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Forbes History Reference Library

The Clan Forbes Society maintains an extensive library of reference books on the history of Scotland and its clans and families. The Society is using these primary sources for researching and writing the upcoming book House of Forbes: Heritage and Lineage, an update and expansion of the 1937 book House of Forbes. These books in the public domain are all in portable document formats (PDFs). The documents are available only to current Active Members of the Society.

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Aberdeen Fifty Years Ago

1868 - Lewis Smith

Full title: "Aberdeen Fifty Years Ago: Being a Series of Twenty-One Engravings of Buildings In and That Were About Aberdeen; Along with Wood Engravings of Some of the Wells, &c. &c."

Ancient Criminal Trials in Scotland

1833 - Robert Pitcairn, Scotland, High Court of Justiciary

Full title: "Criminal Trials in Scotland, from A.D. M.CCCC.LXXXVIII (1488) to A.D. M.DC.XXIV (1624), Embracing the Entire Reigns of James IV and V, Mary Queen of Scots, and James VI. Compiled from the Original Records and MSS. (Manuscripts) with Historical Notes and Illustrations."

Annals of Aberdeen (2 Volumes)

1818 - William Kennedy Esq.

Full Title: "Annals of Aberdeen, from the Reign of King William the Lion, to the End of the Year 1818; with an Account of the City, Cathedral, and University of Old Aberdeen."

Annals of Scotland

1776 - Sir David Dalrymple

Full title: "Annals of Scotland from the Accession of Malcolm III, Surnamed Canmore, to the Accession of Robert I

Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland (2 Volumes)

1854 - John O'Donovan

Full title: "The Kingdom of Ireland, By the Four Masters, From the Earliest Persion to the Year 1616." This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible.

Auchinleck Chronicle. M.CCCC.XXXVL

1819 - Under the Superintendence of Thomas Thomson

Full title: "The Auchinleck Chronicle: Ane Schort Memoriale of the Scottis Corniklis for Addicion, to which is added a Short Chronicle of the Reign of James the Second King of Scots M.CCCC.XXXVI (1436) - M.CCCC.LX (1460)


1858 (reprinted 1901) - Rev. John B. Pratt

From Memoir of the Author: "Outside his own communion, and to the general public, Dr. Pratt was best known by his topographical description of the district of Buchan."

Clans of Scotland

1886 - James Grant

Full title: "The Clans of Scotland: An Introductory Account of Celtic Scotland; Clanship, Chiefs, Their Dress, Arms, Etc., and With Historical Notes of Each Clan. Emblazoned Arms of the Chiefs, and a Map of the Districts Occupied by the Various Clans are Added."

Clans, Septs, and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands

1908 - Frank Adam, FSAScot.

This classic book describes the history, law and society of the Scottish Highlands with the focus is on the elite, the chiefs, precedence, and the decisions of the Lyon Court.

Collections for a History of the Shires of Aberdeen and Banff

1843 - Robert Gordon of Straloch, et. al.

From preface: "The DESCRIPTION OF THE SHERIFFDOMS OF ABERDEEN AND BANFF, BY Robert Gordon of Stralock , which occupies the first place in the volume, was prepared by that amiable and accomplished scholar, to accompany a Map of the counties, which he contributed to Blaeu's Theatrum Orbis Terrarum."

Culloden Papers

1815 - Right Honorourable Duncan Forbes

Full title: "Culloden Papers, from the year 1625 To 1748; Including Numerous Letters from the Unfortunate Lord Lovat, and Other Distinguished Persons of the Time; with Occasional State Papers of Much Historical Importance. The Whole Published From The Originals in the Possession of Duncan George Forbes, of Culloden, Esq., to Which Is Prefixed, an Introduction, Containing Memoirs of the Right Honourable Duncan Forbes, Many Years Lord President of the Court of Session in Scotland. Illustrated By Engravings."

Extracts from the Council Register of the Burgh of Aberdeen 1398 — 1570

1844 - Printed for the Spalding Club

From the Preface: "Most valuable materials for national history have frequently to be sought for in sources far different from the works of the general historian, whose pages are more frequently devoted to the political than the social position of the people, whose history is the object of his labours."

Fasti Ecclesiie Scoticanie: The Succession of Ministers in the Church of Scotland from the Reformation

1928 - Hew Scott, D.D.

Full title: "Fasti Ecclesiie Scoticanie: The Succession of Ministers in the Church of Scotland from the Reformation"

Feuds of the Clans

1907 - Alexander MacGregor

Full title: "The Feuds of The Clans, Together with the History of the Feuds and Conflicts Among the Clans in the Northern Parts of Scotland and in the Western Isles, From The Year MXXXI (1031) Unto MDCXIX (1619), First Published In 1764 'From A Ms. Wrote In The Reign Of King James VI.'"

Highland Clans of Scotland: Their History and Traditions (2 Volumes)

1923 - George Eyre-Todd

Full title: "The Highland Clans: Their History and Traditions, with an Introduction by A.M. Mackintosh, with one hundred and twenty-two illustrations including reproductions of M'Ian's Celebrated Paintings of the Costumes of the Clans"

Highlanders of Scotland (2 Volumes)

1837 - William F. Skene, F.S.A.Scot.

Full title: "The Highlanders of Scotland, Their Origin, History, and Antiquities; With a Sketch of Their Manners and Customs, and an Account of the Clans into Which They Were Divided, and of the State of Society Which Existed Among Them."

Historical Notices of Scottish Affairs (Volume 1 – 1661 – 1683, Volume 2 – 1683 – 1688)

1848 - Sir John Lauder of Fountainhall, Bart., edited by David Laing

Full title: "Historical Notices of Scotish Affairs, Selected from the Manuscripts of Sir John Lauder of Fountainhall, Bart., One of the Senators of the College of Justice," edited by David Laing, Secretary, Bannatyne Club."

​Historical Tales of the Wars of Scotland (3 Volumes)

1849 - A. Fullerton & Co.

Full Title: "Historical Tales of the Wars of Scotland, and the Border Raids, Forays, and Conflicts"

History of Arbroath to the Present Time

1876 - George Hay

Full title: "History of Arbroath to the Present Time with Notices of the Civil and Ecclesiastical Affairs of the Neighbouring District"

History of Scotland (7 Volumes)

1841 - Patrick Fraser Tytler, Esq.

From Preface: "In the composition of the opresent work, I have anxiously desired to examine the most authentic sources of information, and to convey to my reader a true picture of the times without prepossession or partiality... I have fully stated the grounds of my opinion in the Notes and Illustrations, which are printed at the end of each volume."

History of Scots Affairs, From MDCXXXVII (1637) to MDCXLI (1641) (3 Volumes)

1841 - James Gordon, Parson of Rothiemay

From the editor's preface: "James Gordon, the author of the volumes which are now submitted to the Spalding Club, was descended from the family of Pitlurg, one of the oldest and most distinguished branches of the noble house of Huntly."

History of the Feuds and Conflicts Among the Clans

1780 - Printed by J. & J. Robertson, for John Gilliea, Perth

Full title: "The History of the Feuds and Conflicts Among the Clans in the Northern Parts of Scotland and in the Western Isles; From the Year M.XXXI (1031) unto M.DC.XIX (1619), To Which is Added a Collection of Curious Songs in the Gallic Language, Published from an Original Manuscript."

History of the Troubles and Memorable Transactions in Scotland and England From M.DC.XXIV (1624) to M.DC.XLV (1645)

1828 - John Spalding

Preface: "At a Meeting of the Committee of Management of the Bannatyne Club, held at Edinburgh, 2d June 1827, Resolved, That the History of the Troubles in Scotland and England, from the year 1624, to 1645, by John Spalding, Commissary Clerk of Aberdeen, be printed for the use of the Members, under the superintendence of James Skene of Rubislaw, Esq. from a collation of two Manuscripts, one in the possession of the Right Honourable Lord Forbes, the other belonging to the Club, and recently purchased from the library of Garden of Troup."

Illustrations of the Topography and Antiquities of the Shires of Aberdeen and Banff (4 Volumes)

1857 - Under the editorial superintendence of Joseph Robertson, Esq.

Illustrations of the Topography and Antiquities of the Shires of Aberdeen and Banff

Inverurie and The Earldom of the Garioch

1878 - The Rev. John Davidson, D.D, Minister of Inverurue

Full title: "The Earldom of the Garioch: A Topographical and Historical Account of the Garioch from the Earliest Times to the Revolution Settlement with a Genealogical Appendix of Garioch Families Flourishing at the Period of the Revolution Settlement and Still Represented."

Lives and Characters of the Officers of the Crown and of the State

1726 – George Crawfurd

Full title: “Lives and Characters of the Officers of theCrown and of the State From the Beginning of the Reign of King David I. to the Union of the Two Kingdoms, Collected from Original Charters, Chartularies, Authentick Records, and the Most Approved Histories, to which is added an Appendix, containing Several Originial Papers Relating to the Lives, and Referring to Them”

Memorials of the Aldermen, Provosts, and Lord Provosts of Aberdeen, 1272-1895

1847 - Alexander M. Munro, Editor

From the preface: "Among the royal burghs in Scotland, Aberdeen holds a prominent position for the completeness of its municipal history, and in no respect is this more clearly shown than by glancing down the long list of those who have held the chief civic position in the community."

Narratives of Scottish Catholics under Mary Stuart and James VI

1889 – William Forbes-Leith

Full title: “Narratives of Scottish Catholics under Mary Stuart and James VI : now first printed from the original manuscripts in the secret archives of the Vatican and other collections.” From the preface: “In publishing these Narratives and Letters, my object has been to make the condition of Catholics in Scotland, after the Eeformation period, more clearly and widely known.”

Records of the Sheriff Court of Aberdeenshire (3 Volumes)

1904 - Edited by David Littlejohn, LL.D.

Records in Aberdeenshire from 1503 to 1660 (with list of officials to 1907) for property seizure and restitution, deforcements, threats of potential violence, violent occupation, apprisings, assignations of land, breach of arrestment, complaints against officers, criminal charges, periodic muster or review of troops, obligations and contracts, royal exemptions, appointments of officials, and other legal actions.

Rerum Scoticarum Historia (History of Scotland) (4 Volumes)

1582 - George Buchanan, Translated from Latin by James Aikman, Esq. (1827)

Full title: "The History of Scotland Translated from the Latin of George Buchanan; with Notes and a Continuation to the Union in the Reign of Queen Anne."

Scotland, Historic and Romantic (2 Volumes)

1901 - Maria Hornor Lansdale

From Preface: "The object has been rather to give a sketch, however incomplete, of the country from the great War of Independence in the time of Wallace and Bruce; to indicate that connection of the present with the past that adds so great a charm to scenes of historical interest, and to give some account of ancient castles and ecclesiastical buildings round which circle so much history and romance."

Scots in Sweden

1907 - Thomas A. Fischer

Full title: "The Scots in Sweden Being a Contribution Towards the History of the Scot Abroad."

Scots Men-at-Arms and Life-Guards in France

1883 - William Forbes-Leith

Covers details from their formation until their final dissolution A.D. MCCCCXVIII.-MDCCCXXX (1418-1830)

Scottish Gaël

1831 - James Logan

Full title: "Scottish Gaël or Celtic Manners as Preserved Among the Highlanders: Being an Historical and Descriptive Account of the Inhabitants, Antiquities, and National Peculiarities of Scotland; More Particularly of the Northern, or Gaelic Parts of the Country, Where the Singular Habits of the Aboriginal Celts are Most Tenaciously Retained."

Scottish Tartans

1920 - Illustrated by William Semple

Full title: "The Scottish Tartans with Historical Sketches of the Clans and Families of Scotland; the Badges and Arms of the Chiefs of the Clans and Families"

The Works of William Drummond of Hawthornden

1711 - William Drummond of Hawthornden

Full title: The Works of William Drummond of Hawthornden Consisting of Those which were formerly Printed, and Those which were design'd for the Press. Now Published from the Author's Original Copies." Includes: The Life of William Drummond of Hawthornden, Poems on Commendation of the Author, A Catalog of the Author's Works, and The History of the Lives and Reigns of the Five James's, Kings of Scotland from the Year 1423 to the Year 1542.

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