Whitekirk & Tynninghame, East Lothian, Scotland Genealogy
This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Whitekirk and Tynninghame. 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
- 3.1 Established Church—Old Parochial Registers
- 3.2 Established Church—Kirk Session Records
- 3.3 Nonconformist Church Records
- 4 Civil Registration Records
- 5 Probate Records
- 6 References
WHITEKIRK and TYNNINGHAME, a parish, in the county of Haddington; containing, 3 miles (N.) from Prestonkirk. This place, which comprises the ancient parishes of Tynninghame, Aldhame, and Hamer, united in the year 1761, derives its name of Whitekirk from the appearance of the church of the last parish. The parish is situated at the mouth of the Frith of Forth. The church is a venerable and handsome structure in the decorated style of English architecture, with a square embattled tower, and, occupying an elevated site, forms an interesting and conspicuous feature in the landscape; it is well adapted to the accommodation of the parishioners.
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.
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.
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.
The parishes of Whitekirk and Tynninghame were united in 1761, and from that date the congregation assembled for public worship at Whitekirk.
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
|Event Type||Years Covered||FHL Film Number|
|Births:||1705-1819, 1820-1854||1067862 item 3-5|
|Marriages:||1761-1854||1067862 item 3-5|
|Event Type||Years Covered||FHL Film Number|
|Births:||1695-1776||1067862 item 3-5|
|Marriages:||1695-1759||1067862 item 3-5|
|Deaths:||1749-1750||1067862 item 3-5|
Condition of Original Registers—
Indexed: 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: There are only eighteen entries prior to 1731, the original records previous to that date having been accidentally burnt. Irregular entries not unfrequent after 1800.
Marriages: Perhaps the lack of marriage records prior to 1761 may be explained by the following statement made in the New Statistical Account of Scotland for the parish 1835: “The schoolmaster’s house at Whitekirk was burnt in the year 1760, and the session register previous to that date destroyed.” Records are blank May 1773–May 1776 and there is only one entry December 1793–May 1795. The precise date at which the records for the United Parish begin does not appear.
Births: The leaf at 1746 is imperfect. The record ends March 1776.
Marriages: There is only one entry December 1748–May 1751. Record terminates May 1759.
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:
Tynninghame Kirk Session
Minutes 1615–1694, 1699–1760
Accounts 1717–1762, 1793–1800
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/359.
Whitekirk Kirk Session
Minutes 1691–1756, 1760–1823, 1827–1893
Heritors’ Minutes and Accounts 1786–1822
Cash Books 1808–1852
Communion Roll 1853 includes attendances tabulated from 1832–1875
Notes: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/371.
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.
There are none. The New Statistical Account of Scotland for the parish 1835 states that there were then 16 or 17 Dissenting families within the combined parishes, who would have attended services in neighboring parishes.
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.
Tynninghame was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Edinburgh until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Haddington. 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 East Lothian and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Edinburgh.
The library also has some post-1823 probate records for East Lothian. Look in the library catalog
for the 'Place-names' of East Lothian 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. 588-608. Adapted. Date accessed: 10 April 2014.
Return to the East Lothian Parish list.