Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Kilbarchan (#568)

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


History[edit | edit source]

KILBARCHAN, a parish, in the Upper ward of the county of Renfrew; containing the village of Linwood, 5 miles (W. by S.) from Paisley. This place, which is of considerable antiquity, derives its name, either from the founder of its ancient church, or from the situation of the church in a vale bounded by hills, of which the Celtic terms Kil, Bar, Chan, are said to be descriptive. The church was built in 1724, and has been repaired; it is a neat structure containing 620 sittings. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church, the Relief, Original Burghers, and Scottish Baptists.[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 Kilbarchan.  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 Kilbarchan as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:


Years FHL Film Number
1841 1042725 CD-ROM no. 3820
1851 1042363 CD-ROM no. 3817
1861 103901
1871 104085
1881 203577 6086652 (set of 11 fiche)
1891 220192

The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on  To use it, you must register and pay a small access fee. All available censuses, 1841-1901, 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]

Event Type Years Covered FHL Film Number
Births: 1650-1854 1041277
Marriages: 1650-1854 1041277
Deaths: 1743-1744 1041277

Condition of Original Registers—[edit | edit source]

Indexed: 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: Records are blank October 1662–October 1672, in consequence of Mr. John Stirling, the Presbyterian Minister, having been, during that period debarred from the exercise of the ministry by the civil authority. They are blank also July 1683–June 1688, excluding two leaves containing entries for 1706, and an original register from May 1699–June 1740. The original extant 1740–1760, and the copy is continued after 1760, as the principal register. Mothers’ names not recorded until October 1672, and again omitted June 1688–March 1689.
Marriages: There are no entries March 1651–February 1652. Records are blank October 1662–October 1672, for the same reason as the births. Records are also blank August 1683–December 1688, and July 1694–July 1740, excluding one entry for 1711. There is a copy of the record July 1740–February 1756, which is then continued as the principal register. Marriages are recorded until 1694; after that date they are proclamations.
Deaths: The record is burials.
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 the 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:

No pre-1855 records.

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 Lists.

Kilbarchan Relief Church later United Presbyterian
[edit | edit source]

Previous to the year 1786, when this congregation originated, considerable dissatisfaction with the Established Church prevailed in the parish of Kilbarchan and surrounding districts in consequence of the many violent settlements of ministers and the unevangelical character of the ministrations from the pulpit. Some parishioners who withdrew from the Established Church connected themselves with the Relief congregation in Paisley. Application for supply of sermon in Kilbarchan was eventually made and was supplied in 1786. More than 1000 persons attended the first meeting. A church was built in 1788.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618. More details may be given in the source including a list of ministers.

Minutes 1788–1797 - with gaps, 1816–1873
Accounts 1789–1903 - many gaps
Manager’ Minutes 1786–1872
List of Subscribers 1792 or earlier
List of Purchasers of Lairs in Burial Ground 1789–1867
Library Committee Minutes 1823–1840
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, records CH3/1130.

Burntshields Associate Secession Church
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Owing to the unpopular settlement of a new minister in Kilbarchan parish in 1739, several parishioners acceded to the Associate Presbytery. They joined with Seceders from several other parishes to form the “Correspondence of Kilmalcolm” (see that parish). The Seceders in Kilbarchan were disjoined from Kilmalcolm in 1744 to form a separate congregation. Burntshields was the name of the farm on which the Secession place of worship was built. The first minister alternately preached at Burntshields and Cartsdyke, Greenock. In 1746, the congregation included 80 communicants from Kilbarchan. At the Breach in 1747, the minister and his congregation adhered to the Associate Burgher Synod. In 1750, the congregation was considerably increased by the accession of a number of the parishioners of Lochwinnoch who were opposed to the settlement of a new minister in that parish. In 1791–1792, the members who were living in and around Johnstone, and also those living in and around Lochwinnoch, were disjoined as separate congregations, which weakened the Burntshields congregation. In 1796 this congregation joined the Original Burgher Synod. In 1839 the congregation rejoined the Established Church, but in 1843 they withdrew and joined the Free Church.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618. More details may be given in the source including a list of ministers.

                                                                              FHL Film Number
Baptisms                        1745–1801                        0889483 item 7
Minutes                           1744–1758, 1792–1793      0889483 item 7
Accounts                         1744–1765, 1773–1789      0889483 item 7

Bridge Of Weir Free Church
[edit | edit source]

See the parish of Houston.

Kilbarchan Baptist Church
[edit | edit source]

A church was formed here before 1820. In 1846 there were 23 members. The church ceased about 1850 and was not revived until 1904. They later joined the Congregational Union.
Source: History of the Baptists in Scotland, by Rev. George Yuille, pub. 1926. FHL book 941 K2hi.

Extent of the records is unknown. For information write to:
The Baptist Union of Scotland
12 Aytoun Road
Glasgow G41 5RT

See also Paisley parish for information on Unitarians in Kilbarchan.

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]

Kilbarchan was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Glasgow until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Paisley.  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 Renfrew and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Glasgow.

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

Read more about Scotland Probate Records.

[edit | edit source]

  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 1-22. Adapted. Date accessed: 21 February 2014.

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