Portpatrick, Wigtownshire, Scotland Genealogy
This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Portpatrick. To learn more about how to use these records to search for your ancestors, go to the Scotland: Research Strategies.
- 1 History
- 2 Census Records
- 3 Church Records
- 4 Other Records
- 5 Civil Registration Records
- 6 Probate Records
- 7 References
PORTPATRICK, a burgh of barony, sea-port, and parish, in the county of Wigton, 6½ miles (S. W.) from Stranraer, and 34 (W.) from Wigton. This place derives its name from an ancient chapel dedicated to St. Patrick. The town is finely situated on the western shore of the peninsula formed by the bay of Luce and Loch Ryan, and is nearly opposite to the town of Donaghadee, on the Irish coast, from which it is only twenty-one miles distant. The old church, erected in 1628, was a cruciform structure with a circular belfry turret, and contained 300 sittings; but it was in very indifferent repair, and a new church was built. 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 Portpatrick. 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 Portpatrick. The Family History Library also has a surname index for the 1841 census of Portpatrick 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—Old Parochial Registers
|Years Covered||Family History Library Film Number|
|Births:||1720-1854||1068040 items 1, 3-4|
|Marriages:||1720-1854||1068040 items 1, 3-4|
|Deaths:||1783-1818||1068040 41 items 1, 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 be indexed in the FamilySearch.org
Births: There are no entries November 1724–August 1727, April 1730–June 1733, and October 1735–June 1737, except one. There are no entries December 1752–April 1745, except one for 1753. The records are irregular and incomplete 1745–1782 inclusive. The pages of the record for 1790–1819 are subscribed by the minister.
Marriages: There are no entries February 1730–October 1733, 1736, 1739, 1742, and January 1753–November 1765, except a few, 1739. Entries are somewhat irregular as to dates about 1753–1766. Names of witnesses are often added to the entries after 1779 and the pages after 1773 are certified by the minister.
Deaths: There are no death or burial entries August 1785–August 1817, except one for 1813. The record ends August 1818, except for one for 1841.
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:
Communion Roll 1832
List of Male Heads of Families 1834–1841
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/686.
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.
Portpatrick Free Church
Andrew Urquhart, two elders, and most of the congregation came out in 1843. The handsome church they had newly erected was taken from them. They worshiped for a time on the green near the shore. The church was built, and opened in the winter of 1843. A manse was erected in 1846. After being thrice renovated the original church was replaced by a new building in 1887. A new manse was built in 1891. Portpatrick declined in population after the mail steamers for Ireland ceased to start from the port. After 1880, however, the place grew in popularity as a summer resort.
Membership: 1848, 220; 1900, 226.
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.
The extent of records is unknown.
Entries Relating to Irish Persons in the Marriage Register of the Parish of Portpatrick, Wigtownshire, Scotland. Entries of marriages, one or both persons shown must have an Irish address covers years 1720-1846, article in The Irish Ancestor, vol.IX,no.2.1977, pages 107-129, Family History Library Salt Lake City Ref. 941.5 B2i v.9
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.
Portpatrick 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 Wigtwon,
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. 367-388. Adapted. Date accessed: 07 March 2014.
Return to the Wigtownshire parish list.