Dryfesdale, Dumfriesshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Dumfriesshire Gotoarrow.png Dryfesdale

Parish  #820

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


DRYFESDALE, a parish, in the county of Dumfries, 14 miles (N. N. W.) from Annan; containing the town of Lockerbie. This parish derives its name from the Dryfe, a small rivulet running through the north-west part of it. It is situated in the middle of the beautiful and extensive valley called the How of Annandale, and is bounded on the south and west by the river Annan. The church, built in 1796, and altered in 1837, stands on a small eminence on the west side of the main street of Lockerbie, a little north from the centre of the town; it is handsomely fitted up, and seats 900 people. There is an Antiburgher meeting-house at Lockerbie.[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 Dryfesdale.   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 Dryfesdale. 

Below is information for any known surname indexes:


Years Surname Index           
1841 941.48/D6 X22
1851 941.48/D4 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

Years Covered FHL Film Number
Births: 1732-1854 1067958
Marriages: 1782-1786, 1834-1854 1067958
Deaths; 1783 and 1833 1067958
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: After January 1763, irregular entries are on six pages dated 1749–1786. Between 1785 and 1803 the record is extremely irregular with respect to dates, whole families are recorded together. Eighteen entries for 1790–1818 are recorded after 1819 entries. Mother's names are not recorded in regular entries before 1783 and sometimes omitted after that date.
Marriages: No entries except two 1818 and 1821, November 1786–February 1834.
Deaths: Two transcribed entries, 1783 and 1833, are recorded after the birth entries for 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:

None 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.

Lockerbie Anti-burger Associate later United Presbyterian Church

There were a number of people in the Annandale area who, at the rise of the Secession, acceded to the Associate Presbytery. They were then known as "The Societies of the South and West." After the accession of the Seceders in Hoddam and neighborhood, by whom the congregation of Ecclefechan came afterwards to be formed, these societies were divided into "The Correspondence of Annandale," and "The Correspondence of Nithsdale." The first meeting–places of the Seceders were at Borlain in 1738, and Cousten and Shaw in 1739. When they were about to call a minister, a dispute arose among the members of the correspondence as to the regular place of meeting. The Presbytery decided that the house for public worship be built at North Croft.

The minister was ordained at Ecclefechan two years before a place of worship was provided for the congregation, and he continued to preach there more frequently than elsewhere for a time. In July 1745, a petition was presented to the Presbytery by members of "The Correspondence of Annandale," resident in its northern bounds, craving that Lockerbie be appointed the seat of the congregation. Those of them resident in the southern district were strongly hostile to this proposal; but the Presbytery decided, not withstanding, that the place of worship should be in Lockerbie, and the church was erected there in 1745. Second church built, 1810.
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 1744–1751, 1762–1773, 1802–1934
Subscriptions to National Covenant 1748–1810
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH3/792.

Lockerbie Free Church

The minister of the parish, with a large congregation, "came out" in 1843. Church and manse were erected that year. A hall was added at a later date.
Membership: 1848, 440; 1900, 397.
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.

Session Minutes 1846–1924
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH3/330.

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

Dryfesdale 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 library catalog for the 'Place-names' 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-names' 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. 280-297. Adapted. Date accessed: 14 March 2014.

Return to the Dumfriesshire parish list.