Perthshire, Scotland Genealogy
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Guide to Perthshire ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.
Perthshire is an inland and a most extensive county, nearly in the centre of Scotland, bounded on the north and north-west by Inverness-shire, on the east by the county of Forfar, on the south-east by the counties of Fife and Kinross, on the south by the Firth of Forth and the counties of Stirling and Clackmannan, on the west by Argyllshire, and on the south-west by the county of Dumbarton. It is about 77 miles in length and 68 miles in extreme breadth, comprising an area of 5000 square miles or 3,200,000 acres.
For centuries the city of Perth was the residence of the Scottish kings until the reign of James III (1460-1488), and the abbey of Scone, from a very early period to a comparatively recent date, continued to be the place of their coronation. It was anciently divided into nine districts, all of which were stewartries under the jurisdiction of the great landholders to whom they gave title, but which, since the abolition of heritable jurisdictions, have ceased to be under any peculiar authority.
The county comprised 69 parishes, besides parts of other parishes. Two sub-sheriffs reside respectively at Perth and Dunblane. For civil purposes, the county is divided into nine districts. Perth is the county town and a royal burgh, along with Culross. There are eleven other populous towns or villages, several of which are burghs of barony, and other places.
The population of the county in 1851 was 137,390.
(Source: Samuel Lewis' Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, 2nd ed., 1851. FHL book 941 E5L.)
Many census records have been indexed by surname. Some indexes cover one parish (and will be listed in the Wiki on the parish page) and some indexes are for the county as a whole. The Family History Library has county-wide census placename indexes for Perthshire) for 1881. Click here for other census indexes available at the library.
- ScotlandsPeople, index, images, free index, pay per view ($)
- Scotland Census, 1841, no images. Also at MyHeritage, index, ($). Also at FindMyPast, index, ($). Also at Ancestry.com, index, ($).
- Scotland Census, 1851, no images. Also at MyHeritage, index, ($). Also at FindMyPast, index, ($). Also at Ancestry.com, index, ($).
- Scotland Census, 1861, no images. Also at MyHeritage, index, ($). Also at FindMyPast, index, ($). Also at Ancestry.com, index, ($).
- Scotland Census, 1871, no images. Also at FindMyPast, index, ($). Also at Ancestry.com, index, ($).
- Scotland Census, 1881, no images. Also at FindMyPast, index, ($). Also at Ancestry.com, index, ($).
- Scotland Census, 1891, no images. Also at FindMyPast, index, ($). Also at Ancestry.com, index, ($).
- Scotland Census, 1901, index and images, ($). Also at FindMyPast, index, ($). Also at Ancestry.com, index, ($).
- Scotland Census, 1911, index and images, ($).
- 1658 - 1919 - Scotland Church Records and Kirk Session Records, 1658-1919 at FamilySearch — index
Civil Registration or Statutory Registers
For details on information found in statutory registers and other methods of searching them, see Scotland Statutory Registers - Vital Records.
Here is a list of historic parishes in the county of Perth with their parish numbers. Click on a parish name to see information about records. Click on this link for an outline map of the parishes of Perthshire.
The Red Book of Perthshire: Author: Gordon A. MacGregor: Collection of documentation on all families who helpd lands in Perthshire.
Most of the county of Perth is in the Sheriff's court of Perth (SC49). The Registers of Deeds for Sheriffs' courts contain much valuable information for family history research such as marriage contracts and deeds of 'disposal and settlement' (or assignment) of property, which both give names and relationships. The Registers of Deeds of Perth are the earliest in Scotland, surviving from 1570.
The marriage contracts found in the Perth Registers of Deeds for 1687-1809 were extracted, indexed, and published in 1978 by eminant genealogist Gerald Hamilton-Edwards. The index is available at various repositories in Perth, at the National Archives in Edinburgh, and at the Family History Library (FHL book 941.32 P28sc).
Probate records are those which deal with the settlement of the estate of a deceased person. In Scotland, until 1868, a person could only pass movable property such as household furniture, farm equipment, livestock, money and clothes through a document known as a 'testament. Immovable property such as land was passed to the eldest son or heir through a document known as a 'Service of Heir,' which is not a record of probate. Read more about Scotland Probate Records.
Until 1823, the parishes in roughly the north half of Perthshire were under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Dunkeld (CC7). The parishes in much of the south half of the county were under the jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Dunblane (CC6). Two dozen parishes in the eastern portion of the county were under the jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of St, Andrews (CC20). Since 1823, most of the county has been under the jurisdiction of the Sheriff's Court of Perth (SC49) while parishes in the southwest have been under the Sheriff's Court of Dunblane (SC44). For a breakdown by parish, see the parish pages in the Wiki.
Probate records for 1513-1901 (including inventories of goods) 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 thelibrary catalog for the 'Place' of Perth (county) and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the appropriate Commissariat court.
The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Perthshire. Look for then in the same way in the library catalog.
4 Fir Lane
Larbert, FK5 3LW
Scotland North Perthshire Family History Group
Tay Valley Family History Society
179 - 181 Princes Street
Tel: +44 (0)1382 461845
Scottish Genealogy Society
15 Victoria Terrace
Phone-0131 220 3677
- Perthshire Resources and help pages on RootsChat Perthshire Resources and help pages. (Free).
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