Old Meldrum, Aberdeenshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Old Meldrum

Parish #229

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


MELDRUM, a burgh of barony and a parish, in the district of Garioch, county of Aberdeen; 17 miles (S. S. E.) from Turriff, and 17¾ (N. N. W.) from Aberdeen. This place, anciently called Bethelnie, is supposed to have derived that appellation, signifying in the Hebrew language "the House of God," from the erection of a church at a very early period, and which at that time was the only religious edifice within a very extensive district. Its modern name, which is of Celtic origin, implying "the ridge of a hill," appears obviously to have been derived from the general acclivity of the surface, which towards its northern extremity attains a very considerable degree of elevation. The church, an ancient structure erected in 1684, and repaired and reseated in 1810, is centrically situated, and contains 700 sittings. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church and United Secession, and an episcopal chapel.[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 your parish of interest. 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 Old Meldrum as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

FHL Film Number
Surname Indexes
6086502 (12 fiche)

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 the separate 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 FHL Film Number
Births: 1713-1854 0993351
Marriages: 1752-1854 0993351
Deaths: 1748-1754 0993351

1801, 1831-1854 0993351


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: Record prior to 1775 appears to have been kept with care. Two families 1717–1738 are recorded on three pages at December 1738. A number of incomplete entries occur in the record, and after 1775, irregular entries are frequent. Mothers’ names are not recorded.
Marriages: This record has been carefully kept.
Deaths: Deaths and Burials, after August 1752, there are only 2 entries 1754, 1801, until 1831. Record is blank 1839–1843.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.
Monumental Inscriptions: FHL book 941.25/O2 V3s.

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:

Accounts 1747–1829, 1847–1876
Duguid Bequest, Charity School, Register 1799–1885
Minutes 1724–1752, Doctrine and Discipline, 1752–1772
Burnet’s Mortification Accounts 1847–1855
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/1146.

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.

Old Meldrum United Secession Church

This congregation originated with members of the congregation of Craigdam, resident in and about the town, who, partly for convenience and partly for the sake of securing evangelical preaching, applied for disjunction from Craigdam. In anticipation, they built a church in 1822 but they were not granted disjunction until 1825.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618. More details are given in the source.

Congregational Roll 1825–1863
Ledger, Treasurer’s Book 1853–1879
Other post-1855 records
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1168.

Old Meldrum Free Church

The minister of the parish, and most of his congregation, “came out” in 1843. Church, manse, and school were forthwith erected. This was the largest purely rural congregation in Aberdeenshire. In a declining population, the congregation maintained its proportion of members.
Membership: 1848, 520; 1900, 394.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Film #918572. More details are given in the source.

No known surviving records.

Old Meldrum Episcopal Church

This congregation may have existed since the Revolution. The chapel was built in 1813.
Source: History of the Scottish Episcopal Church, by John P. Lawson, pub. 1843. No copy is available in the FHL.

The extent of Records is unknown. Write to:
The Rectory
Old Meldrum
Inverurie AB51 0AD

Old Meldrum Society of Friends, Quakers

This was associated with the very active 17th century meeting at Aberdeen. There existed at about 1789 “a fund for upholding the meeting house at Old Meldrum.” The meeting was discontinued in 1810.
Source: The Quaker Meeting Houses of Britain, vol. 2, by David M. Butler of the Friends Historical Society. FHL Book 942 K24bd, vol. 2.

For Records, see Aberdeen parish, page 18.

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 Old Meldrum was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Aberdeen until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Aberdeen. 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 Aberdeen and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Aberdeen. The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Aberdeen. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Aberdeen 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. 499-514. Adapted. Date accessed: 19 June 2014.

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