Caerlaverock, Dumfriesshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Dumfriesshire Gotoarrow.png Caerlaverock

Parish  #815

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



CAERLAVEROCK, a parish, in the county of Dumfries, 5 miles (S. S. E.) from Dumfries containing Sherrington, Bankhead, Glencaple-Quay, and Blackshaws. Different opinions exist in regard to the derivation of the name of this parish, some interpreting the words of which it is composed, "the castle with the buttress jutting out," and others, "the castle close upon the sea," referring to the most prominent historical memorial in the place, the singularly formed and strong fortress called Caerlaverock Castle. It stands near the shores of the Solway Frith. The church, built in 1781, contains 470 sittings.[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 edina.($) 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 Scotland Census Records.

Click here for a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Caerlaverock as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Years Surname Index         
1841 941.48/C1 X22
1851 941.48/C5 X2m 1851
1881 6086550 ( 3 fiche)

The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on scotlandspeople.($)  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 Scotland Church Records.

Here are the pre-1855 records that exist for this parish.

Established Church—Old Parochial Registers

FHL Film Number
Births: 1749-1854 1067957 item 1-2
Marriages: 1753-1819, 1826-1839 1067957 item 1-2
Deaths; 1753-1775, 1826-1854 1067957 item 1-2
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: There are no entries for November 1774–April 1784, except a few irregular entries for 1777–1793 which occur at that part of the record.
Marriages: There are no entries except one for July 1755–July 1758, and for December 1761–January 1764, April 1768–April 1770, and July 1775–October 1816 except two for 1810. The record terminates in 1839
Deaths: There are no entries October 1775–1826 except eight dated 1816–1818.
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:

There are no records available.

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.

Glencaple Free Church

A preaching station was formed in 1854. The church was built in 1856. The congregation was adversely affected by the cessation of boat–building at Kelton and Glencaple, and by the depopulation following agricultural depression.
Membership: 1866, 105; 1900, 78.
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 1845–1914
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH3/901.

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

Carlaverock was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Dumfries until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Dumfries. Probate records for 1513- 1901 are indexed online at scotlandspeople.($)  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 catalog for the 'Place' of Dumfries and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Dumfries.

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Dumfries.  Look in the library catalog for the 'Place' of Dumfries 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: 14 March 2014.

Return to the Dumfriesshire parish list.