Boharm, Moray, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #128a

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

History[edit | edit source]

BOHARM, a parish, partly in the county of Elgin, but chiefly in that of Banff, 6 miles (W.) from Keith. The original word Bucharin, or Bocharin, from which Boharm has been formed, is said to signify "the bow or bend about the hill." It was correctly applied to this locality, on account of the cultivated part consisting chiefly of a valley, stretching in a circular form around the north, east, and south sides of the mountain of Benagen, which rises abruptly from the Spey river, the boundary line of the district on the west. The church stands nearly in the centre of the parish, and was erected, in the year 1793, upon the boundary line of the old parish and the annexed portion of Dundurcus; it accommodates 700 persons.[1]

The name, Bucharin, Buchar, Boharme, Boharm, is said, to signify in Gaelic “the bow around the hill,” and this is very descriptive of the parish. The parish, as now founded is bounded by Mortlach on the south; by Aberlour on the south-west; by Rothes on the west; by Fochabers or Bellie on the north and north-east; by Keith on the east; and by Botriphinie on the south-east.

There is no market-town or village. Keith, at the distance of six miles east from the center of the parish, is the nearest market-town, and the village of Rothers is about the same distance in the opposite direction.

There are four proprietors of this parish whose families and their respective estates have been held for several generations. William Grant M’Dowal, Esq. has the upper part, consisting of Armdilly, Easter and Wester Gualdwell, Newton, and Auchmadies, together with the Peninsula of Aikenway, in Rothes. John Duff, Esq. of Drummuir, has the farm of Knockan. Patrick Stewart, Esq., has the barony of Auchlunkart, in the middle of the parish, and the Earl of Seafield has the lower end of it, comprising the lands of Balnabriech, Mulben, Muldeary, Cairnty, and Forgie.

The population of this parish in 1801 was 1161 inhabitants, and by 1831, there were 1385 inhabitants in the parish.

The raw produce in the parish consists of potatoes, turnips, hay, corn, oats, barley, and wheat. Sheep are few in numbers, about half of these and Lintons, kept on the skirts of the hills. Swine are kept in considerable numbers. They are fed for six or eight months, till they attain about the weight of six stones each, when they are sold to the curers in the neighboring town of Keith for exportation to London.

The church is situated as nearly as possible in the center of the parish. It stands on the boundary line between the old parish and the annexation from Dundurcos. It was built in 1793, and is in good repair. It affords accommodation for about 700. There are, strictly speaking, no free sittings, the whol sittings being divided among the farms, and annexed to them; but there are no seat-rents and all are well accommodated, in consequence of all holding some land, a farm, a croft, or a kail-yard.

There is no chapel of ease, Government church, or Dissenting meeting-house of any description. All the parishioners, except about 20, belong to the Established Church, and the Episcopalian part of the exception, amounting to one-half of it attend worship generally in the parish church. The other half of the exception consists of one family of Roman Catholics, 5 in number, and 5 Seceders, who worship in Fochabers of Keith.

This account was written June 16, 1842.
Source: The New Statistical Account of Scotland for Boharm, 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

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 Boharm, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

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

The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on scotlandspeople. $ 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
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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


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 two entries on page one of the register. There are no entries for May 1642–April 1647, June 1653–October 1654, and May 1663–July 1669. There is an index to births for 1686–1740. There are no entries for June 1690–July 1692 and July 1699–August 1700. The register was irregularly kept for 1738–1760 and 1777–1782. The portion beginning at 1793 contains many irregular entries of earlier dates and likewise entries extracted from an old tattered register belonging to the parish of Dundurcus, dated 1760–1783 on pages 35 and 21. The register is more regular after 1800.
Marriages: There are no entries for July 1642–January 1647 and January 1663–November 1669; one for 1673; five for November 1685–February 1694; one for September 1698–June 1701; and ten for the years 1752–1756. There are no entries for July 1782–March 1784, August 1785–June 1791, except one for 1790, and April 1798–December 1800.
Deaths: The register was regular for as long as it was kept.
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 1634 1652, 1654 1685
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/1115.

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.

Boharm Free Church[edit | edit source]

After they left the Established Church, the Free Church adherents received services from January 1844 until January 1857 by the minister of Botriphnie. A probationer was then appointed and they built a church in 1857. The charge was sanctioned in 1859. A decline in the congregation reflected a decline in the rural population.
Membership: 1861, 109; 1900, 100.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843 1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Family Histroy Library Film #918572. More details are given in the source.

Baptisms 1844–1856
Minutes 1844–1902
Deacons’ Court Minutes 1851–1916
Communion Roll 1834–1858
Accounts 1843–1909
There are other post-1855 records
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1527.

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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Boharm 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 at scotlandspeople. $ 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 Morya 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: 27 June 2014.

Return to Moray parish list.