Abernethy, Perthshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Perthshire Gotoarrow.png Abernethy

Parish #326

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


ABERNETHY, a burgh and parish, partly in the district of Cupar, county of Fife, but chiefly in the county of Perth, 3 miles (W. S. W.) from Newburgh; containing the village of Aberdargie. This place, originally called Abernethyn, a word signifying "the town upon the Nethy," is supposed, by some, to have derived its name from the small stream flowing through the centre of the parish, and denominated Nethy from the old British term neith, or nid, implying a "turning" or "whirling stream." The church, built in 1802, is a plain but commodious edifice, containing 600 sittings. There are places of worship belonging to the Free Church and United Associate Synod, and another at Aberdargie connected with the Relief Church.[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

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 Abernethy, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

FHL Film Number
Surname Indexes
6086646 (6 fiche)

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

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

Record Type Years Covered FHL Film Number
Births: 1690-1733 0993511

1749-1854 0993511
Marriages: 1690-1727 0993511

1783-1794 0993511
Deaths: 1690-1727 0993511

1783-1794 0993511


Condition of Original Registers—

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: Births prior to 1702 are generally recorded in parallel columns of the register with marriages and deaths. After 1702 births are recorded separately. There are no entries, except two for January 1734–January 1749. Mothers' names are not recorded.
Marriages: Proclmations are recorded with Mortcloth Dues until 1727. There are no entries for 1727–1783, after which marriages and burials are recorded. The record ends at March 1794, except one entry for 1823.
Deaths: Morthcloth Dues are recorded with proclamations until 1727. There are no entries for 1727–1783, after which marriages and burials are recorded. The record ends September 1794.
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 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 1690–1702, 1748–1800, 1809–1891
Baptismal Register 1855–1906
Marriage Registers 1845–1952
Accounts 1801–1903
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/743.

Roll of Male Heads of Families

An 1835 list of male heads of families in this parish can be found here.

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 Lists.

First Abernethy Associate later United Presbyterian Church

This congregation originated in the secession of the minister of the parish of Abernethy from the Established Church in 1733. The great majority of his congregation also seceded. Seceders in the parishes of Forgandenny, Rhynd, Dron, Newburgh, Abdie, Collessie, Auchtermuchty, and Strathmigio, also became members of this congregation. The minister, and the majority of his congregation, adhered to the General Associate Anti-burgher Synod at The Breach in 1747. Six congregations have been formed, in whole or in part, out of the first Associate congregation of Abernethy.
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.

Minutes 1744–1905
Baptisms 1744–1949
Accounts 1823–1859
Register of Small Accounts 1761–1766, 1780–1910
Signatures to Covenant 1744–1811
Managers' and Congregational Minutes 1826–1924
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/687.

Second Abernethy Church, extinct by 1873

In 1769, Mr Alexander Perie, the associate minister of the First Church, was accused of teaching false doctrine and was ejected from the General Associate Anti-burgher Synod. He began a ministry at Blairlogie. In 1778, after petitioning the Relief Synod to be received into connection with it, and having been refused, he withdrew from Blairlogie. He removed to Newburgh, near Abernethy, and formed a congregation there, upon Independent principles. Most of his former adherents had returned to the Secession Church during his absence. The few who held out joined his congregation at Newburgh until it became extinct.
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.

Extent of pre-1855 records is unknown.

Abernethy Free Church

Those adhering to the Free Church in Abernethy met the Sabbath after the Disruption, in Drumhead barn for worship. The congregation was at once organized and a church was built.
Membership: 1848, 152; 1900, 184.
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.

Minutes 1845–1951
Deacons’ Court Minutes 1843–1854
Accounts 1843–1858
Communion Rolls 1846–1857
Other post-1855 records
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/686.

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

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

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Perthshire. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Perthshire 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. 23-45. Adapted. Date accessed: 02 May 2014.

Return to Perthshire.


Sites of Historical Interest

Several sites of historical significance can be seen in Abernethy.  Round Tower in Abernethy, a Category A site, is a one of two left standing in Scotland and can be accessed by borrowing a key from the Tea Room or Museum of Abernethy.  [Check before going to the Museum as it was only open at certain times.]

Information related to its history is located on the websites: 





NRAS859 Douglas-Home Family, Earls of Home 13th century-20th century http://www.nas.gov.uk/onlineRegister/ - search "round tower"
Correspondence, reports, newscuttings and legal papers concerning Round Tower at Abernethy, its history and Lord Home's claim to it as his private property
Dates 1890-1903