Robbs in the 1696 Poll Books for Insch, Culsalmond and Rayne

Having failed to find any Robbs in the Auchterless Poll Book, I looked in the records for neighbouring parishes. In New Rayne we find John Rob, a tailor, and his wife, together with George Rob, their son. In Knockenbaird in Insch, on lands belonging to Count Leslie (presumably of Balquhain), there is an Elspet Rob managed to Hierom Gibb, a cooper. In nearby Greinhall, also Leslie property, we find an Alexander Rob. Just across the parish border, at Brankanenhum in the parish of Culsalmond, John Robb is mentioned as a tenant; while not far away at ‘Moss Syde of Polwhit’ is one Alexander Rob, a grassman. Both of these properties were owned by Alexander Davidson of ‘Newtoune’.

Could either of the Alexander Robs mentioned here be the Alexander Rob senior living at Badenscoth half a century or so later? How easy was it for farm tenants and workers to move between parishes, and could a ‘grassman’ become a tenant, or have sons who were tenants?

Of course, the Robs of Badenscoth/Logie Newton, etc might have moved to Auchterless from much further afield. If any of them were Episcopalians, it will be difficult to track down details of their marriages and baptisms. Records of land ownership and tenancies may be the best hope of breaking through this particular brick wall.

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