Exploring the Ancient History to Finding Scottish Ancestral Connections in Royal Deeside


Kinord Celtic Cross, Muir of Dinnet - Photography by Jim Henderson of CrookTree

The present landscape of Royal Deeside has been formed by several hundred generations of hunters, herdsmen, farmers and foresters. Traces of some of their houses, farms, religious sites or burial monuments survive beside more recent features such as castles, industrial sites, kirks or military installations from the last war.

The area is rich in prehistory with megalithic sites, notable from the earliest period of recorded history as well as several Roman sites. Evidence of ancient Stone Age and Pictish inhabitants abounds, especially near Loch Kinord. 


Aberdeenshire's Pictish Stone Trail

The Picts were a tribal grouping of people who lived in eastern and northern Scotland during the late Iron Age and Early Medieval periods.

Although not directly in Royal Deeside, it is still interesting to note that the Picts took part in one of the most decisive battles in Scottish history - the Battle of (Dunnichen). If the Picts had lost, Scotland might never have existed!

The Picts are best represented in Scotland by their characteristic art, expressed in powerful animal and geometric symbols carved on large stones, cave walls, metalwork and bones and pebbles.

The animals, apart from the possibly mythological beasts, are all clearly represented and are animals, which would have been seen in daily Pictish life.

Some of the symbols may show objects also in daily use such as mirrors and combs, bronze armlets and collars, or ring-handled cauldrons.

The common "V" and "Z" rods represent broken arrows and spears.

The symbols, although originating in a pre-Christian basically prehistoric society, continued in use after the Picts were converted to Christianity.

The area have many fascinating archaeological wonders to find, including Stone Circles, Round Burial Cairns, Clava Cairns, Long Cairns, Pictish Symbol Stones, Hill Forts, and Settlements.

Aberdeenshire's Stone Circle Trail

Did you know that an estimated that approximately 50 million people around the world have Scottish ancestry, with the largest volume in North America and in other parts of the UK. Genealogy - or family history - is one of the world’s fastest growing hobbies.

Aberdeen City & Aberdeenshire Archives found at #Aberdeen #TownHouse hold the oldest and most complete collection of burgh records in Scotland, dating back to 1398, which were recognised by UNESCO in 2013 as being of outstanding historical importance to the United Kingdom.

Find out more at www.northeastscotlandroots.com


Ballater History Group

The desire to research Scottish roots and ancestry is particularly high in places where these Scots settled between the 18th and 20th centuries.

Many of these people claim to be able to trace Scottish ancestry back five generations or more, with many people in North America and Australasia have roots going back to one of Scotland’s great clans or families. 

Braemar Media capturing Auchtavan, Glen Fearder in Deeside, Scotland

The clan system was the main political system in Scotland until the time of the battle of Culloden in 1746. The Highland Clearances eventually saw the end of the clan system, with thousands of Scots emigrating to the New World, seeking a better life, new work opportunities and improved wages. 

For some, this was to the United States, or destinations across Canada and Australia. Others were transported to the Americas and Australia on convict ships between the 17th and 19th centuries, and settled there once they had served their sentences.

Many place names today are testament to the sheer numbers of these Scottish migrants and their successful integration into their new lives.

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Here's a fun fact to finish with...

Did you know there are actually 30 places in the world called Aberdeen, 21 Balmorals and 7 Braemars!

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