Fearn, Angus, Scotland Genealogy
This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Fearn. To learn more about how to use these records to search for your ancestors, go to the Scotland: Research Strategies.
FEARN, a parish, in the county of Forfar, 8 miles (W.) from Brechin. The word Fearn, signifying in the Gaelic language "an alder tree," appears to have been used in the present instance on account of the numbers of that tree growing in the parish or neighbourhood. The church, built in 1806, stands on the summit of a natural mound, in the middle of a dene, and is conveniently situated for the population.
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 http://edina.ac.uk/stat-acc-scot/. Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for [parish]. Also available at the Family History Library.
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 Fearn as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:
|| Family History Library Film Number
|| Surname Indexes|
||941.31 X22a1851 v. 1-6|
|| 6086580 (12 fiche)|
The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. 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.
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||Record Type||Family History Library Film Number|
|Births:||1762-1854||0993428 item 2|
|Marriages:||1803-1806||0993428 item 2|
||1846-1854||0993428 item 2|
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: There is one entry for 1739 in the record for 1766. There is no entry for 1775 and the records are extremely irregular for 1788–1803. There are only four entries December 1815–February. 1819. Mothers' names very seldom recorded before 1781.
Marriages: Marriage records are blank December 1806–1846.
Deaths: There are two death entries for 1793 recorded on the page after the marriages of 1806.
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 and Accounts 1771–1781
Poors’ Accounts 1781–1800, 1801–1809, 1812–1845
Minutes 1784–1797, 1802–1822 - with gaps
Mortcloth Dues 1790–1809
Minutes and Roll of Communicants 31 July 1837
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/995
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.
No known nonconformist groups.
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 Registration Records
Fearn was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Dunkeld until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Dundee. Probate records for 1513- 1901 are indexed online at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. 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 Dunkeld.
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.
- Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 499-514. Adapted. Date accessed: 5 June 2014.
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