Dumfriesshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Guide to Dumfriesshire County ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.

Dumfriesshire County

History[edit | edit source]

Dumfriesshire is in the south of Scotland, bounded on the north by the counties of Lanark, Peebles, and Selkirk, on the east by Roxburghshire and part of the English county of Cumberland, on the south by the Solway Firth, and on the west by the county of Ayr and the stewartry of Kirkcudbright. It is about fifty miles in length and thirty miles in breadth, compirising 1016 square miles or 650,240 acres. The county includes forty-two parishes, the royal burghs of Dumfries (the county town), Annan, Lochmaben, and Sanquhar, and six towns which are all burghs of barony.

The county has had a colorful history After the departure of the Romans it was occupied by the Northumbrian Saxons and subsequently by numerous emigrants from Ireland who had settled first on the peninsula of Cantyre. During the reign of David I, many of the Norman barons obtained possessions here. Previous to the reign of James VI, the county was often the scene of predatory incursions of the English.[1][2]

ScotlandsPeople: An Important Online Source[edit | edit source]

ScotlandsPeople is one of the largest online sources of original genealogical information. If you are researching UK genealogy, your Scottish ancestry or building your Scottish family tree, they have more than 100 million records to look through.

The comprehensive choice of Scottish records includes:

  • Statutory Registers
  • Old Parish Registers
  • Catholic Parish Registers
  • CPR Others
  • Census
  • Valuation Rolls
  • Soldiers’ Wills
  • Wills & Testaments
  • Coats of Arms

For more detail on record availability, see Guides. For the content guide to what records are on the site, see Guides A-Z. More information on the site, its contents, and instructions for using it can be found in the ScotlandsPeople Wiki article. Indexes may be searched for free, and there is a pay per view fee to see the digitized record.

Census[edit | edit source]

Many census records have been indexed by surname. Some indexes cover one parish (and will be listed in the Wiki on the parish page) and some indexes are for the county as a whole. The Family History Library has county-wide census placename indexes for Dumfriesshire for 1881.  Click here for other census indexes available at the library.

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Civil Registration or Statutory Registers[edit | edit source]

For details on information found in statutory registers and other methods of searching them, see Scotland Statutory Registers - Vital Records.

Refer to the ScotlandsPeople Wiki article.
Images and Indexes Available at ScotlandsPeople Website ($)
Births 1855-1910 ◊ScotlandsPeople Website has indexes to 2012.
Marriages 1855-1935
Deaths 1855-1960

Parishes[edit | edit source]

Some of the Dumfriesshire parish records are indexed in *Dumfriesshire, Scotland, Extracted Parish Records.
This database is a collection of historical parish registers from the county of Dumfriesshire in the country of Scotland. The records in this collection can range in date from the early 1500s to the mid- to late-1800s. The records include baptisms/christenings, burials, marriages, tombstone inscriptions, obituaries, tax lists, wills, and other miscellaneous types of records. Also included are some records from non-conformist churches. You will find interesting phonetic spelling. Some of the records may be in Latin or even a Welsh or Scottish dialect. Due to the nature of the records and because the records were originally compiled by a third party, it is difficult to absolutely verify the completeness and validity of the data.

Here is a list of historic parishes for the county of Dumfriesshire with their parish numbers. Click on a parish name to see information about records. Click on this link for an outline map of the parishes of Dumfriesshire.

Historic Parishes for the County of Dumfries
Parish No. Parish No.
Annan 812 Kirkconnel 834
Applegarth and Sibbaldbie 813a Kirkmahoe 835
Brydekirk 813b Kirkmichael 836
Canonbie 814 Kirkpatrick-Fleming 837
Carlaverock 815 Kirkpatrick-Juxta 838
Closeburn 816 Langholm (formerly Staplegortoun) 839
Corrie -- see Hutton 831 Lochmaben 840
Cummertrees 817 Middlebie 841
Dalton 818 Moffat 842
Dornock 819 Morton 843
Dryfesdale 820 Mouswald 844
Dumfries 821 Penpont  845
Dunscore 822 Ruthwell 846
Durrisdeer 823 St. Mungo  847
Eskdalemuir 824 Sanquhar 848
Ewes 825 Sibbaldbie -- see Applegarth 813a
Glencairn 826 Staplegortoun -- see Langholm 839
Graitney (or Gretna) 827 Tinwald 849
Halfmorton 828 Torthorwald 850
Hoddam 829 Tundergarth 851
Holywood 830 Tynron 852
Hutton (and Corrie) 831 Wamphray 853a
Johnstone 832 Wanlockhead 853b
Keir  833 Westerkirk 854

Directories[edit | edit source]

Courtesy of the National Library of Scotland, Post Office Directories are available online. The directory available for Dumfries and district is:

1911-12: This are available in either PDF format or view-able online.

Court Records[edit | edit source]

The county of Dumfries is in the Sheriff's court of Dumfries (SC15). The Registers of Deeds for Sheriffs' courts contain much valuable information for family history research such as marriage contracts and deeds of 'disposal and settlement' (or assignment) of property, which both give names and relationships. The records are deposited at the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh and are not indexed.

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Probate records are those which deal with the settlement of the estate of a deceased person. In Scotland, until 1868, a person could only pass movable property such as household furniture, farm equipment, livestock, money and clothes through a document known as a 'testament.' Immovable property such as land was passed to the eldest son or heir through a document known as a 'Service of Heir,' which is not a record of probate. Read more about Scotland Probate Records.

Until 1823, the parishes of Dumfriesshire were under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissariot Court of Dumfries (CC5). Since 1823, the county has been under the jurisdiction of the Sheriff's Court of Dumfries (SC15).

Probate records for 1513-1901 (including inventories of goods) 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 Dumfries (county) and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the 'Testaments registers.'

Maps[edit | edit source]

Poorhouse Records[edit | edit source]

NOTE: Workhouses in Scotland were commonly known as poorhouses. For more information on Scottish poorhouses, go to the Scotland Poorhouses, Poor Law, Etc page.

There were three workhouses in this county:

A description with drawings and photos of the workhouses today along with databases of those living there from the 1881 Census are provided on the links above located on the site entitled The Workhouse: The story of an institution... which is owned and operated by Peter Higginbotham.

Societies[edit | edit source]

Scotland Dumfries and Galloway Family History Center
The Secretary
Family History Centre
9 Glasgow Street
Tel- 01387 24809

Reference Material[edit | edit source]

Galloway refers to Kirkcudbrightshire, Wigtownshire, and Dumfrieshire. The history of the region is often combined into single volumes.

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Samuel Lewis. Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, (London, England: S. Lewis and Co., 1846), 3 v.: 651, [FHL book 941 E5]. Digitized by FamilySearch International, FamilySearch.org, https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/216925 (accessed June 20, 2016).
  2. Samuel Lewis. "Dubbieside - Dun," in A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, (London, 1846), 297-310. British History Online, http://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-dict/scotland/pp297-310 (accessed May 24, 2020).