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Aberdour, Fife, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #401     

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

History[edit | edit source]

ABERDOUR, a parish, in the district of Dunfermline, county of Fife; including the island of Inchcolm, and the village of Newtown; 8 miles (S. W.) from Dunfermline. This place takes its name from its situation at the mouth of the Dour. The parish, which is bounded on the south by the river Forth. The church, erected in 1790, and repaired in 1826, is a plain building. There is a place of worship for members of the Free Church.[1]

The parish name, in Gaelic, signifies 'the mouth of the water,' referring in this instance to a rivuulet which empties itself into the Forth, a little below the village.  The number of acres may be about 5000.  The parish is divided by a ridge of hills running nearly from east to west.  The north part is cold and bleak and the south part is much more kindly in both soil and climate.  The parish stretches along the shore of the Forth for more than two miles.

Anciently the parish belonged to the monastery of Inchcolm founded about the beginning of the twelfth century. 

The population of the parish in 1811 was 1302, in 1821 was 1489, in 1831 was 1751, and in 1841 was 1891.  There are two saw mills and an iron mill within the parish. 

The number od Dissenting or Seceding families within the parish is about 70.  There is one Episcopalian family and one Roman Catholic family.  There are four schools in the parish.

The above extract is from the account written in February 1843.

Source:  The New Statistical Account of Scotland, for Fife.  FHL book 941 B4sa, 2nd series. vol. 9.  

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 you are interested in. 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 Aberdour as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Year FHL Film Number Surname Index
1841    1042699 book 941.33 X22s; films 1145982-3; CD-ROM no. 1075
1851 1042252 941.33 X22f
1861 0103825 CD-ROM no. 2524
1871 0103986 None
1881 0203516 6086574 (8 fiche)
1891 0208746 None

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 the separate 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: 1663-1854 1040144 items 3-5
Marriages: 1669-1854 1040144 items 3-5
Deaths: 1658-1659, 1816-1854 1040144 items 3-5

Condition of Original Register[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 information may be indexed in the or in other FamilySearch collections for Scotland.
Births: There are no birth entries January 1689–February 1691. Mother's names are not regularly recorded until about 1763.
Marriages: There are only transcribed entries of contracts prior to December 1669 and no entries July 1682–October 1702.
Deaths: Except for burial entries of the Earl of Morton family, 1739–1848, on one page after the marriages for 1819, the record is blank from October 1669–April 1790. There are Mortcloth Dues, 1790–December 1816, after which deaths and burials are recorded.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. FHL British Book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session Records[edit | edit source]

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 1649–1682, 1697–1930
Accounts 1790–1866
Register of Distribution to the Poor 1658–1676
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/3.

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.

Aberdour Free Church[edit | edit source]

This congregation was organized immediately after the Disruption in 1842.
Membership: 1848, 318; 1900, 117.
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 including list of ministers.

Various Minutes 1843–1940
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/784.

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]

Aberdour was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Dunkeld until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Fife at Cupar. 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' of Fife and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Fife.

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Fife. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place' of Fife 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. 23-45. Adapted. Date accessed: 24 April 2014.

[Return to the Fife parish list.]