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The Abernethy Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: SALUS PER CHRISTUM (Salvation through Christ)

Let me share the intriguing history of your family name, Abernethy. It has uncertain origins, tied to a district in Speyside and a village near Perth. The term ‘Abernethy’ combines ‘Aber,’ meaning ‘mouth of,’ and ‘Nethy,’ a Celtic river name with an elusive origin. It is fascinating to discover that Abernethy was once home to a Pictish royal residence and a Christian settlement around 600 AD.

Abernethy Family History

One of your ancestors, Sir William de Abernethy, was unfortunately implicated in the murder of Duncan, Earl of Fife in 1288, leading to a life sentence in prison.

Abernethy family ancestry history

Another notable figure, William de Abernethy, known as Lord Saltoun, affixed his seal to the historic Declaration of Arbroath in 1320, asserting Scotland’s independence. King David II granted your family the lands of Rothiemay. The last Abernethy Lord Saltoun, Margaret, became the heiress and married Sir Alexander Fraser of Philorth. Eventually, the main Abernethy family merged into Clan Fraser, and their son was officially recognized as Lord Saltoun by Parliament in 1669.

It is interesting to note that the Abernethy coat of arms is now quartered alongside those of Fraser in the heraldry of the present Fraser chief, Lady Saltoun. According to eighteenth-century heraldic authority Alexander Nisbet, the primary cadet branch was Abernethy of Auchnacloich. Throughout the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, individuals bearing the Abernethy name were deeply involved in religious conflicts. John Abernethy, who served as the minister of Jedburgh, was appointed Bishop of Caithness in 1616. However, he was later removed from his position in 1638 when the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland rejected episcopacy, leading to the First Bishop’s War the following year.

Abernethy Family History Battle

William Abernethy Drummond (1720-1809), descended from the Abernethy of Saltoun family, rose to become the Episcopal bishop of Edinburgh and Glasgow in 1787.

On the other hand, some Abernethy family members pursued careers as Presbyterian clerics. John Abernethy (1680-1740), whose father was a Presbyterian minister forced out of the church in Minterburn in 1661, migrated to Ireland during the Cromwellian period. John Abernethy gained recognition as a prominent dissenting preacher, theologian, and a vocal opponent of Jonathan Swift through his pamphlets. His grandson, also named John Abernethy, achieved fame as a renowned London surgeon and esteemed doctor within high society. Notably, he was known for his direct manner with aristocratic patients and took an early stance against vivisection in the medical field.

Your family history, the Abernethys, is filled with diverse and influential individuals, spanning from historical events to religious conflicts, and leaving their mark in various fields of expertise.

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Family Crest Motto: SALUS PER CHRISTUM (Salvation through Christ)

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