Holywood, Dumfriesshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Dumfriesshire, Scotland Gotoarrow.png Holywood

Parish  #830

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



HOLYWOOD, a parish, in the county of Dumfries, 3 miles (N. N. W.) from Dumfries. It is uncertain when the present name was first applied to this parish; but the Oak forest which once overspread the ground, and the Druidical temples situated here, leave no doubt as to its origin. The church was built in 1773, and thoroughly repaired in 1821. It is a neat building with a square tower, and well adapted for accommodation, but inconveniently situated, being eight miles distant from a part of the population: it contains 600 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 Holywood.  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 Holywood.

Below is information for any known surname indexes:


Years Surname Index           
1841 941.48/H1 X22d 1841
1851 941.48/H2 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: 1745-1854 1067963 item 3-4
Marriages: No entries
Deaths: No entries
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: Irregular entries are frequent about 1794–1810 with whole families often being recorded together. One page of whole families being recorded together for 1768–1816 is entered after the June 1814 entries. Mothers' names are not recorded before 1810.
Marriages: There is only one entry dated November. 1807.
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.


Ecclefechan Associate Session, later United Presbyterian Church

Ecclefechan is a village in the parish of Hoddam, Annandale. The parish of Hoddam is bounded on the north by the parish of St. Mungo. In 1735 the parishioners of St. Mungo gave a call a particular man to be their pastor, while the crown, as patron, presented another man to the vacant charge. The case was litigated through the church courts, and finally settled in 1736 by the General Assembly deciding in favor of the patron's presentee. Several of the parishioners refused to submit to the incumbent's ministry, and finding a number of sympathizers in the adjoining parishes, they united with them in a petition to the Associate Presbytery for supply of sermon, which was granted. They were called the "Correspondence of Annandale" and their usual place for meeting was at Ecclefechan, but occasional meetings were held at other places, to which particular reference is made in the history of Lockerbie congregation, with which that of Ecclefechan is identified until 1746. In that year the Presbytery appointed Mr. Murray, who had been ordained over "The Correspondence of Annandale" three years before, but had recently been confining his public ministrations almost wholly to Lockerbie, to preach a few Sabbaths in the summer time in the Ecclefechan district. But this attempt of the Presbytery to reconcile the people proved unavailing. The controversy respecting the Burgess Oath had now begun to agitate the Church, and when the Breach resulting from it took place, the majority of the people in and about Ecclefechan adhered to the Associate Burgher, while the greater portion of those in and about Lockerbie adhered to the General Associate Antiburgher Synod, and thus became separate congregations. Those forming the congregation of Ecclefechan worshiped in the open air until 1766, when they took possession of a church they had built for themselves. A new church was opened in 1864.
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.

                                                                        FHL Film Number
Session Minutes            1797–1814                      1484432 item 4–6
Managers Minutes          1769–1780                     1484432 item 4–6
Baptismal Register         1813–1839, 1842–1843    1484432 item 4–6
List of Members             1826–1831                      1484432 item 4–6
Seat Recent Account for 1769                               1484432 item 4–6
Session Minutes 1868–1906
Manager's Minutes 1851–1915
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH3/108. See also below.

Ecclefechan, Eskdale Free Church

After the Disruption regular supply was arranged for the adherents of the Free Church here, provision for a preacher for a year having been offered by a private family. Some who thought to join the Free Church sought guidance from the parish minister. "The movement is right," he said, "but it goes too far." "Too much of right", they replied "could not be," and they followed their convictions. By the month of October 1843, from 500 to 800 were attending the services. A wooden church was erected. The charge was sanctioned in 1845. A stone church and manse were built. Later, a new church, with vestry and hall, was erected on the site of the second.
Membership: 1848, 160; 1900, 103.
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.

                                                                             FHL Film Number
Session Minutes                1845–1913                     1484432 item 4–6
Baptismal Register             1843–1848, 1861–1914    1484433 item 1–2
Deacons Court Minutes     1887–1915
School Log Book              1867–1873
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH3/109.

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

Holywood 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. 539-555. Adapted. Date accessed: 20 March 2014.

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