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Carnbee, Fife, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #413

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

History[edit | edit source]

CARNBEE, a parish, in the district of St. Andrew's, county of Fife, 2 miles (N. N. W.) from Pittenweem. The ancient church has been replaced by a neat structure, erected in 1794.[1]

This parish seems to have borne the same name in Roman Catholice times when it was attached to the Abbey of Dunfermline.  The name is derived from two Gaelic words, carn and bee, the first signifying birch and the second hill. The parish is crossed by two major and one lesser turnpikes.  The parish is divided north to south by a high ridge.  The soil of the southern half is well suited to cultivation but the soil of the northern half is better suited to pasture.  The parish is well supplied with springs of excellent water.  Coal is found at several places and there are at present two collieries---one at kellie and another at Cassingray.  Limestone is also found and wrought at various places, and there are several excellent freestone quarries.  There are two corn (grain) mills and one lint mill in the parish.  The parish is strictly agricultural and there are 32 farms ranging from 40 to 390 acres.

The church is not central, being near the eastern extremity of the parish.  It was built in 1793 and seats about 500.  The chapel at Largo Ward affords accommodation to the inhabitants of the north-west part of the parish.  There has not hitherto been any dissenting meeting-house in the parish, the few Dissenters who reside within the bounds of the parish attend the Relief chapel at Pittenweem or the Burgher chapel at Largo Ward.  A Free Church meeting-house is at present begin erected at Arncroach.  There is one parochial, one private, and one female school. 

The above extract is taken from the account written in December 1844.

Source: The New Statistical Account of Scotland, for Fife. Family History Library book 942 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 Carnbee as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Year Family History Library Call Number Surname Index
1821      book 941.33 B4f, no. 20, pages 20-31 See note below
1831 book 941.33 B4f, no. 20, pages 32-43 See note below
1841 film 1042700 book 941.33 X22s; films 1145982-3; CD-ROM no. 1075
1851 film 1042253 book 941.33 X22f
1861 film 0103826 CD-ROM no. 2524
1871 film 0103988 None
1881 film 0203518 6086574 (set of 8 fiche)
1891 film 0208749 None

(NOTE: The 1821 and 1831 census extracts and indexes give the names of heads of households only.  However, they also give the number of males and females in the household as well as the residence and occupation of the head.)

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 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 Family History Library Film Number
Births: 1646-1674, 1693-1819 1040152 items 2-3
1820-1855 1040153items 1-2
Marriages: 1646-1699 1040152 items 2-3
1705-1726 1040153 items 1-2
1726-1752, 1761-1819 1040152 items 2-3
1820-1848 1040153 items 1-2
Deaths: 1672-1699, 1782-1819 1040152 items 2-3
1820-1854 1040153 items 1-2

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 records may also be indexed in other FamilySearch collections for Scotland.
Births: Births are intermixed with marriages until 1654. There are no entries October 1654–January 1662, October 1674–October 1692; September 1698–January 1701 and November 1704–Jul 1705. Mother's names are not recorded until 1692.
Marriages: There are contracts of marriage prior to 1654. No entries, except entries of indirect reference to marriages, June 1654–July 1669. Contracts and marriages were recorded 1669–1684. There are no entries June 1684–May 1687, from which date there are contracts until 1699. No entries October 1699–July 1705, May 1752–September 1761, December 1781–November 1783, from which date the marriages again occur among the births. Entries are fuller after 1786.
Deaths: Mortcloth Dues are intermixed with other matters until 1760. There are no entries 1699–1706 and 1760–1784. Burials are recorded 1784–1786, then no entries until December 1790 from which date they are deaths.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. Family History Library British Book 941 K23b.

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

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 and Accounts 1742–1748
Minutes 1817–1860
Accounts 1761–1847
Cash Book 1847–1929
Note: Available at St. Andrews University Library, St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland, record CH2/1032.

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 Lists.

Carnbee Free Church[edit | edit source]

In April 1844 supply was arranged for this district, and a church was built, and opened in 1845. A manse also was provided. Partly on account of efforts to unite Pittenweem with this congregation, the charge was not sanctioned until 1851.
Membership: 1855, 74; 1900, 64.
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.

Minutes 1852–1929
Cash Book 1817–1929
Note: Available at St. Andrews University Library, St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland, record CH3/1030.

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]

Carnbee 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 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 librarycatalog 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. 163-185. Adapted. Date accessed: 25 April 2014.

[Return to the Fife parish list.]