Tarves, Aberdeenshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Aberdeenshire Gotoarrow.png Tarves

Parish #243 (and Barthol)

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


TARVES, a parish, in the county of Aberdeen, 17 miles (N. N. W.) from Aberdeen including the village of Craigdam. The level appearance and fertility of this place are supposed to have led to the adoption of its present name, derived from two Gaelic words. The church was built in 1798, and repaired and improved about 1823; it is a spacious and comfortable edifice, accommodating 870 persons with sittings. There is a place of worship for Seceders at Craigdam.[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 Tarves, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Years FHL Film Numbers Surname Indexes
1841     1042668 none
1851 1042123 none
1861 0103785 none
1871 0103937 none
1881 0203466 6086502 (12 fiche)
1891 0208690 none

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.  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: 1672-1854 0993300
Marriages: 1679-1854 0993300
Deaths: 1721-1730 0993300
1748-1854 0993300
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.  The records may be indexed in the International Genealogical Index.
Births: No entries February 1684–April 1686, and only one entry January 1699–January 1701. Before January 1721 occurs a leaf of irregular entries 1724–1739. After June 1756, irregular entries 1752–1767; and after September 1797, several pages of irregular entries dated 1738–1802. Mothers’ names recorded after January 1731. There is a copy of the record for 1780–1788 included in vol. 1.
Marriages: Records are blank September 1695–November 1701, and December 1703–May 1705. There are only two entries December 1740–February 1743. They are blank September1755–July 1757, and July 1764–April 1767. There is only one entry for 1780, and one August 1795–July 1801.
Deaths: Transcribed entries of Mortcloth Dues to 1730. Records are blank September 1730–December 1748, when a register of burials commences. Records are blank July 1764–February 1767 and there is a scroll of burial records 1789–1826.
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 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:

Minutes 1662–1688, 1701–1738, 1785–1827, 1827–1852, 1852–1879, with accounts
Cash Book 1756–1757, few leaves, 1767–1770, 1778–1786 with some minutes
Accounts 1813–1847
Heads of Families 1834–1846, with gaps
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/344.

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.

New Leeds United Presbyterian Church

This congregation originated in the missionary operations of the United Associate Presbytery of Stewartfield. It opened as a mission station in1831. The congregation was organized in 1843. The first church was built in 1832, and the second built 1853.
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.

No known Records.

Strichen Free Church

Two elders and many of the congregation of the parish church “came out” at the Disruption. Services in connection with the Free Church were begun in June 1843. A church was erected in 1843–1844, and a manse in 1850. In 1890 the church was found to be insecure. A new church on a more convenient site was erected in 1894.
Membership: 1848, 184; 1900, 177.
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.

FHL Film Number
Baptisms 1843–1933 1886479
Minutes 1843–1890 1886479

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

Tarves 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: 20 June 2014.

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