Arbirlot, Angus, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Angus Gotoarrow.png Arbirlot

Parish #271

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


ARBIRLOT, a parish, in the county of Forfar, 2½ miles (W.) from Arbroath; containing the village of Bonnington. This place appears to have derived its name, a contraction of Aber-Elliot, from the river Elliot, which runs into the sea a little below its eastern boundary. The church, rebuilt in 1832, is an elegant structure, situated on the bank of the Elliot, and containing about 640 sittings. A place of worship has been erected by members of the Free 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 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 Arbirlot, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Year Family History Library Film Number Surname Indexes
1841     1042671 fiche 6203961 (set of 4)
1851 1042128 book 941.31 X22a no. 277
1861 0103786 none
1871 0103938 none
1881 0203472 fiche 6086580 (set of 12)
1891 0208697 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

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 Family History Library Film Nunber
Births: 1632-1819 0993329
1820-1854 0993330
Marriages: 1652-1819 0993329
1820-1854 0993330
Deaths: 1633-1670 0993329
1746-1754, 1819 0993329
1710-1739 0993330
1820-1854 0993330
 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: The records are blank for January 1639–April 1644 and June 1671–September 1708. The Mothers’ names are not recorded until 1708.
Marriages: Records prior to 1668 are intermixed with other matters. The record for June 1668–April 1709 is blank.
Burials: The record is blank from April 1670–October 1746 except for entries of Mortcloth Dues 1710–1739, and blank February 1754–February 1819.
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 1623–1686, 1702–1975
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/271

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.

Arbirlot Free Church

The parish minister and many of his people "came out" in 1843. In 1854 they obtained a site and church and manse were erected.
Membership: 1848, 245; 1900, 97
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.

Session Minutes 1843–1907
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/441

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

Arbirlot was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of St.Andrews until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Dundee. 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 Angus and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of St.Andrew.

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Angus. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Angus 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. 499-514. Adapted. Date accessed: 30 May 2014.

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