil has been a dominant source of employment since the late 1960's when the presence of huge oil deposits were verified in the North Sea, and a large segment in British waters. By late 1975, after years of intense construction the necessary infrastructure was in place. In Aberdeen, at BP's (British Petroleum) headquarters, the Queen pressed the button that would set the whole thing moving. Oil flowed from the rig directly to the refinery at far-away Grangemouth. While many ports have suffered decline, Aberdeen remains busy because of the oil trade and the influx of people connected with the industry, a subsequent rise in property prices have brought prosperity to the area.

The industry still supports about 47,000 jobs locally and known reserves are such that oil will continue to flow well into the 21st century.

Aberdeen has two universities that provide a wealth of employment opportunities, the ancient University of Aberdeen, and Robert Gordon University, a modern university.

Aberdeen is also home to two artistic schools: Gray's School of Art, founded in 1886, which is one of the oldest established colleges of art in the UK, and the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture.

The other major source of employment in Aberdeen is the Health Sector. Aberdeen has 2 major public hospitals and one private hospital, all of which serve the city and its surrounding environs, and requires the services of any major medical center.

Photographers[edit | edit source]

  • Aberdeen Photographers Index: 1857-1941 ebook

Poorhouses[edit | edit source]

A description with drawings and photos of them today along with databases of those living there from the 1881 Census are provided on the links above located on the site entitled "The Workhouse: The Story of an Institution" which is owned and operated by Peter Higginbotham.

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Aberdeen was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Aberdeen until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Aberdeen. Probate records for 1513- 1901 are indexed online at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. You must register on the website but use of the index to probate records, called 'Wills & Testaments,' is free. You may then purchase a copy of the document or, if the document is before 1823, it will be on microfilm at the Family History Library. To find the microfilm numbers, search in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Aberdeen and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Aberdeen. Ancestry.co.uk also has many probate records for Scotland and Scottish people indexed from 1861-1941

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Aberdeen. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Aberdeen and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'

Read more about Scotland Probate Records.

Societies[edit | edit source]

Aberdeen has a very important Society for Family History Research, known as:
Aberdeen and North East Scotland Family History Society
164 King St
Aberdeen AB24 5BD, UK
Phone: +44 1224 646323

University[edit | edit source]

The University library has an online catalogue to their archives and two photographic collections (Aberdeen Harbour Board and the photographer George Washington Wilson).

  • Aberdeen University Bursary Index 1861-1890 ebook

Archives[edit | edit source]

The Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Archives has put the catalogue to their collection on the Internet. Their collection of genealogical value includes:

  • Records of the poor relating to Aberdeenshire, Morayshire, Banffshire and Kincardineshire
  • School records for Aberdeenshire, Morayshire, Banffshire, Kincardineshire and Aberdeen City
  • Burial records for some City cemeteries, as well as some in Aberdeenshire
  • Registers of shipping and sea fishing vessels for the Port of Aberdeen
  • Aberdeen Burgh records: Council minutes from 1398, Register of Sasines (including Town Clerk’s Protocol Books) from 1484 -1809, Register of Deeds from 1569, Apprentice Registers from 1622, and Register of Burgesses from 1632.
  • Records for other burghs in Aberdeen and Moray shires.
  • Kirk Session records for St. Nicholas, St. Clement’s, St. Clement’s Free, John Knox, Langstane and Greyfriars parishes in Aberdeen
  • Congregational, Episcopal and Methodist Church Records for a number of congregations in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire
  • Tax lists from as early as the 15th century
  • Valuation Rolls and Registers of Electors

Some burial records in their collection have been digitized and are searchable at http://www.deceasedonline.com/.

The Aberdeen City Library has a local studies collection that includes:

  • Parish and local histories
  • Biographies and family history
  • Education, literature and architecture sources
  • Local authority minutes and development plans
  • Electoral and valuation rolls
  • Newspapers and Periodicals
  • Directories
  • Maps
  • Photographs

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors,"Aberdeen" in "Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia", https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aberdeen, accessed 7 March 2017.
  2. Wikipedia contributors,"Aberdeen" in "Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia", https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aberdeen, accessed 11 March 2017.