Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland Genealogy

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Kirkcudbrightshire Wiki Topics
Beginning Research
Record Types
Scotland Background
Local Research Resources

Guide to Kirkcudbrightshire County ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.

Kirkcudbrightshire County

History[edit | edit source]

The Stewartry of Kirkcudbright is a county in the south of Scotland, bounded on the north and north-east by the Dumfriesshire, on the north and north-west by the county of Ayr, on the south and south-east by the Solway Firth, and on the south-west by Wigtonshire, Scotland county and the bay of Wigtown. It is 48 miles in length, from east to west, and thirty miles in extreme breadth, comprising an acrea of about 882 square miles or 564,480 acres.
This district, which from its ancient tenure is called a stewartry, though for all purposes a county, occupies the eastern portion of the ancient province of Galloway.... The stewartry of Kirkcudbright was for some time included in the county of Dumfries and was under the jurisdiction of the same sheriff, but this ended prior to the time of Charles I, and since then it has formed a distinct and independent county, though still referred to as a stewartry...[1][2]

ScotlandsPeople: An Important Online Source[edit | edit source]

ScotlandsPeople is one of the largest online sources of original genealogical information. If you are researching UK genealogy, your Scottish ancestry or building your Scottish family tree, they have more than 100 million records to look through.

The comprehensive choice of Scottish records includes:

  • Statutory Registers
  • Old Parish Registers
  • Catholic Parish Registers
  • CPR Others
  • Census
  • Valuation Rolls
  • Soldiers’ Wills
  • Wills & Testaments
  • Coats of Arms

For more detail on record availability, see Guides. For the content guide to what records are on the site, see Guides A-Z. More information on the site, its contents, and instructions for using it can be found in the ScotlandsPeople Wiki article. Indexes may be searched for free, and there is a pay per view fee to see the digitized record.

Census[edit | edit source]

Many census records have been indexed by surname. Some indexes cover one parish (and will be listed in the Wiki on the parish page) and some indexes are for the county as a whole. The Family History Library has county-wide census placename indexes for Kirkcudbrightshire for 1881.  Click here for other census indexes available at the library.

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Civil Registration or Statutory Registers[edit | edit source]

For details on information found in statutory registers and other methods of searching them, see Scotland Civil Registration.

Refer to the ScotlandsPeople Wiki article.
Images and Indexes Available at ScotlandsPeople Website ($)
Births 1855-1910 ◊ScotlandsPeople Website has indexes to 2012.
Marriages 1855-1935
Deaths 1855-1960

Parishes[edit | edit source]

It contains 28 parishes. Kirkcudbright is the chief town and is a royal burgh, along with New Galloway. The county contains four other towns and some small hamlets. About one-third of the land is arable and the remainder is principally mountain pasture, moorland, and waste. The surface if strikingly varied and towards the coast is diversified with numerous rocky hills. Other parts are mountainous, intersected with valleys of great fertility in a high state of cultivation. Oats, barley, wheat, potatoes, turnips, and other crops are raised. Cattle are pastured and sheep are fed on the moorlands. Great numbers of swine are also reared, and the horses are much esteemed.
The minerals are of no significance, and coal is scarce and brought from Cumberland. The manufacture of linen, cotton, and woolen goods is carried on to a considerable extent in the towns and villages. The principal trade is the export of cattle, sheep, and grain. Salmon-fisheries at the mouths of the various rivers are highly productive...[3]

Historic Parishes for the County of Kirkcudbright
Parish No. Parish No.
Anwoth 855 Kirkcudbright 871
Balmaclellan 856 Kirkgunzeon 872
Balmaghie 857 Kirkmabreck 873
Borgue 858 Kirkpatrick-Durham 874
Buittle 859 Lochrutton 875
Carsphairn 860 Maxwelltown - town in Troqueer 882
Colvend and Southwick 861 Minnigaff 876
Crossmichael 863 New Abbey 877
Crossmichael 863 Parton 878
Dalbeattie - town in Urr Parish 864 Rerrick 879
Dalry 865 Southwick -- see Colvend 861
Girthon 866 Terregles 880
Irongray 867 GenealogyTongland 881
Kells 868 Troqueer 882
Kelton 869 Twynholm 883
Kirkbean 870 Urr 884
Kirkcudbrightshire In the FamilySearch Catalogue
The Kirkcudbrightshire Page on GENUKI provides a comprehensive view of records and sources for the county.

Parish Records[edit | edit source]

The Scotland Church Records Article and the Scotland Established (Presbyterian) Church Records Article provides and indepth view of Church Records.
The ScotlandsPeople website provides an index and images of Church of Scotland parish registers. FamilySearch provides a searchable index and access to microfilm copies of the registers through Family History Centers. Refer to the Parish Pages for film and or batch numbers.
"The condition of the Church of Scotland parish registers in Kirkcudbrightshire was recorded in the New Statistical Account. In 1849 William Turnbull published a book which extracted from the New Statistical Account remarks by the ministers about their individual registers. For the most part the ministers describe their registers as imperfect, defective, and not voluminous."

Nonconformist Church Records[edit | edit source]

A nonconformist church is any church that is not the Church of Scotland.

  • Catholic records on the ScotlandsPeople website
    • Munches (Buittle Parish) 1745 to 1815
    • Dalbeattie 1786 to 1991
    • Dumfries 1815 to 1972
    • Newton Stewart 1825 to 1915 in Penninghame Parish, Wigtonshire
    • Dalry 1848 to 2006
  • Refer to the Parish Pages for other known denominations and the records that are available at the National Archives of Scotland.

Court, Probate, Land, Military and Other records[edit | edit source]

Unlike census, civil registration, and Church of Scotland Parish Records, less then 20% of the people appear in these record classes with few exceptions.

Court Records[edit | edit source]

The county of Kircudbright was in the Sheriff's court of Kirkcudbright (SC16). The Registers of Deeds for Sheriffs' courts contain much valuable information for family history research such as marriage contracts and deeds of 'disposal and settlement' (or assignment) of property, which both give names and relationships. The records are deposited at the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh and are not indexed.

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Probate records are those which deal with the settlement of the estate of a deceased person.  In Scotland, until 1868, a person could only pass movable property such as household furniture, farm equipment, livestock, money and clothes through a document known as a 'testament.'  Immovable property such as land was passed to the eldest son or heir through a document known as a 'Service of Heir,' which is not a record of probate.  Read more about Scotland Probate Records.

Until 1823, the parishes of Kirkcudbrightshire were under the probate jurisdiction of either the Commissariot Court of Dumfries (CC5), the Commissariot Court of Kirkcudbright (CC13), or the Commissariot Court of Wigtown (CC22). For a break-down by parish, click on the parish links above. Since 1823, the county has been under the jurisdiction of the Sheriff's Court of Kirkcudbright (SC16).

Probate records for 1513-1901 (including inventories of goods) 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' of Kirkcudbright (county) and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the 'Testaments registers.

Military Records 1802 to 1808[edit | edit source]

There is a collection of ballot lists for 1802 and militia volunteer list for 1808 for most of the parishes in the County.  They can be found at  the National Archives of Scotland. The militia lists for the parish of Urr is online

Maps[edit | edit source]

Poorhouse Records[edit | edit source]

NOTE: Workhouses in Scotland were commonly known as poorhouses. For more information on Scottish poorhouses, go to the Scotland Poor Law page.

There was one workhouse in this county:

A description with a drawing of the location of the workhouse is provided on the link above located on the site entitled The Workhouse: The story of an institution... which is owned and operated by Peter Higginbotham. It also contains a link to another site History, Places and People of the County of Kirkcudbright which is owned and operated by James Bell. This site provides information on residents living at the workhouse from transcriptions of the 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, and 1891 census entries at Kirkcudbright Combination Poor House.

Societies[edit | edit source]

Family History Centre
9 Glasgow Street
Phone-01387 248093

Scottish Genealogy Society
15 Victoria Terrace
Phone-0131 220 3677

Taxes[edit | edit source]

In the last decades of the 1700's there were a variety of tax records created. There was a tax on windows, horses, carriages, carts, and dogs

Reference Material[edit | edit source]

Statistical Accounts of Scotland[edit | edit source]

The accounts written by the ministers of each parish offers uniquely rich and detailed parish reports for each parish in Scotland, covering a vast range of topics including history, agriculture, education, trades, religion and social customs.

History[edit | edit source]

Galloway refers to Kirkcudbrightshire, Wigtownshire, and Dumfrieshire. The history of the region is often combined into single volumes.

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

Gordon, Haig. The Kirkcudbrightshire Companion. Kirkcudbright: Galloway Publishing. 2008. 2 sections: Places - 1-9 pages on each community within shire, describing history, key features and people; Themes and Personalities. Indexed. (218 pp)

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Samuel Lewis. Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, (London, England: S. Lewis and Co., 1846), 3 v.: 651, [FHL book 941 E5]. Digitized by FamilySearch International,, (accessed February 27, 2015).
  2. Samuel Lewis. "Kirkcolm - Kirkoswald," in A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, (London, 1846), 98-121. British History Online, (accessed May 27, 2020).
  3. Samuel Lewis. Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, (London, England: S. Lewis and Co., 1846), 3 v.: 651, [FHL book 941 E5]. Digitized by FamilySearch International,, (accessed February 27, 2015)