Origin, Meaning, Family History and Aberdeen Coat of Arms and Family Crest
Origins of Aberdeen:
According to early recordings of the name, this interesting and unique name is listed with two spellings Aberdeen and Aberdein. This is a Scottish locational surname which does acquire from the city of Aberdeen. Locational surnames by their very nature were given to people after they departed from their original homes and shifted to any other place, although curiously this may not be the case here. One of the easiest forms of surname classification, was and is, to call a person by the name of the place, region, or country from which they originated. In this example, the first name holder, see below, was a merchant who moved between Scotland and France, and while on his way to St Omer in France, was caught by criminals in the north sea, and stripped of his cloth. Other early records include those of Michael de Abirden, a land owner in Berwick in the year 1290, and John de Abirdene was the vicar of Pentland, Scotland, in 1399. Alexander Aberdein was a businessman of Aberdeen in the early part of the 18th century, and after that Jenny Aberdeen was a 20th-century writer who wrote the life of John Galt. The place name is perhaps Olde Gaelic pre 10th century. The origin is from “aber” a river mouth, and denu, a dale or in this example, possibly an inlet. The first known surname record is that of John de Aberdene, trader of Aberdeen, in the year 1272.
More common variations are: Aberden, Aberdein, Aberdien, Oberdeen, Aberdean, Aberdene, Eberdeen, Auberteen, Aberdin, Aberdon
The surname Aberdeen first appeared in the division of Aberdeenshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Obar Dheathain), a historical division, and present day Cabinet Area of Aberdeen, located in the Grampian region of northeastern Scotland. One of the first recordings of the name was John of Aberdene, a dealer of Aberdeen, who was robbed of wool at sea while on a journey from Aberdeen to St. Omer in 1272. A few years later in 1290, Michael de Abirden given land in Berwick.
There has been a human residence in the area of Aberdeen since the Stone Age. Aberdeen as a city grew up as two separate burghs as Old Aberdeen, the University, and Cathedral settlement, at the mouth of the River Don and New Aberdeen, a fishing and trading village where the Denburn entered the Dee water.
Many of the people with surname Aberdeen had moved to Ireland during the 17th century.
Some of the population with the surname Aberdeen who arrived in New Zealand in the 19th century included John Aberdeen landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1843.
Here is the population distribution of the last name Aberdeen: Trinidad and Tobago 400; England 280; United States 279; Scotland 223; Canada 181; Australia 117; South Africa 110; Grenada 95; New Zealand 33; Guyana 8.
Aberdeen Coat of Arms Meaning
The three main devices (symbols) in the Aberdeen blazon are the mullet, chevron and annulet. The three main tinctures (colors) are gules, argent and or .
The bold red colour on a heraldic shield is known as gules. It has a long history within heraldry, it is known that one of those who besieged the scottish castle of Carlaverock in 1300 was the French knight Euremions de la Brette who had as his arms a simple red shield.1The Siege of Carlaverock, N. Harris, Nichols & Son, London, 1828, P180. The word gules is thought to come from the Arabic gule, or “red rose” 2Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 313. Later writers associated it with the precious stone ruby and the metal iron 3Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53, perhaps because of the red glow of iron in the heat of the blacksmith’s forge.
Argent is the heraldic metal Silver and is usually shown as very pure white. It is also known more poetically as pearl, moon (or luna) 4Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53. In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper 5A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1847, P11.
Or is the heraldic metal Gold, often shown as a bold, bright yellow colour. It is said to show “Generosity and elevation of the mind” 6The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35. Later heralds, of a more poetic nature liked to refer to it as Topaz, after the gemstone, and, for obvious reasons associated it with the Sun 7Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P53. In drawings without colour it is usually represented by many small dots, or by the letter ‘O’ 8A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P76-77.
The heraldic mullet, not to be confused with the fish of that name, is shown as a regular, five pointed star. This was originally, not an astronomical object, but represented the spur on a horseman’s boot, especially when peirced, with a small circular hole in the centre it represents a type of spur known as a “rowel” 9Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 97. A clear example can be found in the arms of Harpendene, argent, a mullet pierced gules. The ancient writer Guillim associated such spurs in gold as belonging to the Knight, and the silver to their esquires 10A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, P107. In later years, Wade linked this five pointed star with the true celestial object, the estoile and termed it a “falling star”, symbolising a “divine quality bestowed from above” 11The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P105.
The chevron is one the major shapes used upon a shield, known as ordinaries. The inverted ‘V’ of the chevron is perhaps thought to have originated to represent a military scarf folded on the shield 12A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, (various), or additional cross-pieces used to strengthen the shield and painted a different colour.13The Pursuivant of Arms, J. R. Planche, Hardwicke, London 1859. It has also acquired the meaning of “Protection… granted… to one who has achieved some notable enterprise” 14The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P45, possibly becuase of its resemblance to the roof truss of a house.
For easy recognition of the items on a coat of arms, and hence the quick identification of the owner, bold simple shapes are best. Hence, simple geometric shapes are often used for this purpose 15A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P146xz`, and the annulet is a good example, being a circular ring of any colour. They also appear interlaced or one within the other, both of which are very pleasing additions. Wade believes that these were one of the symbols of ancient pilgrims. 16The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P19