This month, we have the 1839 Aberdeen Almanacc courtesy of genealogy suppliers my-history.co.uk. Essentially an early directory, most of its 300+ pages list people holding an office or following a trade. It has fascinating details of everyday life from principal fairs to postmasters and stage coach times. It lists nobility, clergy, MPs, military officers and more, inhabitants of Aberdeen, plus the counties of Banff, Elgin or Moray and Kincardine
While the burgh records form one of Ruaraidh’s favourite record sets, he also has another clear favourite collection from the county at large. “Our assessed taxes records for north Aberdeenshire are some of the most complete in Scotland, with a large collection from 1799 to 1832, at which point the taxesta were effectively scrapped.
We have an extensive run of r ecords documenting window ta ax payments, horse taxes, dog ta axes, clock taxes and various others.o As well as listing those li iable to taxation, they often containc some extraordinary details,d such as whether people werew using hair powder or not!”
Although a name-rich source forfo genealogists, the potential forfo local history research from th he records is also something forfo which Ruaraidh is a keen advocate.a “When you look at th he bigger picture from what the r ecords reveal, you can see the effectse of industrial boom-andbustb cycles in parts of the county, anda the economic effects of the NapoleonicN Wars, while we can also see how the names of places emerge and evolve over time.”
As well as encouraging people to visit the archives to carry out their research, Ruaraidh also highlights current efforts to form working relationships with the local community at large. In August, the archives signed up to the Scotland’s Urban Past Project ( rcahms.gov.uk/rcahmsprojects/scotlands-urban-past), a five-year initiative launched by Historic Environment Scotland to encourage individuals to help record their built heritage, while another project has been attempting to connect local schools with their early 20thcentury history.
“We have been involved in a project called Hard Vrocht Grun, which provided a series of resource packs designed to help schoolchildren understand the impact of the First World War on north-east Scotland. It was not just about examining who fought and died in the conflict, but also various aspects such as the rituals of remembrance that originated, those who were exempted because of conscientious objection, and to understand issues such as poverty in wartime.”
The resource packs for the project are available online at
A 1930s railway poster advertising the fishing town of Fraserburgh. The railway allowed the town‘s fish to be exported around the globe