Why did your Ancestors settle in Aberdeen

Old Aberdeen

Old Parish Records

OPR's began in Aberdeen in 1563 which was one of the earliest. Aberdeen is Parish no 168 in the County of Aberdeen.

The Name

Aber and Da-aevi means the 'Mouth of two rivers'. In gaelic the name is 'Obar Dheathain' and the Romans referred to it as Devana in Latin. Medieval times called it Aberdonia.

The Early Years

In the Middle Ages the people of Aberdeen, some of which had arrived from Flanders in Belgium, lived by fishing, by weaving and dying wool or by working leather (some of them were skinners, tanners, glovers and saddlers).

Several new buildings were erected in Aberdeen in the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1542 a blockhouse (fort) was built to protect the tidal harbour. In 1607 a bulwark was built in the harbour and this meant that the tidal waters deepened making it an important Port which was further enhanced in 1618 when a large rock was removed from the entrance.

The 13th September 1644 saw the Battle of Aberdeen between Royalists and Covenanters. The city was plundered by both sides during the ensuing three years. In 1647 more than a quarter of the population were killed by an outbreak of the Bubonic Plague.

The 1700 and 1800s

Aberdeen was further enhanced in 1741 with the building of a hospital and in 1743 'Robert Gordon' left money in his will to build a school for boys turning into the Robert Gordon's Institute in 1745.

Towards the end of the 1700s Aberdeen's linen's industries thrived and whaling grew with Aberdonians sailing to Iceland and coming back with blubber which lit the street lights. Both these industries declined in the early 1800s as the linen industry moved closer to the coal fields and gas light took over from whale blubber for the street lighting.

The 1800s saw granite being exported to the USA with ship building booming.

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