Alves, Moray, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #125

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

History[edit | edit source]

ALVES, a parish, in the county of Elgin, 5 miles (W.) from Elgin, on the road to Inverness; containing the hamlets of Coltfield and Crook. The church, built in 1769, is a long narrow edifice, containing sittings for 590 persons. There is a place of worship in connexion with the Free Church.[1]

There is no mention made of the origin of the parish name. The boundary of this parish is irregular, especially towards the north. It includes about one mile of the coast of the Moray Frith, half way between Burghead and Findhorn; and for about a mile and a half inland, the parish is confined to a mile in breadth by Duffus on the east, and Kinloss on the west, along the sea coast; after which, it extends in breadth, east and west, about 5 and one half miles. The south boundary is the ridge of the hill of Pluscarden, which is about 6 and one half miles from the sea. On the south, Alves joins the ladward part of the parish of Elgin; on the east, the parish of New Spynie; on the north, the parish of Duffus, the coast of the Moray Frith, and part of the parish of Kinloss; on the west, it joins the parishes of Kinloss and Rafford. Until the year 1659 or 1660, Alves included a large portion of what now forms the adjoining parish of Kinloss.

The greater part of the land within the parish is still held by the descendants of the ancient families, whose rights were granted or confirmed by Royal authority. There are six land-owners, viz. the Earl of Moray; the Trustees of the late James Earl of Fife; Henry Joseph Brodie Dunn, Esq. married to the heiress of Milton Brodie; James Campbell Brodie, Esq. of Lethen and Coulmony; Major L. Cumming Bruce of Rose Isle and Kinnaird; and Alexander Forteath, Esq. of Newton. The proprietors of Milton Brodie and of Newton usually reside in the parish.

The nearest market-towns are Elgin on the east, and Forres on the west. There is no village within the parish.

While Alves included a large portion of Kinloss, the population must have greatly exceeded its present amount. Even after that time, the number of inhabitant within the present boundaries of the parish had been for several generations much greater that what it is now. The population in 1755 was 1691, 1798 was 1111, 1811 was 922, 1821 was 947, and by 1831 it was 945.
The language generally spoken is the Scotch, and Gaelic is not spoken except by strangers.

The church is conveniently situated, being not far from the center of the parish; and not more than three miles from any of the habitats.  The church was built in 1769, and as was usual at that time in country churches, it is long and narrow…75 feet by 25…not the most desirable structure either for the speaker or hearers. There are sittings for about 590 persons. Each farmer has a certin number of seats, rent free, assigned t him by his landlord. These he occupies with his family, servants, and cottars.

The parochial register of the kirk-session is preserved from the year 1649, down to the present time. The manuscript has been somewhat injured by damp and smoke. But the greater part can be read. The registers of marriages and baptisms are also preserved.

There are only four or five families of Dissenters in the parish; they are connected with the Dissenting congregations Elgin.

This account was written October 1835.

Source: The New Statistical Account of Scotland for Alves, Family History Library book 941 B4sa, 2nd series, vol. 13.

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 Edina.  Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish you are interested in. Also available at the Family History Library.

A Brief History of the Parish of Alves.  A history of the parish of Alves, illustrated with hand drawn maps of the parish about 1700 and in 1850. Article in The Lands and People of Moray. pt20, 2005 pages 1-13. Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt. 20.

Census Records
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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 Alves, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Family History Library Film Number
Surname Indexes
6086568 (2 fiche)

The 1901 and 1911 census of Scotland is indexed on Scotlands People. To use it, you must register and pay a small access fee. All available censuses, 1841-1911, 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.

Crook of Alves, Easter Alves, Kirktoun of Alves, Inchstellie and Carsewell.  A brief history of these farms and villages, with a list of some of the pre - census inhabitants giving name, date, relationship.  Illustrated with a facsimilie of a receipt of Fen Duty, 1642, an interior plan of the old church of Alves 1735, a family tree of the Spens family of Kirktoun of Alves, and had drawn maps of Kirktoun of Alves and Crook about 1750 and Village of Crook of Alves about 1837. Article covers years 1642-1852. The Lands and People of Moray. pt. 20, 2005, pages 14-38. Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt.20.

Newton, Ardgye, Carden and the Knock of Alves. A description of Newton and Ardgye and lands with a list of some pre-census inhabitants, giving name, date, residence, relationship - illustrated with hand drawn maps of Newton and Ardgye about 1750, village of Ardgye c. 1785 and the lands of Ardgye about 1842. Article covers years 1730-1848. The Lands and People of Moray. pt. 20. 2005. pages 39-47, Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt.20.

The Southeast, including Cloves, Monaughty and New Alves. A brief history of the area including a list of some of the pre-census inhabitants, illustrated with a had drawn map of monaughty and Cloves in 1769. Years covered 1637-1852.  The Lands and People of Moray, pt. 20, 2005, pages 48-56, Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt 20.

The Southwest including Toreduff, Asleisk and Kilbuiack. A brief description of the area, including a list of some of the pre-census inhabitants. Illustrated with a Brodie family tree, and a hand drawn map of Asleisk and Kilbuiack about 1750. Years covered 1372-1852. The Lands and People of Moray, pt. 20, 2005, pages 57-63. Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt 20.

Wester, Alves, Earnside, Gateside, Newmill and Morayscairn.  A brrief history of this area with a list of some pre-census inhabitants giving name, date, relationship, illustrated with facsimile of Rentals in Earnside 1740, and a hand drawn map of the lands of Wester Alves and Earnside about 1750, Article covers years 1544-1852 The Lands and people of Moray. pt.21, 2005. pages 14-24. Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt. 21.

Coltfield. Same as above including and drawn map of the lands of Coltsfield about 1750, Cavoers years 1650-1850 The Lands and People of Moray 941.23 pt.21, 2005. pages 25-31, Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt 21.

Hempriggs. Same as above, but including a facsimile of documents from the Baron Court 1711-1714.  Hand drawn map of Hempriggs about 1750, a Dunbar Family Tree 1611-1725, and a facsimile of horse tax records, 1797. Article covers years 1590-1852. Article in The Lands and People of Moray, pt. 21, 2005, pages 32-40. Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt 21.

Milton Brodie, Windyhills. Same as above, with a list of pre-census inhabitants, Hand drawn map of the lands of Windyhills about 1750. The Lands and People of Moray pt. 21. 2005. pages 41-45, Family History Library Ref. 941023 H2b pt. 21.

Church Records
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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[edit | edit source]

Record Type Years Covered Family History Library Film Number
Births: 1648-1700, 1705-1854 0990986
Marriages: 1648-1854 0990986
Deaths: 1663-1700, 1713-1715 0990986


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 of these records may be indexed and searchable on

Births: Except for one entry in 1702, there are no records for October 1700–January 1705.
Marriages: There are no entries for January 1648–January 1649, December 1700–March 1708, and November 1709–July 1716, except for 1801–1802. There are none for June 1778–January 1810 and November 1813– February 1819.
Deaths: There are no entries for April 1674–June 1678 and May 1693–May 1696. There are four entries for 1713–1715 on the last page of the register.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. Family History Library British Book 941 K23b.

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

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 1649–1700, 1716–1737
Treasurer’s Accounts 1716–1732
Minutes 1703–1710, 1737–1770, 1748–1751 (these records are damaged.), 1753–1838
Accounts 1732–1756
Poor Account Including Discipline 1805–1843
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/11.

Monumental Inscriptions[edit | edit source]

The Kirkyard of Alves in Moray has been indexed by the North-East Scotland Family History Society.

Family History Library 

Online listing is available through the: Aberdeen and North-East Scotland Family History Society

A copy of the booklet is available through The Family History Library

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.

Alves Free Church, later United Free and then Church of Scotland[edit | edit source]

In the face of hostility from landed members, the minister and most of his congregation adhered to the Free Church in 1843. Eventually a church and manse were erected.
Membership: 1848, 102; 1900, 78.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843 1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Family History Library Film#918572. More details are given in the source.

Family History Library Film Number
Session Minutes 1843–1871 1482989 item 4
Session Minutes 1871–1931
Deacons’ Court Minutes 1844–1903
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/14.

Civil Registration Records
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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.

Land and Property[edit | edit source]

Probate Records
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Alves was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Moray until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Elgin. Probate records for 1513- 1901 are indexed online

Scotlands People. 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 Moray and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Moray.

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Moray. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Moray 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. 499-514. Adapted. Date accessed: 26 June 2014.

Return to Moray parish list.