Old Machar, Aberdeenshire, Scotland Genealogy
This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Old Machar. 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 Maps
- 6 Probate Records
- 7 References
ABERDEEN, OLD, or Old Machar,a parish, chiefly without, but partly within, the city of Aberdeen, county of Aberdeen; comprising the quoad sacra districts of Bon-Accord, Gilcomston, Holburn, and Woodside. This place, originally a small hamlet, consisting only of a few scattered cottages, was, from the erection of a chapel near the ancient bridge of Seaton by St. Machar, in the ninth century, called the Kirktown of Seaton, but was undistinguished by any event of importance, till the year 1137, when it became the seat of a diocese, on the removal of the see of Aberdeen. The church was formerly an elegant structure, of which the choir, with its embellishments, was destroyed by the reformers; and the remainder of the building was preserved from demolition only by the Earl of Huntly, and Leslie, of Balquhan, who, at the head of a large body of their armed retainers, drove away the band which had been assembled for its destruction. The portion of the building appropriated as the parish church, is neatly fitted up, and contains 1594 sittings; the chapel in King's College contains 350 sittings. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church.
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.
Here is a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Old Machar, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:
|| FHL Film Number
|| Surname Indexes|
|| 6086502 (12 fiche)|
The 1901 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, 1841-1901, 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.
The Established Church of Scotland was Presbyterian. Read more about church records.
Here are the pre-1855 records that exist for this parish, with their Family History Library film numbers.
Established Church—Old Parochial Registers
|Record Type||Years Covered||FHL Film Number|
|1820-1854 - index||0991251|
|1820-1854 - index||0991251|
|1772- January 1855||0991251|
|1820-1854 - index||0991251|
|1837-1852 -register of neglected entries||0991251|
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. The records may be indexed in the International Genealogical Index.
Births: This record appears to have been kept with regularity throughout, and there is an appendix or supplement containing entries that were neglected to be made at the proper time, which seems to have been commenced about 1806. The dates embraced range from 1776 to 1854, inclusive. The entries bear the dates of and the authority for registration. Those made during 1855, under section 1 of the original Act, extend to 148 pages of the register.
Marriages: Records are blank October 1636–April 1638, and February 1731–April 1744.
Deaths: Records are burials which are blank September 1671–March 1673.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.
Monumental Inscriptions: FHL Book 941.25/O1 V3m; also some on film # 0196783 item 1.
Established Church—Kirk Session Records
The Kirk session was the court of the parish. The session was made up of the 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:
Extracts from Minutes 1621–1758
Note: Printed in Records of Old Aberdeen, by A.M.Minro, FHL 941.25/A1 N2m vol. 2
Minutes 1621–1763, 1789–1907
Collections 1621–1638, 1690–1720
Note: These records, National Archives of Scotland record CH2/1020, have been returned to the parish.
Communion Roll 1853–1903
Note: Available at the New Register House, Edinburgh, record CH2/715.
Treasurer’s Minutes 1829–1842
Seat Rent Books 1844–1846
Manager’s Minutes 1829–1842, 1845–1876
Other post-1855 records are also available.
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/777.
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.
Old Machar Free Church
Those in this parish who at the Disruption adhered to the Free Church formed a congregation, and the charge was sanctioned in 1844. The congregation worshiped in temporary premises until the new church was opened in July 1846. A manse also was provided. The proximity of the Cathedral and King’s College Chapel was against the development of the congregation.
Membership: 1848, 259; 1900, 164.
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.
Baptisms and Marriages 1843–1943 with index
Note: Available at the Aberdeen and North East Scotland Family History Society Shop, 158–164 King St., Aberdeen AB24 5BD, Scotland; Tel: 011–44–1224–646323.
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.
Town of Aberdeen
A map of the Town of Aberdeen from a survey taken in 1789 can be found here.
A map of the parish of Old Machar from a survey taken in 1864 can be found here.
Old Machar 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.
The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Aberdeen. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place' 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: 19 June 2014.
Return to Aberdeenshire parish list.