Belhelvie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #174

This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Belhelvie. To learn more about how to use these records to search for your ancestors, go to the Scotland: Research Strategies.

History[edit | edit source]

BELHELVIE, a parish, in the district and county of Aberdeen, 8 miles (N. by E.) from Aberdeen. The name of this place is derived from a word in the Gaelic language, signifying the "mouths of the rivulets," and applied, in the present case, as descriptive of the locality, which is marked by the rise of seven small streams. The church, which is in good repair, contains 519 sittings; and there are places of worship for the Free Church and United Associate Synod.[1]

The New Statistical Account of Scotland (pub. 1834-45) offers uniquely rich and detailed parish reports for the whole of Scotland, covering a vast range of topics including history, agriculture, education, trades, religion and social customs. The reports, written by the parish ministers, are available online at Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for your parish of interest. Also available at the Family History Library.

Census Records[edit | edit source]

A census is a count and description of the population, taken by the government, arranged by locality and by household. Read more about census records.

Here is a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Belhelvie as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Year      Family History Library Film Number Surname Index
1841 1042653 none
1851 1042113 none
1861 103779 none
1871 103929 noen
1881 203452 6086502 (12 fiche)
1891 208673 none

The 1901 and 1911 census of Scotland is indexed on   To use it, you must register and pay a small access fee. All available censuses, 1841-1911, are indexed on this website. It may be easier for you to pay to use the website rather than access indexes through the library.

Church Records[edit | edit source]

The Established Church of Scotland was Presbyterian. Read more about church records

Here are the pre-1855 records that exist for this parish.

Established Church—Old Parochial Registers[edit | edit source]

Record Type Years Covered Family History Library Film Number
Births: 1624-1762 0991256

1763-1854 0991257
Marriages: 1624-1762 0991256

1763-1854 0991257
Deaths: 1698-1763 0991256

1764-1854 0991257

Condition of Original Registers—
[edit | edit source]

Index: For an index to these records, see Scotland’s People website, a pay-for-view website. The Scottish Church Records Index is also still available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  Some records may also be indexed in other FamilySearch collections for Scotland.
Births: Portions of thirteen pages for August 1635–October 1645 are destroyed. The record is blank from the latter date to March 1699. Several pages commencing from this last date are imperfect. The record is defective for January 1715–March 1716. The whole record prior to 1792, has suffered much from dampness.
Marriages: The marriage record is blank for June 1645–March 1699. Pages from the latter date to August 1715 have been much injured by dampness. There are no entries for August 1715–January 1716. Mothers’ names not recorded in the entries until 1747. There is only one entry for December 1790–April 1792 and the record is blank for June 1794–July 1797.
Deaths: Burial records are blank for October 1706–January 1709 and August 1715–March 1716. Portions have been injured by dampness. The record is blank for January 1788–February 1792.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session Records[edit | edit source]

The Kirk session was the court of the parish. The session was made up of he minister and the land owners and business men of the parish, chosen to serve on the session. The Kirk session dealt with moral issues, minor criminal cases, matters of the poor and education, matters of discipline, and the general concerns of the parish. Kirk session records may also mention births, marriages, and deaths.

Here is a list of the surviving Kirk session records for this parish:

Minutes 1623–1917
Cash Book 1850–1932

Records of Belhelvie Kirk Session 1623-1934

Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/32.

Monumental Inscriptions[edit | edit source]

The Kirkyard of Belhelvie in Aberdeen has been indexed by the North-East Scotland Family History Society.

Online listing is available through the: Aberdeen and North-East Scotland Family History Society

A booklet is also available at The Family History Library in Salt Lake City

Nonconformist Church Records[edit | edit source]

A nonconformist church is any church that is not the Established church. Read more about nonconformity in Scotland in the article on the Scotland Church Records Union List.

Shiels United Presbyterian Church[edit | edit source]

This congregation originated from the attentions of the minister of the Craigdam congregation who preached here occasionally. It was accepted by the General Associate, Anti-burgher Presbytery of Elgin as a preaching station. The cause prospered and the congregation was disjoined from Craigdam in 1782.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618. More details are given in the source.

Session Minutes 1828–1829
Account Book with Managers’ Minutes 1808–1850
Treasurers’ Accounts 1852
Post-1855 records also available.
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/41.

Belhelvie Free Church[edit | edit source]

The Belhelvie charge was sanctioned in 1844, though the members had been meeting for a while. A church was erected at Potterton in 1843. The Belhelvie Free Church and the Shiels United Free Church, formerly United Presbyterian, united in 1905 and formed the Belhelvie and Shiels Free Church.
Membership: 1848, 120; 1900, 121
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Film #918572. More details are given in the source.

Belhelvie and Shiels Free Church (also United Presbyterian, United Free and Belhelvie South Church of Scotland) 1828-1933
CH3/41/2 Belhelvie kirk session: Minutes 1857-1917 Check details
CH3/41/4 Belhelvie Free/United Free kirk session: Deacons' court minutes 1857-1906 Check details
CH3/41/5 Belhelvie United Free kirk session: Deacons' court minutes 1906-1933
CH3/41/7 Belhelvie Free/United Free kirk session: Account book 1873-1931 Check details
CH3/41/8 Belhelvie Free kirk session: Communion roll 1891-1925
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/41.

Civil Registration Records[edit | edit source]

Government or civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths (also called statutory records) began on January 1, 1855 in Scotland. Each parish has a registrar's office and large cities have several. The records are created by the registrars and copies are sent to the General Register Office in Edinburgh. Annual indexes are then created for the records for the whole country.

See the article on Scotland Civil Registration for more information and to access the records.

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Belhelvie was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Aberdeen until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Aberdeen. Probate records for 1513- 1901 are indexed online at You must register on the website but use of the index to probate records, called 'Wills & Testaments,' is free. You may then purchase a copy of the document or, if the document is before 1823, it will be on microfilm at the Family History Library. To find the microfilm numbers, search in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Aberdeen and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Aberdeen. also has many probate records for Scotland and Scottish people indexed from 1861-1941

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Aberdeen. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Aberdeen and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'

Read more about Scotland Probate Records.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 499-514. Adapted. Date accessed: 12 June 2014.

Return to Aberdeenshire parish list.