William Robertson Smith [Robertson Smith] was born on Sunday,
November 8th 1846 at Keig, Aberdeenshire, the second child of Jane,
née Robertson, and William Pirie Smith. After the disruption of the
Free Church from the Church of Scotland in 1843 his parents joined
this new religious movement.
His mother, the eldest daughter of Peter Robertson, the early
deceased headmaster of the well-reputed West End Academy in Aberdeen,
and the sister of the Scottish painter James Giles, Isabella, was a
teacher herself. William Pirie Smith became Peter Robertson’s
successor at the Academy and the couple married in 1844.