Aberdeen Scotland

The People of Aberdeen, Scotland

Genealogical Publishing Company is pleased to announce another excellent publication from author and expert,  David Dobson, The People of the Scottish Burghs: A Genealogical Source Book. The People of Aberdeen, 1600-1799. Many genealogical researchers are familiar with other publications from Dr. Dobson, such as Irish Emigrants in North America and Scottish-German Links, 1550-1850, just two titles of over twenty acclaimed works in the Genealogical Publishing Company collection.

Mr. Dobson’s new book, The People of the Scottish Burghs: A Genealogical Source Book. The People of Aberdeen, 1600-1799, is now available for purchase on the Genealogical.com website.

Aberdeen during the early modem period contained two distinct burghs–Old Aberdeen, the original settlement, and New Aberdeen. Old Aberdeen was an important ecclesiastical town and, with King’s College, an educational center in the medieval and early modem period. Additionally, a Royal Charter of 1179 confirmed the commercial rights of the burgesses of the old town, the social and economic elite of any burgh. A mile or so distant lay another settlement known as Aberdeen. This was the commercial center of north east Scotland, with trading links all around the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. New Aberdeen was a Royal Burgh with a major port and, from 1593, was the home of Marischal College, an important center of learning. The two Aberdeens functioned separately until they formally merged in 1898. The two colleges–King’s and Marischal–amalgamated in 1860 to form Aberdeen University.

During the 17th and 18th centuries Aberdeen was an important administrative center and market in north east Scotland. Its vessels traded increasingly across the Atlantic to the West Indies and the Thirteen Colonies. Aberdeen was also a major fishing port and participated in whaling around Greenland. Emigration from Aberdeen was mainly to Scandinavia, Poland, and the Netherlands and latterly to the Americas, as is shown in this source book.

The People of Aberdeen concentrates on the period from 1600 to 1800 when Aberdeen was one of the main cities in Scotland. By the middle of the 17th century it had a population around 5,000; however, by the close of the 18th century the population had nearly tripled to 17,500. Dr. David Dobson, the compiler of this collection of Aberdeen’s inhabitants during the era of New World emigration, consulted a range of documentary sources, including testaments, deeds, sassines [property], marriage contracts, bonds, court records, and others, all of which provide a useful insight into the lives of the people of the period. Dr. Dobson identifies each of the nearly 2,000 inhabitants of Aberdeen by name, occupation, a date, and the source. In many instances he also provides additional facts, such as the name(s) of family members, if/when traveled to the Americas, contestants in civil suits, and so on.
Nb. The People of Aberdeen, 1600-1799 should be used in conjunction with Frances McDonnell’s Roll of Apprentices, Burgh of Aberdeen, 1622-1796 and her Register of Testaments, Aberdeen, 1715-1800, both published by the Clearfield Company.

Image credit: Marischal College, Aberdeen, Scotland. By Photochrom Print Collection [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

immigrants on ship, passenger list

How to find your ancestor without a passenger list

No Passenger List?

No official U.S. government passenger lists exist prior to 1820. What miscellaneous lists that have survived and been transcribed or published cover only a fraction of the immigrants who arrived in the Americas before 1820. If you do not possess a passenger list for your immigrant ancestor, are you at the end of your hunt? Not necessarily.

Let’s say that you have traced your Scottish immigrant ancestor to the city of Baltimore in 1816. You are hoping to continue your research abroad, but you don’t have a passenger list stating the name of your forebear, his/her ports and dates of embarkation and disembarkation, and so forth. What can you turn to in place of the missing list? The identity of the ship that disembarked in Baltimore close to the time your ancestor was living there. Continue reading…

Jacobite, Scottish Highlands, Scots, Scotland

Jacobite Rebellion & Immigration to Colonial America

The following post, “Jacobitism & American Colonial Immigration,” is by renowned author and expert David Dobson. In the following, Mr. Dobson discusses the Jacobite movement, and the impact of its failure in immigration to Colonial America. 

Jacobite Rebellion & Immigration to Colonial America

What was Jacobitism and what relevance did it have for immigration to colonial America? Jacobitism was basically a movement committed to restoring the House of Stuart to the throne of Great Britain and Ireland. It originated when King James II of England, who was simultaneously King James VII of Scotland, abandoned his kingdoms and fled to France in 1689. His hurried departure was prompted by the arrival in England of William of Orange, later to reign with his wife as William and Mary. The dual monarchs were succeeded by Queen Anne and thereafter followed the ruling House of Hanover. Continue reading…

Hard to find Ancestors, Irish Immigrants

Hard to Find Ancestors – Maybe They Took a Detour?

If you’re frustrated on the trail your hard to find ancestors, you may have to consider – did your immigrant ancestors detour on their way here?

The Canadian port of St. John, New Brunswick, was a magnet for Irish immigration during the 1840s, the decade that culminated in the Great Famine. A majority of these Irish immigrants eventually relocated to Boston or elsewhere in New England to rejoin other family members. Since many of the aforementioned Irish arrived in Canada in a destitute or infirm condition, however, they were required to take temporary refuge in the alms and work houses, hospitals, and asylums of St. John. (See the publication, Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of St. John, New Brunswick,1841 to 1849 for additional information. A number of records of these institutions have survived and now serve as a surrogate record of these persons “missing” from the official passenger lists. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of St. John, New Brunswick,1841 to 1849 identifies some 7,000 persons of Irish birth from the records of alms houses, hospitals, parish houses, etc.)

As in the case of the Irish to St. John, an immigrant’s stopover could last a generation. For example, a number of the 17th-century pioneers of Long Island, New York, actually came from Connecticut, not directly from Great Britain. You should not assume that immigrant ancestors who lived in one place necessarily came there directly from their birth country, especially if no record of the immigrants can be found among the records of the state or colony you associate with them. Continue reading…

Ayr genealogy

The People of the Scottish Burghs: Ayr Genealogy

The Scottish city of Ayr, within the historic county of Ayrshire in Southwest Scotland, has a rich history. It is one of the most agriculturally fertile regions in Scotland, and has enjoyed prominence for its crop bounty as well as a later history as an industrial hub. Ayr is now a popular seaside resort town, bringing tourists just the short distance from Glasgow to walk its beachfront and charming esplanade. Before it became a post-industrial tourist spot, the port of Ayr served as a major hub for Scott and Scotch-Irish emigration to the West Indies and the Americas, as well as in the settlement of Ulster. If you need to track your Scottish or Scotch-Irish relative back to the seventeenth century, you may find a challenge in the records related to Ayr genealogy. We’ll discuss a bit about Ayr, as well as one particular resource, by the acclaimed author Dr. David Dobson, that can help.

FamilySearch has a concise lay of the land for Ayr:

Ayrshire, an extensive county on the western coast of Scotland, is bounded on the north by Renfrewshire, on the east by the counties of Lanark and Dumfries, on the south by the stewartry of Kirkcudbright and the county of Wigton, and on the west by the Firth of Clyde and the Irish Channel. It is about sixty miles in length and nearly thirty in extreme breadth. It comprised an area of about 1600 square miles or 1,024,000 acres. It includes forty-six parishes and is divided into the districts of Carrick, Kyle, and Cunninghame. It contains the royal burghs of Ayr (the county town) and Irvine. There are thirteen towns and numerous large and populous villages.

Ayr was founded in 1205 based on a charter granted by King William the Lion. Initially it was a small village around a royal castle, but by the 17th century it had grown to become an important market town and a leading port on the west coast of Scotland. Ayr, as a burgh, was semi-autonomous, with its burgesses controlling much of the social and economic life of the community. The burgesses were all male and came from the elite of the urban society. Burgesses were either craftsmen or merchants; they elected a council that was headed by a provost.

From the medieval period onward, Ayr had shipping links with England, Ireland, France, and Spain, and from the mid-17th century onward, it had links with the West Indies and North America. During the 17th century, when substantial numbers of Scots crossed over to Ireland to settle, much of this traffic went via the port of Ayr, thus tying the port to the Ulster settlements as well. At the same time, trading links were established with the West Indies and the Thirteen Colonies, which facilitated emigration there.

The Scottish Census did not begin until well into the 19th Century, presenting challenges to the researcher relying on those records for information. However, given it’s importance to Ulster, and through two centuries of emigration to the Americas, it’s crucial to find another way to track your relative through Ayr.

In The People of the Scottish Burghs: The People of Ayr, 1600-1799, Dr. David Dobson’s latest book in his series on inhabitants of the Scottish burghs during the 17th and 18th centuries, he references between 1,500 and 2,000 inhabitants in the city or Ayr during the period. Many of the men listed in this book were burgesses of Ayr. Most of the entries herein provide a man’s name, occupation, a date, and the source. In many instances we are also given the name of at least one or more relatives, date of birth and/or death, names of witnesses, education, or more.

While he doesn’t claim it’s an exhaustive list of all residents, The People of the Scottish Burghs: The People of Ayr, 1600-1799 provides a critical piece of information not found elsewhere. Thanks to Dr. Dobson’s hard work, the distillation of hard-to-find data found in disparate records is presented in one accessible place for your research.

Image Credit: Pinkerton’s extraordinary 1818 map of the southern part of Scotland. Covers from England in the south to Angus Shire in the north. Includes parts of Adjacent England and Ireland. Covers the entire region in considerable detail with political divisions and color coding at the regional level. Identifies cities, towns, castles, important battle sites, castles, swamps, mountains and river ways. Title plate and mile scale in the lower left quadrant. Drawn by L. Herbert and engraved by Samuel Neele under the direction of John Pinkerton. This map comes from the scarce American edition of Pinkerton’s Modern Atlas, published by Thomas Dobson & Co. of Philadelphia in 1818. By John Pinkerton [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.