This surname ABIRDEEN is of local origin from the burgh of the same name. The earliest of the name on record appears to be John of Aberdene, merchant of Aberdeen, who was robbed of wool at sea while on a voyage from Scotland to St. Omer in 1272. In 1290 Michael de Abirden held land in Waldefgate in Berwick, and Henry of Aberdeen was clerk to John, King of Scots in 1295. John de Abirdene was vicar of Pentcatland in 1399. Alba, the country which became Scotland, was once shared by four races; the Picts who controlled most of the land north of the Central Belt; the Britons, who had their capital at Dumbarton and held sway over the south west, including modern Cumbria; the Angles, who were Germanic in origin and annexed much of the Eastern Borders in the seventh century, and the Scots. The latter came to Alba from the north of Ireland late in the 5th century to establish a colony in present day Argyll, which they named Dalriada, after their homeland. The Latin name SCOTTI simply means a Gaelic speaker. Later instances of the name mention Alexander Aberdeen, who was a merchant in Edinbugh in 1722. Jennie W Aberdein wrote 'The Life of John Galt' in 1936. During the Middle Ages, when people were unable to read or write, signs were needed for all visual identification. For several centuries city streets in Britain were filled with signs of all kinds, public houses, tradesmen and even private householders found them necessary. This was an age when there were no numbered houses, and an address was a descriptive phrase that made use of a convenient landmark. At this time, coats of arms came into being, for the practical reason that men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way. Most of the European surnames were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name.
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