The Robb women (sisters?) of Auchterless

There’s something inherently sexist about the whole family history business. Since surnames are carried by the male line (in this country, at least), it’s the men that we focus on when attempting to trace our families back through time. I’ve as guilty as anyone of this, as my analysis of the Robbs of 18th century Auchterless demonstrates. I’ve written little, so far, about the female members of the family. However, pragmatism (my yearning to find out how these Robbs are related to each other, and where they came from) as much as principle has made me turn my attention to the Robb women.

The Old Parish Registers for the early and mid 18th century record the marriages of a number of women whose maiden name was Robb, as follows:

1745 Margaret Robb marries George Maitland

1750 Helen Robb marries John Sandyson

1753  Isobel Robb marries Robert Simpson

1756 Elspet Robb marries James Mackrobb

         Janet Robb marries George Hall 

1757Helen Robb marries Alexander Chapman

Note that the dates of these marriages occur at around the same period as those of Alexander, James, John and George Robb. So these women are at the very least of the same generation as these men, and may even be their sisters.

I’ve already written about Margaret Robb and George Maitland in the previous post.

Helen Robb married John Sandyson on 9th August 1750. It’s unclear how many children they had: a son William was born to a John Sandyson in 1747, then James in 1751. One of the witnesses at the baptism of the latter was Alexander Robb in Mains of Badenscoth, and John Sandyson was said to be living at Bruckhills.

There are no further records of this particular family, but in 1757 a Helen Robb marries an Alexander Chapman: I wonder if John, her first husband, died and this was a second marriage? Alexander also lived at Bruckhills. He may have had as many as 7 children. For the baptism of one of them – Peter, in 1758 – James Robb of Bruckhills was a witness.

Isobel Robb married Robert Sim(p)son of Darley in 1753, and they had at least two children: Margaret (1755) and James (1757).

Elspet Robb married James Mackrobb in 1756 and there is a record of one child, Margaret, being in born in 1761, at Redhill.

Also in 1756, Janet Robb married George Hall of Upper Gariochsford in the parish of Forgue (but very close to Thorneybank and Hassiewells, and not at all far from Logie Newton), and they had a number of children.

As with the Robb men of the same generation, there are no records of any of these women being born in Auchterless. I’m currently trying to identify an Alexander Robb elsewhere in Aberdeenshire who may have had children, around the 1720s and 1730s, with any or all of these names: Alexander, James, John, George, Helen, Isobel, Margaret, Elspet, Janet.

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