Leslie, Fife, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #444

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


LESLIE, a parish and manufacturing town, in the district of Kirkcaldy, county of Fife; 9 miles (N. by W.) from Kirkcaldy, and 20 (N.) from Edinburgh. This place is by some writers supposed to have derived its name from the Gaelic Lis, a garden, or richly-cultivated spot, and from its situation on the river Leven. The church situated in the centre of the parish, is a neat and substantial edifice, with aspire, erected in 1820, and adapted for a congregation of nearly 1000 persons. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church and United Secession.[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 http://edina.ac.uk/stat-acc-scot/. Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for Leslie. 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 census records.

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

Year Family History Library Film Numbers Surname Indexes
1841      Missing None
1851 1042269 941.33 X22f
1861 0103831 CD-ROM no. 2524
1871 0103994 None
1881 0203528 6086574 (8 fiche)
1891 0208763 None

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 indexes through the library.

Church Records

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 Years Covered Family History Library Film Number
Births: 1600-1644 1040386 items 1-4
1673-1819 1040188 items 3-5
1820-1854 1040386 items 1-4
Marriages: 1613-1644 1040386items 1-4
1729-1750, 1761, 1779-1786 1040188 items 3-5
1787-1819 (proclamations), 1820-1839, 1848-1854 1040386items 1-4
Deaths: 1761-1786 (Mortcloth dues) 1040188 items 3-5
1787-1819, 1820-1837 (burials) 1040386 items 1-4
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: No entries August 1678–March 1682. Record 1718–1763 is kept in the form of a small memorandum book. Irregular entries occur throughout. Mother's names are not recorded until February 1685.
Marriages: Prior to 1761 in the form of a memorandum book. No entries (except one for 1755 and two for 1761) December 1750–March 1779, from which date until there are 1838 entries of proclamations only.
Deaths: Mortcloth Dues where indicated above.
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 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 1690–1705, 1713–1869
Accounts 1801–1817
Scroll Minutes 1820–1825
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/696.

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.

Leslie West Associate Secession Anti-burgher Church

The Leslie parish minister had cooperated with the Four Brethren who founded the Secession and it was expected that he would secede. However, when he did not, and when he openly criticized the Brethren, several of the parishioners withdrew from the Established Church. Those residents in the southern parts of the parish joined the Seceding congregation of Abbotshall while those in the northern parts joined with others from surrounding parishes in the formation of the First Seceding Congregation of Leslie. In 1739 they applied to the Associate Presbytery to be taken under their inspection, which was granted. Members were drawn from the parishes of Leslie, Markinch, Kinglassie, Portmoak, Falkland, and Auchterderran. They built a church in 1744 and a new one in 1861. At the Breach in 1747, the majority of the congregation adhered to the General Associate Anti-burgher Synod.
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 Numbers
Baptisms 1742–1808      0889477 item 2, and 0304672 item 3
Baptismal Register 1849–1956
Various Minutes 1739–1839, 1846–1909
Communion Rolls1849–1899
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/319.

Leslie East, Trinity Secession Burgher Church

This congregation originated at the Breach in 1747 with the minority of the West Congregation who adhered to the Associate Burgher Synod. About 1752 the members from Falkland were disjoined from Leslie and annexed to the Auchtermuchty Burgher congregation. The following year those members on the east side of the parish were disjoined and annexed to the Kennoway congregation. This left the Leslie congregation too weak to remain on its’ own, so the members joined with the Kirkcaldy congregation. When the parish of Leslie became vacant in 1758, those parishioners who objected to the new minister withdrew from the Established Church and joined with the Leslie Seceders. This enlarged group then petitioned the Associate Burgher Presbytery of Perth and Dunfermline for supply of sermon which was granted in 1761. Attempts to take the church building back from the Anti-burgher congregation failed and a church was built in 1771. A new church was built in 1859.
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.

No known pre-1855 records. There are some Post-1855, CH3/318.

Leslie Free Church

At the Disruption the adherents of the Free Church here formed a congregation and worshipped in the Original Secession Church until their own church, in Murray Place, built in 1844 was ready for occupation. They were ministered to by Mr. Laird, who, engaged by Mr. Fergus the proprietor of Prinlaws Mill, had been working at Prinlaws, Leslie. Until his settlement in October Mr. Fergus generously continued his salary. The manse was built in 1850. A new church on High Street was erected in 1879.
Membership: 1848, 272; 1900, 227.
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 including ministers.

Session Minutes 1843–1917
Deacon’s Court Minutes 1844–1902
Account Book 1844–1917
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/317.


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

Leslie was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Dunkeld 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 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' of Fife 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 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. 157-175. Adapted. Date accessed: 01 May 2014.

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