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William Aiton Narrative on origins of Avondale Aitons

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: Ayrshire, Scotlandmap
Surname/tag: Aiton
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This extended excerpt is from William Aiton's book, starting on page 19, relevant here for it explains the personal memories of his family. Apologies for the length, I'm going in favor of its interesting and informative nature. To read more, please see Aiton family.

Inquiry into the Rise and Pedigree of the Aitons in Lanarkshire

It is well known, that a number of families of the name of Aiton, have long resided in the parish of Avondale, Lanarkshire, and that they have multiplied, and extended, from thence to several other parishes in that county, Ayrshire, and more distant parts. The whole of these have sprung from two persons, one of whom settled first in the farm of Hookhead in Avondale, about the year 1570 or 1590, but afterwards acquired the lands of Waleslie and Heaslebank, in that parish. And the other individual, settled first in the farms of Stonyhill and Langrighead in that parish, and his son James Aiton afterward became proprietor of the farm Stone-TIlloch, inthe parish of Galston, Ayrshire, where his lineal descendants still reside.

That the founders of these families, came from the county of Fife has been a tradition among their offspring, for two hundred years past; and that tradition is corroborated, by various circumstances. There never was a family of that name, in either Scotland or England, except that which sprung up in the Merse, and that which resided chiefly in Fife, for more than three centuries past. The settlers in Avondale, must therefore either have have sprung from the Fife colony of Aytouns, or what amounts to the same thing, they must be the offspring of the original stock, that acquired the estate of Eytoun, near the beginning of the twelth century, and afterwards took their surname from the estate, according to the general fashion of that period. If it should be objected, that the Avondale Aitons, do not write their name, the same as those in Fife, or those of the Merse, the explanation given in the note at the beginning of this pamphlet is referred to. [the note at the beginning just explains that Aiton is from the Gaelic set of family names rather than more modern family name forms.]] The Aitons of Avondale, however, continued for more than a century after they left Fife, to write their name Aytoun or Ayton; the grand father of the writer of this Inquiry, signed his name Aytoun, but by far the greatest number of the colony, have changed the Y into I: and the names of many other families, have undergone similar, and far greater changes. Though there may be some doubt, as to which of the families of Aytouns in Fife, these settlers in Avondale came from, and though the year in which they crossed the Forth, has not been exactly ascertained: yet it is well known to some people still alive, that the Avondale Aitons, paid many friendly visits to their relations in Fife, within the last eighty or ninety years. While the Reverend Thomas Aiton, one of the Waleslie family, to be afterwards noticed, was minister of Alyth, from 1720 to 1735, and of the parish of Kilconquhar, from 1735 till his death, in 1739; some of his relations in Avondale generally visited him the one year, and he came to see them the next year alternately. And on the Waleslie family going north, they frequently visited some of the families of Aytoun in Fife, and were well received and entertained by them, as distant relations and clansmen. Mrs. Jean Aiton, one of the Waleslie family, and relict of James Hamilton, Esquire of Falla and Parkhead, who is still alive, in the 95th year of her age, remembers having accompanied her father, on a visit to the widow and family of the Reverend Mr. Aiton, and they also visited some respectable families in Fife, of the name of Aytoun, who received them as relations or kinds-folks. And she, and others still alive, remembers to have heard Miss Margrat Aiton, her older sister, mention that when she accompanied her father, and some of the Waleslie family, on a visit to the Rev. Mr. Aytoun, they were invited to the house of a gentleman of the name of Aytoun, who on that occasion had twenty one persons of that name, dining at his table. And the writer of this account, was informed by his grand father, that he had made a trip or two to Fife, along with his intimate friend the laird of Waleslie, and that they had visited as clansmen, and hunted with some of the Aytouns in Fife. And from his own recollection of what his grandfather said, and which has since been repeated to him by his own father, and uncle, the writer of this account is certain, that his grandfather mentioned the Inchdairney family, as one of those to whom he was introduced, by the Reverend Mr. Aiton: and where they were kindly treated as kinsmen of that respectable family. And the author has often heard William Aiton, last of Waleslie, who lived to the beginning of this century, mention the Inchdairney family, as having paid attention to his father and uncle, and treated them as relations.

Tradition bears, that the name of the founder of the Waleslie family, who came from Fife, and settled first at Hookhead, was John Aytoun, and that the name of the founder of the Tilloch family, who first settled at Langrighead and Stonnyhill, was Andrew Aytoun. As his son James Aiton, who was born about 1630, and lived till after 1720, informed his family, and particularly told William Aiton, who was his youngest son, that his grandfather's name was Andrew: and as William Aiton said so to the writer of this inquiry, who was his grandson, the author concludes with confidence, that the name of the founder of the Tilloch family, was Andrew Aiton, from whatever family he may have sprung.

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