The surname of Findlay was relatively common in Hopeman for over a century, however, over the past few generations it has dwindled in numbers to where there are now no residents with this surname from the original family (2014). There are however a few residents still using the name as a Christian or Middle name
The family originated from the Cullen area of Banff and I have listed brief details on these early ancestors. There is additional information on these ancestors should anyone wish to contact via the website.
1st Generation – William Findlay born 1650 Cullen Banff who married Helen Lavine.
2nd Generation – William Findlay born 1676 Cullen, Banff who married Elsbet Smith
3rd Generation – George Findlay born 1705 Cullen, Banff who married Elsbet Runcie
4th Generation – John Findlay born 1731 Cullen, Banff who married Isobel Findlay
5th Generaion – George Findlay born 1752 Cullen, Banff who married Margaret Gardiner
The move to Hopeman all started when a young white-fisher and boat builder called John Findlay who was the son of George Findlay and Margaret Gardiner, arrived in the village from Cullen early 1861. He arrived to start a new life with his new wife Jessie Pirie who he had recently married during November 1860. He initially came on his own as the 1861 census notes him as being 23 years old and a boarder with Robert Simpson and his family at 12 Hutcheon Street. It is most probable that Johns wife and son Robert joined him soon afterwards. Son Robert, or Bob as he was known, was born during June 1859 in Rathven, Banff and a year before John and Jessie were married This was possibly a reason for moving away from the Cullen area as having children out of wedlock was certainly frowned upon by fishing communities at that time. Being a white fisher and boat builder I am sure there would have been lots of opportunities for young John as this was a period of rapid growth within the fishing sector and the number of boats operating out of Hopeman. It was John Findlay who started Findlay’s boatyard around the mid 1860s and gave his name to Findlay’s Bay next to his boatyard on the east side of the harbour. It was over the road and on to the beach that they launched all of the boats they built. The yard closed during the 1960s when Alexander (Sanny) Findlay retired and the last boat to be built was a small lobster boat called ‘Star o Moray’ (see photograph) which is still locally owned and moored in Hopeman harbour. The boat is around 60 years old and a testament to the building quality. Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh was a good friend of Sanny Findlay and often visited him at the boatyard when at Gordonstoun School approximately 1936. Findlay’s yard is now a joiners yard 2015.
See various photographs below after the family tree.