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Location of Aberlour Parish

See the Maps Section below for links to a fully-detailed version of this location plan.

"The ancient name of this parish was Skirdustan, so called from its tutelary saint, Dustan. Its modern name is Aberlour, derived from its local situation; being situated at the mouth of a noisy burn, where it discharges itself into the Spey. It lies in the western part of the county of Banff, about 20 computed miles W. of the county-town, 10 S. of Elgin, and 12 S.E. of Forres. It gives name to the presbytery to which it belongs, being the presbytery-seat; and pertains to the Synod of Murray. The figure of the parish resembles a wedge, being broader at the west end, and growing gradually narrower towards the E. Its length from E. to W. is about 6 Scotch miles; its breadth from S. to N. at the west end, about 5 Scotch miles; about the middle, between 2 and 3, but at the east end it will not exceed an English mile. It is bounded on the S. and S.E. by the parish of Boharm, from which it is divided by a small river called Fiddich; on the N. by the parish of Rothes, from which it is separated by the river Spey; on the N.W. by the parish of Knockandow, from which it is also separated by the river Spey; and on the W. and S. W. by the parish of Inveraven, from which it is divided by a hill called the Drum of Carron, the small water of Tarvey, and the hill of Allachoynachan, upon which the battle between the Earls of Argyle and Huntly, commonly called the battle of Glenlivat, was fought." From The Statistical Account for Scotland, 1791-1799 Volume XVI, Banffshire, Moray & Nairnshire.


Pre-1855 Monumental Inscriptions for St Durstan, Aberlour are included in the volume "Speyside Monumental Inscriptions" published by the Scottish Genealogy Society .

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Aberdeen And North-East Scotland FHS (ANESFHS) have published a name Index to the 1851 Census for Banffshire. Aberlour (together with Mortlach and Cabrach) is published as code AA217.

ANESFHS also hold unpublished indexes and transcriptions of the 1861 Census for most Banffshire parishes (including Aberlour).

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Church Records

Kirk of Scotland
Kirk Session Records

Kirk Session records generally include records of Discipline, which often include information on illegitimate births, and Accounts, which may mention persons on Poor Relief. The surviving Aberlour Kirk Session records are listed on a separate webpage.

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Description and Travel

A transcript of Parish of Aberlour by the Rev. Mr. James Thomson

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There is a wide range of maps available for Aberlour, historical and modern, on paper and online. Many ancient placenames continue in use, and will therefore appear on modern maps, but as parishes ceased to be of any significance for Local Government in Scotland in 1976, parish boundaries will be found only on historical maps.

Maps on Paper
Maps Online

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Names, Geographical

You can view a comprehensive Gazetteer list for Aberlour including placenames culled from the Ordnance Survey "Explorer" (1:25000) map, the 1896 Ordnance Survey 1" map, the 1841, 1861 and 1881 Census and Thomson's "Atlas of Scotland" (1832).

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Poorhouses, Poor Law etc

Under the "Poor Law Amendment Act, Scotland" (1845) responsibility for Poor Relief was taken from the Parishes of the Kirk of Scotland, and vested in new Parochial Boards, whose territories largely coincided with the old parishes. The Parochial Boards were not (as in England) grouped into Poor Law Unions, and there were few Poorhouses outside the cities and large towns.

Day-to-day administration of the Poor Law was in the hands of the Inspector of the Poor for each parish, and these Inspectors were obliged by law to maintain detailed records of applications and of relief supplied. The most valuable of these are the "Record of Applications" and the "General Register of the Poor". The "Minutes" are very variable, but on occasion can also contain information on named individuals.

The following Poor Law records have survived for the Parish of Aberlour:

These are held by Aberdeen City Archives. The records are available for viewing, subject to the 100-year rule.
Items marked * are included in a name index compiled by Aberdeen And North-East Scotland FHS (ANESFHS), and held by both ANESFHS and Aberdeen City Archives.

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[Last updated: 29 August 2010, Gavin Bell]

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