Kirkmahoe, Dumfriesshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Dumfriesshire, Scotland Gotoarrow.png Kirkmahoe

Parish  #835

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


KIRKMAHOE, a parish, in the county of Dumfries, 3½ miles (N.) from Dumfries containing the villages of Dalswinton, Duncow, and Kirkton. The appellation of this parish is of doubtful origin; but it is supposed to have been derived from the position of its ancient church in a valley, or near the course of the river Nith. The church, erected in 1822, is a handsome structure, rendered pleasing and picturesque by the foliage in the churchyard and its vicinity. There was a meeting-house at Quarrelwood, belonging to the Cameronian Presbyterians; but it has been abandoned.[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 Kirkmahoe.  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[low quality link]for a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the for the census records of Kirkmahoe.

Below is information for any known surname indexes:


Years Surname Index       
1841 941.48/K2 X22 1841
1851 941.48/K4 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: 1726-1854 1067965 item 2-4
Marriages: 1725-1763 1067965 item 2-4
Deaths: 1729-1747, 1800-1818 1067965 item 2-4
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 November 1748–August 1753; June 1759–February 1762. After 1763 no regular record appears to have been kept until September 1797; but at that part there are eleven pages containing irregular entries of whole families registered together dated 1771–1818.
Marriages: There are no entries November 1748–March 1753; June 1759–February 1762. Entries for February 1757–December 1763 are among the births for the same time period. Except two entries for 1811 and one for 1817 there is no record after December 1763.
Deaths: Record is Mortcloth Dues until 1747. There are no death entries 1747–January 1800 and none for December 1803–January 1818, except one for 1811. The record ends December 1818.
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 1748–1941
Poors’ Accounts 1795–1858
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH2/431.

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.


Quarrelwood Reformed, later Kirkmahoe Free Church

A congregation existed in the area from very early. At the division of the whole Cameronian Church into the Northern and Southern congregations in 1763, it formed an original part of the latter. In 1781 the district was divided into two separate congregations and this was part of the eastern section. In 1798, a church was built in the village of Quarrelwood, which was considered the center of the congregation until 1832. At that time the center of the congregation was moved to Dumfries and the Quarrelwood church was used as a preaching station. (See Dumfries parish.) At the Disruption in 1843, a probationer, non–ordained minister, secured the use of the old church at Quarrelwood. Here he conducted services for adherents of the Free Church from the parishes of Torthorwald, Tinwald, and Kirkmahoe. The charge was sanctioned in February 1844. The new church was built in 1845 and reconstructed in 1864–1865. A hall was added in 1891. The church was again renovated in 1894. Declining population told seriously on the membership.
Membership: 1848, 186; 1900, 158.
Source: The Reformed Presbyterian Church in Scotland, by W.J. Couper, pub. 1925. FHL book 941 K2c. Also, 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 sources including ministers.

Minutes 1844–1927
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH3/356.

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

Kirkmahoe 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. 98-121. Adapted. Date accessed: 20 March 2014.

Return to the Dumfriesshire parish list.