Abercorn, West Lothian, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #661

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

History[edit | edit source]

ABERCORN, a parish, in the county of Linlithgow, 5½ miles (E. by N.) from Linlithgow; containing the villages of Newtown and Philipstown. This place, which derives its name from its situation at the influx of the small river Cornie into the Frith of Forth, is of very remote origin. The church, a very ancient building, was enlarged at the time of the Reformation; it is an irregular building, previously affording very indifferent accommodation, but in 1838 was thoroughly repaired. There is a place of worship for members of the Free 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 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[edit | edit source]

A census record is a count and description of the population, taken by the government, arranged by locality and by household. Read more about Scotland Census Records.

Click here[low quality link] to see the Family History Library Catalog entry for the census records of Abercorn, as well as the catalog entry for the 1881 census surname index for West Lothian.

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.

Church Records[edit | edit source]

The Established Church of Scotland was Presbyterian. Read more about Scotland Church Records.

Here are the pre-1855 records that exist for this parish.

Established Church—Old Parochial Registers[edit | edit source]

Event type Years Covered FHL Film Number
Births: 1585-1753 1066610

1753-1854 1066611 items 1-3
Marriages: 1620-1644 1066610

1646-1855 1066611 items 1-3
Deaths: 1645-18550 1066611 items 1-3

Condition of Original Registers—[edit | edit source]

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 no entries May 1593–February 1599, October 1611–November 1613, and December 1629–January 1632. The lower portion of a page at 1663 and two at 1665 is cut off. There is only one entry for December 1681–January 1684. Before 1700, there is one page containing irregular entries for 1692–1732 and irregular entries are again frequent from 1797–1803.
Marriages: Entries prior to 1644 are intermixed with births for the same period. There are no entries for December 1644–January 1646. There are only three entries for March 1662–January 1669. There are no entries for December 1681–August 1684 and October 1688–January 1690, only one for March 1699–March 1700, and none for February 1803–October 1808. After 1808 the record contains proclamations rather than marriages.
Deaths: There are no entries for May 1661–April 1700. The fee paid for the Mortcloth is usually added to the entry.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session Records[edit | edit source]

The Kirk session was the court of the parish. The Kirk 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 1691–1736, 1751–1803, 1808–1908
Poor Fund Accounts 1700–1799
Pauper and Kirk Session Accounts 1832–1902
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/370.

Nonconformist Church Records[edit | edit source]

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.

Abercorn Free Church[edit | edit source]

The congregation was formed in 1843 when the parish minister adhered to the Free Church. In 1878 the congregation was reduced to the status of a preaching station. Between 1887 and 1890 it was united with South Queensferry and was called Abercorn, South Queensferry. After that date only Abercorn remained.
Membership: 1848, 80; 1900, 112.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. FHL Film #918572. More details may be given in the source.

Session Minutes 1843–1896
Deacons' Court Minutes 1849–1934
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1498.

Civil Registration Records[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

Abercorn was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Dunkeld until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Linlithgow. 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' of West Lothian, and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Dunkeld.

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for West Lothian. Look in the Library Catalog for the 'Place' of Lothian and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.' 

Read more about Scotland Probate Records.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 1-23. Adapted. Date accessed: 17 April 2014.

[Return to the West Lothian parish list.]