Collessie, Fife, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #416

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


COLLESSIE, a parish, in the district of Cupar, county of Fife; including the villages of Edenton, Giffordton, Kinloch, Ladybank, and Monkston; 5½ miles (W.) from Cupar. This place, which is situated on the road from Cupar to Auchtermuchty, is supposed to have derived its name from the position of its village at the bottom of a glen, of which, in the Gaelic language, the term Collessie is significant. The former church, an ancient edifice, being ill adapted for public worship, and too small for the parish, another was erected, a handsome building somewhat in the English style, with a short square tower, and capable of seating 550 persons. There is a place of worship for 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 Collessie as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Year FHL Film Number Surname Indexes
1841      Missing None
1851 FHL 1042254 941.33X22f
1861 FHL 0103826 CD-ROM no. 2524
1871 FHL 0103988 None
1881 FHL 0203518 6086574(set of 8 fiche)
1891 FHL 0208750 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 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

Event Type Years Covered FHL Film Number
Births: 1696-1794 1040155 item 4
1794-1854 1040156 items 1-3
Marriages: 1696-1733, 1750, 1756 1040155 item 4
1794-1854 1040156 items 1-3
Deaths: 1727-1794 1040155 item 4
1723-1773, 1794-1854 1040156 items 1-3

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: Births are intermixed with marriages until 1757. Mother's names are seldom recorded in entries until 1817.
Marriages: There are no entries December 1757–November 1783. There is, however, a separate record containing proclamations December 1696– April 1773.
Deaths: Burials May 1727–January 1817 are recorded on alternate pages of the register of births after which date there is a separate record. Mortcloth Dues 1723–1773 are recorded among the proclamations.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. FHL 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 and Accounts 1696–1733, 1742–1818, 1833–1968
Payment for Seats 1779–1780
Register of Poor 1777–1779
Communion Rolls 1851–1893
Burial Register 1855–1872
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/765.

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.

According to the New Statistical Account of Scotland for 1836, there were no dissenting meeting–houses of any description in the parish, but there are about 80 families of dissenters who went to several places of worship in adjoining parishes.

Collessie Free Church

The minister of the parish, and a considerable congregation came out in 1843. Church, manse and school were erected at Giffordtown. It was at one time intended to unite the congregations of Collessie and Monimail under one minister; but the growth of Ladybank made this impracticable. In 1875 the congregation removed to Ladybank, where a new church had been erected.
Membership: 1848, 190; 1900, 53
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.

Records—                                         FHL Film number
Session Minutes 1843–1885                FHL 1482991
Baptisms and Marriages 1843–1861     1482991 items 4-5
Deacons Court Minutes 1843–1895      1482991 items 4-5

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

Collessie 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 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 librarycatalog for the 'Place' of Fife 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. 200-218. Adapted. Date accessed: 25 April 2014.

[Return to the Fife parish list.]