Leswalt, Wigtownshire, Scotland
This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Leswalt. To learn more about how to use these records to search for your ancestors, go to the Scotland: Research Strategies.
LESWALT, a parish, in the county of Wigton, 4 miles (N. W.) from Stranraer. The name of Leswalt is of doubtful origin, but is supposed to signify "the meadow along the burn." There are two villages, Clayhole and Hillhead, forming a part of the suburbs of Stranraer. The church, built in 1828, contains 550 sittings. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship.
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 Leswalt. Also available at the Family History Library.
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 Leswalt. The Family History Library also has a surname index for the 1841 census of Leswalt as well as a surname index for the 1881 census of the whole of Wigtonshire.
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.
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 Records—Old Parochial Registers
|Years Covered||Family History Library Film Number|
|Births:||1729-1854||1068038 items 3-4|
|Marriages:||1729-1854||1068038 items 3-4|
|Deaths:||1729-1843||1068038 items 3-4|
Condition of Original Records—
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 for 1753 and only one for 1755 and 1757. Six entries 1767–1782 are recorded after March 1783 entries. There are only two entries October 1783–January 1786. Entries for 1784–1790 are on the page at March 1789. After May 1804 is a copy of the record from February 1756, which is continued after 1804 as the principal register. After 1797, in the copy is found two pages of irregular entries 1767–1822. Mothers' names are not recorded in birth records until 1798.
Marriages: There are no entries December 1739–March 1741 and April 1748–January 1790, except five entries, 1751–1752. There are, however, occasional entries of proclamation fees between 1729–1740 and 1755–1777 among the Mortcloth Dues for the same period. There are no marriage entries from April 1797–April 1798.
Deaths: Burials are Mortcloth Dues until 1778 and there are no entries 1738–1756. No entries 1778–1816 after which deaths are recorded.
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 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 and Accounts 1778–1843
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/882.
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.
Leswalt Free Church
Thomas B. Bell, minister of Leswalt, one elder and many of the congregation came out in 1843. The church was built that year; also a school and teacher's house. Manse was built in 1862. The hall was erected in 1881. The congregation suffered through rural depopulation.
Membership: 1848, 272; 1900, 144.
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
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/855.
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.
Leswalt 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 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-names' of Wigtown 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.
- Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 157-175. Adapted. Date accessed: 06 March 2014.
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