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Help and advice for St Fergus

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St Fergus

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"FERGUS, ST., a parish, in the county of BANFF, 5 miles (N. N. W.) from Peterhead; containing 1391 inhabitants. This parish which is locally situated in Aberdeenshire, was formerly called Langley. . . The Parish is five and a half miles in extreme length, and its greatest breadth is three and a half miles; it contains 7878 acres, and is bounded on the south by the river Ugie, and on the east by the German Ocean. The shore is marked only by one point of any note, called Scotstown Craig, the beach being generally low and sandy; but at a small distance from the coast, a line of hills runs along, covered with a thick bed of drifted sand, overgrown with grass, and which divides the shore from the interior land and forms a natural and efficient rampart against the drifting of the sands into the country by the violence of the east wind. ... The only high land approximating to the character of an eminence is the Castle hill, in the vicinity of Inverugie Castle. The climate, on account of the exposure to the sea, is cold, and the impervious character of the subsoil renders it damp; yet it is not found to be unhealthy. There are some good springs in the lower lands which yield a constant supply of water; but in the upper part a drought sometimes occurs. especially in the hot summer months." [From: Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846).]

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Cemeteries

Draft Monumental Inscriptions for St Fergus are held by Aberdeen And North-East Scotland FHS (ANESFHS) Members may request a lookup.

Churches

Presbyterian / Unitarian
St Fergus, Church of Scotland

You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the St Fergus area or see them printed on a map.

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Church Records

Kirk of Scotland
  • OPRs held by the General Register Office, Scotland.
    GROS Baptism Marriage Death
    166/1 1688-1768 1783-1819 1783-1819
    166/2 1769-1819 -  
    166/3 1688-1819 -  
    166/4 1819-54 1820-54 1820-54
  • LDS Film numbers:
    Baptisms Marriages Deaths
    6902589(2) 6902590 -
  • Batch numbers (for FamilySearch)
    Baptisms (C) Marriages (M)
    C111661
    C111662
    C111663
    C111664
    M111661
    M111662
    M111664
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 St Fergus Kirk Session records are listed on a separate webpage.

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Description and Travel

"A strong natural rampart of closely connected clay hills, elevated by the accumulation of drift sand, and thickly covered with bent grass, divides the shore from the land ... Along this line, but of various breadth, runs a plain of the finest downs or links perhaps anywhere in Scotland, affording excellent pasture for sheep and young cattle, and capital ground for the golf-player, though perhaps rather too level for the lovers of a hazardous game. The lower part of the parish, to the extent of a mile from the shore, presents a flat appearance, from whence it gradually rises in elevation towards the western extremity, with many beautiful undulations."
Rev. James Anderson, writing in the "New Statistical Account" in 1840

You can see pictures of St Fergus which are provided by:

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Gazetteers

Ask for a calculation of the distance from St Fergus to another place.

Click here for a list of nearby places.

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Historical Geography

"This parish was formerly named Langley, and originally Inverugie. It assumed its present designation in 1616; ... it belongs to the County of Banff, to which it was annexed at a very early period through the influence of the Cheynes, the ancient proprietors, who, being the hereditary Sheriffs of Banff, were naturally very desirous to have their own domains placed under their own jurisdiction." - Rev. James Anderson, writing in the "New Statistical Account" in 1840.

Being a "detached part" of lying some 20 miles away from the Banffshire "mainland", St Fergus represented one of the largest of the anomalies which were corrected on 1st May, 1891, but it was a quite straightforward one. Up until that date, the entire parish belonged to Banffshire; after that date, the entire parish belonged to Aberdeenshire. But (perhaps because it was such a large anomaly) different records for St Fergus are liable to appear under either Aberdeenshire or Banffshire.

You can view here a comprehensive Gazetteer list for St Fergus.

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Names, Geographical

Until 1st May, 1891,St Fergus belonged to Banffshire; thereafter it belonged to Aberdeenshire. You can view a comprehensive Gazetteer list for St Fergus including placenames culled from the Ordnance Survey "Explorer" (1:25000) map, the 1876 Ordnance Survey 1" map, the 1841, 1851, 1861 and 1881 Census and Thomson's "Atlas of Scotland" (1832).

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Poor Houses, 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 St Fergus:

  • General Register of the Poor 1865-1927*
  • Minutes

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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Population

  • according to New Statistical Account:
    Year 1755 1775 1801 1811 1821 1831
    Population 1271 1254 1270 1378 1356 1334
  • according to Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland (1895):
    Year 1801 1831 1861 1871 1881 1891
    Population 1270 1334 1608 1633 1527 1318

Societies

You can also see Family History Societies covering the nearby area, plotted on a map. This facility is being developed, and is awaiting societies to enter information about the places they cover.