Archiver > ABERDEEN > 2009-08 > 1249534502

From: "Bobbie and Brian Amyes" <>
Subject: Re: [ABERDEEN] SMITH family New Pitsligo Aberdeenshire
Date: Thu, 6 Aug 2009 16:55:02 +1200
References: <8CBE211138E0F1A-1428-717D@WEBMAIL-DF03.sysops.aol.com> <4A76A820.1040700@which.net><8CBE396684A76B2-B84-15BB@webmail-md19.sysops.aol.com> <4A793F9B.8030509@blueyonder.co.uk><A495B11346F64EDD83C96A56079AB00A@LENOVO53E5F674><4A79B000.4080708@which.net>

Hi Gavin
Your reply to Keith suggests that the houses would be of better quality than
he has assumed. As my ancestors were at Slacks of Cairnbanno, New Deer in
1841and 1851 census and there is only one house there now, a two storeyed
one, and piles of out-building like Keith described, are there any photos in
ANESFHS magazines of what cottages might have looked like on farms at that
time. I have seen the family house [1851census] in South Street, Mintlaw but
that is in a village. How would farm cottages have differed?
Bobbie here in New Zealand

----- Original Message -----
From: "Gavin Bell" <>
To: <>
Sent: Thursday, August 06, 2009 4:14 AM
Subject: Re: [ABERDEEN] SMITH family New Pitsligo Aberdeenshire

>M Keith Abel wrote:
>>.... Moreover to compound the confusion, census returns will list
>>several unconnected people and families as living in the same house.
>>I remember when I visited Inverurie, a very kind person from the library
>>undertook to drive my wife and I around to the places where my ancestors
>>lived, the school my grandfather attended, the manor house I was named
>>after. It was a thrill to visit "Burnhead", the house my great
>>Peter Abel rented. I asked our guide about the several unconnected
>>listed in the censuses who also lived there since it was obvious that the
>>tiny cottage could scarcely have contained great grandfather's large
>>let alone all those other people. She pointed out the row of sheds out
>>behind the house that I had taken to be storage buildings, chicken coops
>>etc. These "dwellings" were built of stone about 10 feet square with a
>>"leanto" roof, no window, a door that consisted of a rectangular hole in
>>wall and a hole in the roof to let the smoke out from a fire built on the
>>ground in one corner. There was no evidence that a wooden door had ever
>>installed in the doorway ....
> I think the situation is sometimes more complicated. When you find 5
> households with the same address, it certainly does not mean that 5
> families were living crammed into a single cottage. But nor does it
> ncessarily mean that that there was one family in the cottage, and the
> other 4 lived in outhouses.
> What often happened was that several different houses (none of them
> palatial, certainly, but probably none of them quite so squalid as you
> suggest) actually shared the one placename. Sometimes this is made
> clear by the name itself - "Burnside Crofts" or "Cottown of X" makes it
> clear that there was more than one dwelling. But if you examine a
> large-scale OS map from the 1860s you will very often see that a group
> of what are quite obviously separate buildings have just a single
> placename attached to them.
> And the buildings that you find above ground today are no very reliable
> guide to what was there 50 or 100 years ago. Since the later 19th
> century, increasing mechanisation has meant that fewer workers were
> required on the land, so fewer houses were needed, and many have become
> ruinous or been bulldozed - but their names are probably perpetuated in
> newer buildings.
> If your ancestors were enumerated in the Census from 1861 to 1881 you
> can get some sort of handle on the conditions they lived in because one
> of the questions asked for the number of rooms with windows inhabited by
> the household. I think this was mainly intended to quantify the
> horrendous conditions of some families in urban areas, who were indeed
> crammed into cellars with no windows, so I would be surprised if in the
> countryside you could substantiate, from the Census data, many instances
> of the sort of "black holes" you suggest above.
> You don't say when your ancestor was at Burnhead, but an analysis of the
> 1871 Census published shortly after it was taken stated that in the
> parish of Inverurie (including the town) there were 714 housholds who
> had, between them, 2133 rooms with windows, or 3 per household. A
> similar ratio applied in other parishes, and while we would nowadays not
> be content with such a meagre allowance of light and air, it does rather
> suggest to me that what you saw were actually outhouses, not dwellings.
> Gavin Bell
> -------------------------------
> To unsubscribe from the list, please send an email to
> with the word 'unsubscribe' without the
> quotes in the subject and the body of the message

This thread: