Pitsligo, Aberdeenshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #233

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

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PITSLIGO, a parish, in the district of Buchan, county of Aberdeen, 4 miles (W. by N.) from Fraserburgh; containing the burgh of barony of Rosehearty, and the village of Pittullie. This place gave its name as the title of the Forbes family, to whom it anciently belonged, and of whose castle there are still some considerable remains. The church, erected in 1634, and distinctly seen from the coast, is a handsome structure with a square tower and angular turrets: the interior is embellished with richly-carved oak in that part forming the aisle; it contains 504 sittings. A Free Church was built in 1844, and there is a place of worship for members of the United Secession.[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 http://edina.ac.uk/stat-acc-scot/. Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for your parish of interest. Also available at the Family History Library .

Census Records
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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 Pitsligo, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

FHL Film Number
Surname Indexes
6086502 (12 fiches)

The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. 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 the separate indexes through the library.

Church Records
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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 FHL Film Number
Births: 1720-1854 0993355
Marriages: 1720-1854 0993355
Deaths: 1728-1743 0993355


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: Record appears to have been regularly kept.
Marriages: Record 1720–1743 is mixed with other matters. From 1744 the entries occur among those of births for the same period.
Deaths: Mortcloth Dues occur among the entries of marriages etc. for the same period.
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:

Minutes 1665–1675, 1743–1840
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/30.

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.

The New Statistical Account of Scotland for Pitsligo 1840 states that there were in the parish 129 Seceders and Independents, 34 Episcopalians, 1 Baptist, and 1 Roman Catholic.

Rosehearty United Presbyterian Church[edit | edit source]

Fishermen in the village of Rosehearty gained an understanding and relish for evangelical teachings from the preaching of the minister of the parish who died in 1760. His replacement did not share his views but they did not withdraw from him. About 1770 some of the fishermen went to work in the Saltcoats area and while there they joined the Secession cause. When they returned to Rosehearty, they connected themselves with the congregation forming at Clola, though 18 miles distant. A few years later, when the congregation was formed at Whitehill, 11 miles distant, they connected themselves with it. In 1791 they erected a small place of worship in Rosehearty and obtained occasional supply of sermon there. In 1822 they were formally disjoined from Whitehill and formed as a separate congregation.
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.

There are no known pre-1855 records.

Pitsligo Free Church[edit | edit source]

The congregation was formed soon after the Disruption and regular services were provided. The charge was sanctioned in 1845. In that year the church was erected.
Membership: 1848, 135; 1900, 198.
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.

No known surviving records.

Civil Registration Records
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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
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Pitsligo 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 www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. 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.

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: 19 June 2014.

Return to Aberdeenshire parish list.