Aberdour, Aberdeenshire, Scotland Genealogy
This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Aberdour. To learn more about how to use these records to search for your ancestors, go to the Scotland: Research Strategies.
- 1 History
- 2 Census Records
- 3 Church Records
- 4 Civil Registration Records
- 5 Poor Law Records
- 6 Probate Records
- 7 References
ABERDOUR, a parish, in the district of Deer, county of Aberdeen; comprising the village of Pennan, 8 miles (W. by S.) from Fraserburgh. The name of this place is supposed to have been derived from a Gaelic term Aber, signifying "mouth" or "opening," in reference to the rivulet Dour, which finds an entrance into the sea, a short distance below the manse. The church, which is conveniently situated at the northern extremity of the village of New Aberdour, was erected in 1818, and contains about 900 sittings.
Aberdour is one of the oldest seats of Christianity in Scotland. The old parish church dated from before the Reformation. It was closed in 1818 and a new church was built in the north end of the village. The parish registers were said to be the oldest in the Church of Scotland but the earliest records were lost about the time of the move to the new church. The oldest stones in the old churchyard date from 1593.
The New Statistical Account of Scotland (pub. 1834-45) offers uniquely rich and detailed parish reports for the whole of Scotland, covering a vast range of topics including history, agriculture, education, trades, religion and social customs. The reports, written by the parish ministers, are available online at http://edina.ac.uk/stat-acc-scot/. Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for your parish of interest. Also available at the Family History Library..
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.
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.
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
|Record Type||Years Covered||Family History Library Film Number|
Condition of Original Registers—
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: The record prior to 1720 is imperfect. The record is blank 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 for April 1721–March 1725. It is again blank August 1725–February 1726 and January 1733–May 1734. The record is defective for January 1753–October 1754. There are many irregular entries for 1790–1820. [The New Statistical Account of Scotland (1835) states that the baptismal registers were defective due to the extreme negligence of parents in having their children recorded.]
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. It is blank again, except for one entry in 1813, February 1790–January 1817.
Deaths: Burials for March 1787–October 1790 are recorded among the births and marriages. There is a separate record December 1790–May 1793. The record is blank for 1793–January 1817 and 1826–1847.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. Family History Library British Book 941 K23b.
The Kirkyard of Aberdour in Aberdeen has been indexed by the North-East Scotland Family History Society.
Online listing is available through the: Aberdeen and North-East Scotland Family History Society
Established Church—Kirk Session Records
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:
Minutes and Accounts 1728–1753; 1834–1861
Poukburn Trustee’s Minutes, Aberdour School 1841–1953
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/3.
Nonconformist Church Records
A nonconformist church is any church that is not the Established church. Read more about nonconformity in Scotland in the article on the Scotland Church Records Union List.
In 1835, the nonconformist population of the parish consisted of about 6 Seceders, 2 Episcopalians, and 1 Roman Catholic, and they would have attended services in neighboring parishes.
Aberdour Free Church
The congregation was organized immediately after the disruption in 1843.
Membership: 1848, 313; 1900, 117.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Film #918572. More details are given in the source.
Various Minutes 1843–1940
Other post-1855 records are also available.
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/784.
Civil Registration Records
Government or civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths (also called statutory records) began on January 1, 1855 in Scotland. Each parish has a registrar's office and large cities have several. The records are created by the registrars and copies are sent to the General Register Office in Edinburgh. Annual indexes are then created for the records for the whole country.
See the article on Scotland Civil Registration for more information and to access the records.
Poor Law Records
These records are available at the Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives and are listed by the individual parish. Their listing includes 'General Register of the Poor', 'Register of Poor Persons', 'Record of Applications', etc. Research services are offered by theAberdeen & N.E. Scotland Family History Society if one is not able to go to the archives.
Aberdour 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.<
- Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 499-514. Adapted. Date accessed: 12 June 2014.
Return to Aberdeenshire parishes list.