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Australian student comes face to face with her great-great-great grandfather at University of Aberdeen!


An Australian student has fulfilled her ambition of coming face to face with her 3 x great-grandfather when she was able to see his portrait at the university where he taught 150 years ago.

Pharmacy student Alison Ritchie from Perth, Australia, came to study for a year (in 2018)  at the University of Aberdeen as part of the final year of her course.

Alison’s maternal great, great, great grandfather, Dr David Rennet (1828 – 1914) from Kincardineshire, was a mathematical coach at the University until the early 20th century. The David Rennet Gold Medal (pictured) was inaugurated in 1897 and is still handed out today as the top prize for problem solving in mathematics and physics.

Face-to-face with an ancestor

Alison, who moved from Inverbervie to Australia in 2004 when she was just nine, was able to see the portrait of her relative which still hangs in the Picture Gallery at Marischal College. She said: “Looking at his portrait, he reminds me of one of my mum’s uncles so there must be a familial look. He didn’t have the same long beard though!”

“From what I’ve read about him, he seemed to be a very kind to his students; an approachable man with an interesting teaching style. Apparently he would only help a student once he was sure they had given it a good try on their own first. He didn’t spoon-feed them the answers.

“It’s great to finally be here and get to see the painting first hand. It’s been a great experience.”

QUICK LINK: Top tips for tracing your Scottish ancestors

(images courtesy of University of Aberdeen)


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