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Cardross, Dunbartonshire, Scotland Genealogy

Parish #494

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



CARDROSS, a parish, in the county of Dumbarton; including the villages of West Bridgend and Renton, and the hamlet of Geilstone-Bridge, 3¾ miles (W. N. W.) from Dumbarton, on the road to Helensburgh. The name of Cardross is derived from a compound word in the Celtic language, signifying "the moorish ridge point," used in reference to the peculiar situation and aspect of the parish. The church, a very neat structure, was built in 1827, and accommodates above 800 persons. There is a missionary station at Renton, connected with the Established Church; also a meeting-house belonging to the Original Burgher Synod; and places of worship have been erected in the parish, in connexion with the Free Church and Relief 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 Cardross.  Also available at the Family History Library.  

Census Records

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

Click here for a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Cardross.

Below is information for any known surname indexes:


Years Surname Index          
1851 CD-ROM no. 3816
1881 6086556 ( 4 fiche)

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

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

Event Type Years Covered Family History Library Film Number
Births: 1681-1854 1041983
Marriages: 1687-1854 1041983
Deaths: No entries
Condition of Original Registers—

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 record is blank September 1681–October 1687. The lower portion of the page at February 1739 is cut off. There is a duplicate of the portion for February 1757–April 1787.
Marriages: Corners of pages prior to 1712 are wasted and entries are imperfect. The record is defective for November 1776–June 1778. The fact of marriage is frequently not stated in the entries of proclamations after 1779.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session Records

The Kirk session was the court of the parish. The Kirk 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 1727–1734, 1810–1873
Cash Books 1742–1800, 1826–1852
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/54.

Nonconformist Church Records

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.

Renton Levenside Associate Burgher Church, later Reformed Church and then Free Church

A number of persons connected with the Secession Church were drawn to Renton by the prospect of employment afforded in the extensive calico printing and bleaching establishments erected in the neighborhood soon after the founding of Renton in 1782. These persons applied for and obtained supply of sermon from the Associate Burgher Presbytery of Glasgow in 1783. Church built in 1786. The minister and the majority of the congregation withdrew from the Associate Synod in 1800 and along with others formed the Original Associate, Old Light Burgher Synod. When the majority of the Original Associate Burgher congregations united with the Church of Scotland in 1839, this one remained in the minority. When the remnant Burgher congregations united with the Original Secession Synod in 1842, this congregation again remained aloof, and instead they united with the Reformed Presbyterian Church. The congregation eventually became connected with the Free Church in 1876 when the great majority of Reformed Presbyterian congregations did the same.
Membership: 1839, 400; 1877, 205; 1900, 206.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #0477618, Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols., pub. 1914. Film #0918572,The Reformed Presbyterian Church in Scotland, by W.J. Couper, pub. 1925. Family History Library Book941 K2c and Levenside Church: The Red Row Kirk, Renton, 1786-1910, by Rev. John Riddell, pub. 1911. Family History Library book 941.37/R2 K21r; film #1426080 item 6.

Session Minutes 1806–1856
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/215.

Bridgend Relief Church

See Dunbarton Parish.

Cardross Free Church

This congregation was formed in 1843 by those who came out at the Disruption. The minister of the parish did not come out. The first church was opened in 1844. A new church was built in 1871.
Membership: 1848, 69; 1900, 111.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843-1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Film #918572. More details may be given in the source including a list of ministers.

The extent of record is unknown.

Renton, Millburn Free Church

In September 1844, a mission was begun here. A church was erected in 1845. The charge was sanctioned in 1846. The Turkey Red and Calico printing industries brought many people to the district.
Membership: 1848, 135; 1900, 197.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843-1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Film #918572. More details may be given in the source including a list of ministers.

Minutes 1846–1948
Other Post–1855 records
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1446.

Civil Registration Records

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

Cardross was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Hamilton and Campsie until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Dumbarton.  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 Dunbarton and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Hamilton and Campsie.
The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Dunbarton. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place' of Dunbarton and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'

Read more about Scotland Probate Records.


  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 163-185. Adapted. Date accessed: 13 February 2014.

Return to the Dunbartonshire parish list.