Scoonie, Fife, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Fife Gotoarrow.png Scoonie

Parish #456

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


SCOONIE, a parish, in the district of Kirkcaldy, county of Fife, 9 miles (N. E.) from Kirkcaldy; containing the town of Leven. This place, which is of considerable antiquity, and of which the church at a very early period was granted by Malduin, bishop of St. Andrew's, to the Culdees of Lochleven, was formerly in part the property of the family of Gibson, who held the lands of Durie. The old church, situated about a quarter of a mile from Leven, was for some time a ruin. The present church, erected in 1776 near the town, and repaired and enlarged in 1823, is a neat and well-arranged edifice adapted for a congregation of 996 persons. There are places of worship for Independents, the Free Church, and Relief Church.[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 Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for Scoonie. 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 Scoonie as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Year FHL Film Numbers Surname Indexes
1841      1042704 book 941.33 X22s; films 1145982-3; CD-ROM no. 1075
1851 1042272 941.33 X22f
1861 0103832 CD-ROM no. 2524
1871 0103995 None
1881 0203531 6086574 (8 fiche)
1891 0208767 None

The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on 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 FHL Film Number
Births: 1675-1819 1040339 items 3-5
1819-1854, 1842 and 1851 (neglected entries) 1040190 item 1
Marriages: 1667-1702, 1755-1766, 1770-1792 (proclamations), 1793-1819 1040339 items 3-5
1820-1854 1040190 item 1
Deaths: 1673-1682, 1765-1766 (burials), 1770-1792 (Mortcloth dues), 1040339 items 3-5
1817-1819 (burials) 1040339 item 5
1819-1854 (burials), 1837-1843 (burials for Leven) 1040190 item 1
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: Births are incomplete 1716–1718. After the record for May 1760, there are six pages of irregular entries dated 1740–1786. Then there follows a copy of the record of births December 1755–March 1760 with continuation. There are no entries March 1761–October 1765 and December 1768–March 1770 from which date to 1792 births are mixed with marriages and deaths in one record. There are no entries July 1783–September 1788. There is a separate register from December 1783 which is continuous. There are irregular entries 1792–1804 inclusive. After 1819 there are six entries, one family 1814–1827.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. FHL 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 1626, 1640–1655, 1718–1759, 1764–1781, 1798–1813
Cash Book 1687–1717
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/326.

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.

The Statistical Account for 1836 states that there were 827 dissenters in the parish of whom communicants were 410. There were 2 Episcopalians and 62 who attended no church. The total population of the parish was 2640, of whom 2163 lived in Leven.]

Leven Relief Church

In 1830, sermon was supplied for a number of persons in Leven who were desirous of obtaining it from the Relief Presbytery of Dysart, and a hall was rented as a temporary place of worship. The congregation numbered more than 200. A church was built in 1831, with seating for 650. A new church was built in 1871.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618.

Baptisms 1834–1960
Various Minutes 1833–1914
Communion Rolls, dates are unknown, likely pre-1855
List of Young Communicants 1846–1853
Seat Rent Accounts 1832–1846
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/474.

Leven Free Church

This congregation was formed of those who Acame out” of Scoonie Church in 1843. A church was built and opened in December following. A new church was erected in 1871. The old church was sold, and converted into the Town Hall. In 1897 the Bain Hall was gifted to the congregation by David Bain of Bellevue Cottage, the last survivor of the original contributors to the first Free Church in Leslie. In 1867 a number of members joined the new congregation in Buckhaven and in 1893 several associated themselves with the church opened in Methil and the development of the coal industry, the population of the district greatly increased.
Membership: 1848, 280; 1900, 453.
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.

Minutes 1843–1910
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/758.

Leven Congregational Church

A church was formed in Leven in 1804. A chapel was built in North Street in 1825. The cause was always a small and struggling one and the church ceased to meet in 1860.
Source: A History of Scottish Congregationalism, by Harry Escott, pub. 1960. FHL book 941 K2es. The source includes a list of ministers.

The extent of pre-1855 records is unknown. For information write to:
The United Reformed Church, Scottish Synod Office
PO Box 189
240 Cathedral Street
Glasgow G1 2BX

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

Scoonie was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of St. Andrews 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  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 St. Andrews.

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. 445-461. Adapted. Date accessed: 02 May 2014.

[Return to the Fife parish list.]