Robbs of Auchterless: possible origins

I’m working on the assumption that the Robbs whose marriages took place in Auchterless between about 1742 and 1762 are related to each other, and might even be brothers and sisters. Here’s a complete list of their marriage dates:

John: 1742 / 1749

Alexander: 1743

Margaret: 1745

James: 1750

Helen: 1750 / 1757

Isobel: 1753

Elspet: 1756

Janet:            1756

George: 1762

I’ve also assumed that, given these dates, they must have been born some time between about 1710 and 1735. As I’ve mentioned before, there are no records of any Robb births in Auchterless in the Old Parish Registers for this period. It’s possible they were baptised in an Episcopalian chapel, but there are two problems with this. Firstly, if that’s the case, why do we suddenly find their marriages and baptisms in the Church of Scotland records from the 1740s onwards? (Unless, of course, there was a reason for switching religious allegiance – perhaps connected to the aftermath of the 1715 Jacobite rebellion? – that I’m missing.) And secondly, we know from the Poll Book that there were no Robbs in Auchterless at the turn of the 17th/18th centuries. So the assumption has to be that the family moved to the parish from elsewhere, some time before the 1740s.

I’ve searched the OPRs for births throughout Aberdeenshire for all of this generation of Auchterless Robbs, in an attempt to find a likely place of origin. In an attempt to impose some order on the data, I’m only listing here those parishes where two or more of the names occur:

DRUMOAK

PARENT: ALEXANDER ROBB

Alexander Robb            16/10/1706

John Robb             7/6/1719

Margaret Robb     31/5/1721

George Robb            1/10/1726

 

PARENT: JAMES ROBB

Alexander Robb            23/9/1724

Helen Robb             10/11/1728

 

PETERHEAD

PARENT: ALEXANDER ROBB

John Robb            23/6/1706

Isobel Robb          22/2/1712

Elspet Robb            6/10/1728

PARENT: WILLIAM ROBB

Elspet Robb    10/8/1735

Janet Robb     19/6/1739

Isobel Robb     31/8/1740

PARENT: CHARLES ROBB

James Robb            8/12/1719

RATHEN

PARENT: GEORGE ROBB

James Robb     10/4/1715

Alexander Robb    24/5/1716

PARENT: THOMAS ROBB

Alexander Robb   4/8/1717

PARENT: ALEXANDER ROBB

George Robb    8/6/1718

RAYNE

PARENT: JAMES ROBB

John Robb             3/8/1711

Helen Robb             10/7/1720

PETERCULTER

PARENT: THOMAS ROBB

John Robb  14/9/1702

PARENT: JOHN ROBB

John Robb    5/7/1705

PARENT: GILBERT ROBB

John Robb    3/9/1706

PARENT: ALEXANDER ROBB

Alexander Robb   19/7/1713

ELLON

PARENT: GEORGE ROBB

George Robb    30/8/1719

PARENT: GILBERT ROBB

John Robb    15/2/1722

George Robb   7/7/1724

LONGSIDE

PARENT: JAMES ROBB

Alexander Robb 16/10/1706

PARENT: CHARLES ROBB

Janet Robb              16/2/1726

SLAINS

PARENT: GEORGE ROBB

Elspet Robb 7/4/1711

PARENT: WILLIAM ROBB

John Robb  18/4/1713

As you can see from this, there’s no single parish, or parent, that can be matched with all the names listed. Alexander Robb of Drumoak has the most names that match ‘our’ Robbs, though the dates, particularly the birth of his son Alexander, seem a little too early. There’s another promising grouping in Peterhead, though again the dates don’t quite match.

The only person in this list for whom we have a rough date  of birth is Alexander Robb, who married Mary Raeburn in 1743. If the inscription on his tombstone in Auchterless kirkyard is to be believed, then he was born around 1714. The closest match to this is the son of Alexander Robb of Peterculter, who was born in 1713, followed by the sons of George Robb and Thomas Robb, both of Rathen (births in 1716 and 1717 respectively).

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One Response to Robbs of Auchterless: possible origins

  1. Raymond Kelman says:

    Hi I have a connection through Gilbert Rob married to Isabel Chalmer their daughter Janet married John Kelman

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