Watkins Family

The Watkins family in Aberdeen began in 1798 with the marriage of James Watkins to Jean Stevenson of Spital, Old Aberdeen. Their son Alexander (1802-1873) became a wealthy linen manufacturer, and had thirteen children from two marriages: after the death of his first wife, Mary Gray, he married her sister Jessie Gray (1824-1892). George Edwards Gray Watkins (1853-1913) was the eldest of Alexander and Jessie's children, and the only one to remain in Aberdeen after the bankruptcy of the family business which was run by two of his half-brothers after their father's retirement.

The first member of the Watkins family to leave Aberdeen was Alexander's brother James (1807-1856) who emigrated to Livonia, Michigan, USA in the 1830s. After Alexander died Jessie left Aberdeen for Christchurch, New Zealand, as did all her children except George.

George became superintendent engineer of the Aberdeen Waterworks at Cults. He married Isabella Mcleod Turner in 1877 and had 11 children, including William Smith Watkins, who went to Canada. George and Isabella's youngest son was Alexander William Dalgety Watkins who married Elsie Fraser. Alexander and Elsie were my grandparents.

On the left are the names of family members who left Aberdeen during the nineteenth or early twentieth centuries, or who had descendents who did so.

Union Bridge

This photograph shows a modern view of Aberdeen, from Union Bridge looking towards Broadford, where Alexander and other members of the family lived and established businesses. Alexander began his career in linen manufacture at Broadford Works in the 1820s. Aberdeen Post Office directories for the late 1860s included entries for Watkins Buildings at North Broadford.

135 Spital, Old Aberdeen

The photograph above shows 135 Spital, Old Aberdeen in June 2000. In the 1870s it was number 69, the home of George and Isabella Watkins.