Tough, Aberdeenshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #244

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


TOUGH, a parish, in the district of Alford, county of Aberdeen, 5 miles (S. E. by E.) from Alford. This place is situated partly in the northern and western portions of the Corrennie range, or "Red hill," and partly in the vale of the river Don, occupying that extension of it called the Vale of Alford. The church, containing 550 sittings, is a handsome edifice, built in 1838, and conveniently situated for the larger part of the people.[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 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 Tough 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 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: 1706-1854 0993302 item 1
Marriages: 1783-1790 0993302 item 1

1706-1742 0993302 item 1

1836-1854 0993302 item 1
Deaths: 1734-1803 0993302 item 1

1834-1854 0993302 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: Records are blank except one entry, May 1712–July 1721. The fly leaf of vol. 1 contains irregular entries1733–1765. Many irregular entries are recorded about 1760. Records are blank except two entries, October 1771–February 1773, and only two entries August 1805–March 1807. Irregular entries are frequent throughout. There is an appendix of omitted entries, 1771–1823, after the record for 1819. There is also a copy of record 1782–1792. Mothers’ names are not recorded until July 1766.
Marriages: Prior to 1742, marriages are mixed with other matters. They are blank except for a few entries 1759–1760, November 1742–April 1783. There are only two entries November 1784–May 1788 and none June 1789–June1790. They are blank except two entries 1797, November 1790–1836.
Deaths: Records are deaths until 1790 and deaths and burials after 1792. Entries prior to 1752 are somewhat irregular in point of dates. Records are blank 1752–December 1783, December 1790–January 1792, and March 1803–1834. Many of the entries in this record contain information respecting the history and connections of the deceased persons, which may prove both interesting and valuable to their descendants.

Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.
Monumental Inscriptions: FHL Book 941.25/T3 V3e.

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 1783–1845
Poor’s Accounts 1751–1752
Contributors to Fund for Buying the Bell of Tough 1735
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/356.

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.

Tough Lynturk United Presbyterian Church

This congregation originated with members of the Established Church who took offence at their minister. They applied for and obtained supply of sermon from the Associate Burgher Presbytery of Perth and Dunfermline in 1763. Their first place of worship was built in 1764, a second in 1791, and a third in 1866. All three churches were built on different sites but all were on the estate of Lynturk. The congregation was originally referred to as the United Congregations of Lynturk and Banchory, but the name was changed to Tough in 1769.
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 surviving pre-1855 Records.

See also Keig parish.

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

Tough 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 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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