Kilconquhar, Fife, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #436

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


KILCONQUHAR, a parish, in the district of St. Andrew's, county of Fife; containing the port of Earlsferry, the market-town of Colinsburgh, and the village of Barnyards, 1½ mile (N. by W.) from Elie. The parish derives its name from its situation at the head of a fresh-water lake, of which the Gaelic term is descriptive. The church, erected in 1821, is a handsome edifice in the later English style of architecture, with a lofty tower, and is adapted for a congregation of 1030 persons. There is a chapel of ease at Largoward, built in 1835, for the accommodation of the northern part of the parish. The parish also contains places of worship for members of the Relief, the Associate Synod, Independents, and Baptists.[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 Kilconquhar. 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.

Here is a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Kilconquhar as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Year Family History Library Film Number Surname Index
1841     1042702 book 941.33 X22s; films 1145982-3; CD-ROM no. 1075
1851 1042268 941.33 X22f
1861 0103829 CD-ROM no. 2524
1871 0103992 None
1881 0203524 6086574 (set of 8 fiche)
1891 0208758 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 Scotland Church Records.

Here are the pre-1855 records that exist for this parish. 

Established Church—Old Parochial Registers

Record Type Years Covered Family History Library Film Number
Births: 1637-1709, 1719-1796 1040385
1796-1854 1040165 items 1-2
Marriages: 1637-1709, 1719-1770 1040385
1770-1855 1040165 items 1-2
Deaths: 1737-1796 (burials) 1040385
1787, 1796-1851 1040165 items 1-2
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: There are no entries May 1709–August 1719 and a duplicate of record 1781–1793. There is an index to births 1781–1805.
Marriages: There are no entries February 1669–May 1673 and June 1709–September 1719.
Deaths: There are burials only until 1754; after that date deaths and burials are recorded. From 1793, entries are generally recorded on alternate pages of the register of births. There is an Index to deaths 1787–1812.
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

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 1637–1773, 1783–1906
Accounts 1822–1953
Baptisms 1838–1854
Proclamation Register 1838–1854
Note: Available at St. Andrews University Library, St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland, record CH2/210.

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.

Kilconquhar United Presbyterian Church, extinct

A praying society in Kilconquhar formed part of the association which met in Radernie. The members of this association became part of the congregation of Ceres upon its formation, 1740 and they and their representatives continued connected with it until the congregation of Kennoway began, when most of them joined themselves to it. About the end of the 19th century the Seceders in the district were increased by a number of families and individuals from other parts of the country settling in it. These consulting together, and agreeing on the propriety of forming a congregation in connection with the denomination to which they belonged, applied for and obtained supply of sermon from the Associate Burgher Presbytery of Perth, 1795. A church was built the same year. After the resignation of the minister in 1858, the congregation lingered for a few years and then was dissolved by the Presbytery of Cupar.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618. More details may be given in the source including minister's names.

The extent of pre-1855 records is unknown.

Colinsburgh Associate and Relief Presbyterian Churches

When an unpopular minister was settled at Kilconquhar in 1760, those in opposition separated and built their own church, connecting themselves with no religious body whatsoever. They attempted to have a minister of their choice baptize their children but he refused unless they had letters of refusal from their parish ministers. By putting the neighboring ministers to this test, he hoped to avoid a schism, but his actions had the opposite effect. Thus the people became Dissenters by compulsion and Relief Dissenters by choice. They built a church in 1768, a second in 1800, and a third in 1844. In 1775 their minister was cut off from the Relief Synod and he and his congregation remained separated from the Synod until 1793, at which time they sought to renew their connection but were refused. The congregation then divided into two parties, one for the minister and the other for the Relief Synod. The Synod received the latter as a forming congregation and this then became the Relief congregation of Colinsburgh. They eventually built themselves a separate church. The former group appears to have eventually become affiliated with the Associate Secession Church.

Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873.Film #477618. More details may be given in the source.

Records—                                                    Family History Library Film Number
Baptisms and Marriages 1765–1801, 1820      1482991 item 3
Session and Managers Minutes, Accounts, etc. 1760–1801, 1820.
Note: Available at St. Andrews University Library, St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland, record CH3/60.

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

Kilconquhar 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 St. Andrews.

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.


  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 22-41. Adapted. Date accessed: 01 May 2014.

[Return to the Fife parish list.]