Birse, Aberdeenshire, Scotland Genealogy

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Parish #175

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

History[edit | edit source]

BIRSE, a parish, in the district of Kincardine O'Neil, county of Aberdeen, 2½ miles (E. S. E.) from Aboyne. This place was formerly called Press, a word of Gaelic origin, signifying a wood or thicket, and most probably used in reference to the extensive forest and woods in the district. The church, inconveniently situated in the north-western part of the parish, is a neat substantial edifice, erected in 1779, and capable of accommodating between 500 and 600 persons. There is a Roman Catholic chapel near Ballogie.[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 Birse as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Years     Family History Library Film Number Surname Indexes
1841 1042653 none
1851 1042113 none
1861 0103779 none
1871 0103929 none
1881 0203452 6086502 (12 fiches)
1891 0208673 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]

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]

Event Type Years Covered Family History Library Number
Births: 1758-1854 0991258
Marriages: 1782-1854 0991258
Deaths: No entries

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: The first page contains irregular entries for 1760–1823. There are only two entries dated prior to 1760. Mothers’ names not recorded in the entries until 1814. After 1819 is another record for 1758–1788, containing a number of entries previously omitted.
Marriages: The record was regularly kept from the commencement in 1782.
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 and Accounts 1698–1707, 1726–1744, 1765–1866
List of Inhabitants 1804–1805, 1812–1825
Ramsay Mortification Minutes and Accounts 1800–1838
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/595.

CH2/595 Records of Birse Kirk Session 1698-1942 National Archives of Scotland Online Catalog

CH2/595/17 List of men in parish of Birse from 17 to 66, supposed to be capable of carrying arms Mar 1797

CH2/595/21 Accounts and discharges 1680-1909

CH2/595/22 Correspondence 1721-1935

CH2/595/23 Miscellaneous papers 1692-1926

CH2/595/25 Printed papers 1801-1908
CH2/595/26 Miscellaneous papers 1645-1823 
CH2/595/27 2 sermons 1863-1908 
CH2/1305 Records of Strachan Kirk Session 1783-1948 

Monumental Inscriptions[edit | edit source]

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

Family History Library 

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

The Family History Library in Salt Lake City also has a copy Family History Library online Catalog

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.

Roman Catholic Church[edit | edit source]

The church was located at Ballogie. No further History is available.

Baptisms 1833–1872
Marriages 1833–1866
Note: Now available online for a fee at  RH 21/12.

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]

Birse 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.