Kirkcolm, Wigtownshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #887

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


History[edit | edit source]

KIRKCOLM, a parish, in the county of Wigton, 6 miles (N. by W.) from Stranraer. The word Kirkcolm is evidently corrupted by usage from Kirk-Columba, a name at first applied to the church, which was dedicated to St. Columba, and afterwards used as a proper name for the parish. Kirkcolm forms a small peninsula, being bounded on the north and west by the sea; on the east by the bay of Loch Ryan; and on the south by the parish of Leswalt. The church is a commodious and substantial edifice, accommodating 650 persons; it was built in 1824, and is in good repair.[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 Kirkcolm. Also available at the Family History Library.

Census Records[edit | edit source]

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.

Click here[low quality link] to go to the Family History Library Catalog entry for the census records of Kirkcolm.  The Family History Library has a surname index for the 1841 census of Kirkcolm as well as a surname index for the 1881 census for the whole of Wigtonshire.

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[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

Years Covered FHL Film Number
Births: 1779-1854 1068037 items 1-2
Marriages: 1791-1854 1068037 items 1-2
Deaths: 1794-1854 1068037 items 1-2
Condition of Original Registers—[edit | edit source]

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: The original record appears to have begun about 1790, but prefixed to it are four pages of irregular entries, dated 1779–1814 with one entry for 1775. After 1819 there is a copy of the record in which the irregular entries seem to be incorporated in chronological order.
Marriages: There are proclamations of banns, in duplicate.
Deaths: Burials; there is only one entry before January 1796. Original record is blank May 1812–January 1818 and ends October 1818, but there is a copy, in which the blank is only May 1812–March 1815 with three entries under 1815 and which is continued as the principal register.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b

Established Church—Kirk Session Records[edit | edit source]

The Kirk session was the court of the parish. The session was made up of he 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 1822–1884
Communion Roll 1834–1952
Sabbath School Library Subscribers Book 1849–1862
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/788.

Nonconformist Church Records[edit | edit source]

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.

Kirkcolm Free Church[edit | edit source]

Supply of sermon was arranged for the congregation here from July 1843. Church and manse were built in 1844–1845 on a site granted by Sir Andrew Agnew of Lochnaw.
Membership: 1848,165, 1900, 137.
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

FHL Film Number
Baptisms: 1843–1854 0304671 item 14
Minutes 1849–1950
Deacons' Court Minutes 1850–1936
Communion Rolls 1844, 1854–1855
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/198.

Civil Registration Records[edit | edit source]

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 Registrationfor more information and to access the records.

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Kirkcolm was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Wigtown until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Wigtown.  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-names' of Kirlcolm and the subject of  'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Wigtown.

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Wigtown. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Wigtown and the subjects of  'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'

Read more about Scotland Probate Records

[edit | edit source]

  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 98-121. Adapted. Date accessed: 06 March 2014.

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