Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy


Family History Resources in Special Libraries and Archives-Aberdeen University

Family History Resources in Special Libraries and Archives Michelle Gait, June 2004 FS SGC11 Special Libraries and Archives King’s College, Aberdeen, AB24 3SW Tel. (01224) 272598 Fax. (01224) 273891 E–mail:

Many of the enquiries we receive are from family historians; we hope that this fact sheet will serve as a guide and introduction to the sources available in Special Libraries and Archives. We are happy to help guide family historians towards relevant material, but regret that we are unable to carry out lengthy searches through our material on their behalf. Family historians and researchers are however always very welcome to visit the department to consult material themselves. A great number of family historians who contact us do so because their ancestor or ancestors may have attended or graduated from the University, and for these enquiries our major source of genealogical information is the University Archive; the institutional records are described in more detail below. However, other information is to be found across a number of our other printed and archival collections. Archive and manuscript sources Family and estate papers

There is a wealth of genealogical material to be found in many of our family and estate and personal papers. For example, lists of tenants, rentals, legal papers, plans, accounts and correspondence, both business and personal. There are descriptive lists to the majority of our archive collections which will help you find the information you are seeking. However, the names of small tenants and farms may not always be listed individually and you may have to carry out a certain amount of research to find the specific information you are seeking. Local Collection and newspapers Whilst we do not have a separate genealogical collection, there is much material within the Local Collection to assist with historical enquiries. The collection includes family histories, town histories, local plans and maps, reports of local institutions, selected publications of the North East of Scotland Family History Society. Spalding Club publications, Statistical Accounts for the north east, and a large section on University history. Also in the Local Collection you will find a number of local newspapers, including the Aberdeen Free Press, the Aberdeen Herald, and a complete run of the Aberdeen Journal, for which there is an index available for the years 1747-1861. Graduates and alumni Students who attended Aberdeen before 1860 attended either King’s College (founded in 1495) or Marischal College (founded in 1593).

These two institutions joined together in the fusion of 1860 to become the University of Aberdeen. If you are searching for an ancestor who may have attended Aberdeen University you may therefore need to check through two, or even all three sets of records. You should note though, that the information recorded in the original registers generally took the form of the students name, dates of attendance and native locale. Occasionally the student’s father’s name and occupation was also recorded. The purpose of the registers was administrative, consequently, they do not contain family or biographical information to any great extent. Information of this nature noted in the printed volumes was gathered from non–university sources. Lists of officers, students and alumni, compiled from extant registers, were published in the nineteenth century and can be consulted in the Reading Room. These are: King’s College − Officers and graduates of University and King’s College Aberdeen MVD-MDCCCLX ed. P.J. Anderson (Aberdeen: New Spalding Club, 1893) − Roll of alumni in arts of the University and King’s College of Aberdeen 1596–1860 ed. P.J. Anderson (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1900)
Marischal College − Fasti Academiae Mariscallanae Aberdonensis: selections from the records of the Marischal College and University MDXCIII-MDCCCLX ed. P. J. Anderson (Aberdeen: Spalding Club, 1898). Vols. 2-3 University of Aberdeen 1860 onwards The printed records for 1860 onwards list graduates only, but often contain more information than the earlier lists. University Calendars, class lists, and for Medical Students, Medical Schedules, can all provide additional information. − Roll of the graduates of the University of Aberdeen 1956–1970, with supplement 1960-1955, compilers Louise Donald & W. S. MacDonald (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1982), also with supplement 1960–1955 − Roll of the graduates of the University of Aberdeen, 1926-1955, with supplement 1860–1925, ed. J. MacKintosh (Aberdeen University Press, 1960) − Roll of the graduates of the University of Aberdeen 1901–1925, with supplement 1860–1900, ed. Theodore Watt (Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press, 1935) − Roll of the graduates of the University of Aberdeen, 1860–1900, ed. William Johnston (Aberdeen, Aberdeen University Press, 1906) Other Useful Resources Family History Society Expert advice on all aspects of genealogy, especially regarding the North-east of Scotland: Aberdeen & NE Scotland Family History Society 164 King Street, Aberdeen, Scotland, AB24 5BD Tel: +44 (0)1224 646323; Fax: +44 (0)1224 639096 A number of genealogical sources are available on the Web, the short list below includes those hosted by Government bodies as well as specialist sites: General Register Office of Scotland (Birth, Death, Marriages) Origins (hosted by the General Register of Scotland) Archives of Scotland (formerly Scottish Records Office) of Scottish Genealogists and Record Agents Research (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter–day Saints) Gateway Genealogy in the UK Genealogy Society – Edinburgh Accounts of Scotland (hosted by the University of Edinburgh) Further Reading These publications, some of which are available in our Reading Room, are useful reading for family historians: Bigwood, Rosemary, Tracing Scottish ancesters: a practical guide to Scottish genealogy (Glasgow, 1999) Cory, Kathleen b., Tracing your Scottish ancestry (Edinburgh, 1990) Diack, H. Lesley North East Roots: a guide to sources (Aberdeen: Aberdeen & north-east Scotland Family History Soc., 1999) Hamilton-Edwards, Gerald, In search of Scottish ancestry (Chichester:, 2nd ed., 1983) Holton, Graham S. & Winch, Jack, My ain folk: an easy guide to Scottish family history (East Linton: Tuckwell Press, 1997) Irvine, Sherry, Your Scottish ancestry: a guide for North Americans (Salt Lake City, 1997) James, Alwyn, Scottish roots (Edinburgh: Saltire Publications, 1995) Moody, David Scottish family history (London: Batsford, 1988) Sinclair, Cecil Tracing your Scottish ancestors: a guide to ancestry research in the Scottish Record Office (Edinburgh: Stationery Office, 1997)

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