Inch, Wigtownshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #886

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


History[edit | edit source]

INCH, a parish, in the county of Wigton, 2½ miles (E.) from Stranraer containing the hamlets of Aird, Cairnryan, and Lochans. This place, which is of great antiquity, and distinguished for its lochs, appears to have derived its name from an island in the loch of Castle-Kennedy, which was called the Inch, an appellation corrupted from the Celtic word Inis or Ynis, signifying "an island." The parish of Inch formerly comprehended a part of that of Stranraer and the whole of Portpatrick. The chief village is Cairnryan is distant seven miles from the parish church. The church, built in 1770, and capable of accommodating 400 persons, occupies a beautiful situation adjoining the picturesque woods and lake of Castle-Kennedy.[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  Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for Inch. Also available at the Family History Library.

Census Records[edit | edit source]

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.

Click here[low quality link] to go to the Family History Library Catalog entry for the census records of Inch.  The Family History Library also has a surname index for the 1841 census of Inch as well as a surname index for the 1881 census of the whole of Wigtonshire. 

The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on   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 indexes through the library.

Church Records[edit | edit source]

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]

Years Covered Family History Library Film Number
Births: 1729-1854 068036 items 7-8
Marriages: 1729-1854 068036 items 7-8
Deaths: 1843-1847 068036 items 7-8
Condition of Original Registers—[edit | edit source]

Index: 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 be indexed in the
Births: Entries are often out of chronological order. There is one page of irregular birth entries, 1753–1783, recorded after marriage for March 1809. Entries are duplicated September 1810–May 1813. Mothers' names are rarely recorded until August 1802.
Marriages: The first page of marriages is damaged and there is a portion of most of the entries that are destroyed. In the case of irregular marriages, the fact of marriage is seldom added to the entries until 1817 except for a period 1737–1748 inclusive.
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 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 and Accounts 1730–1881
Accounts - Income 1842–1858
Claims for Aliment 1845–1847
Communion Roll 1836–1878
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/637.

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.

Inch Free Church[edit | edit source]

In June 1843 supply was arranged for Inch and Cairnryan. In January 1844, Inch was sanctioned as a separate charge. Church and manse were built soon after the Disruption. Many farmers in the parish supported the church. The membership was reduced by the formation of the station at New Luce.
Membership: 1848, 270; 1900, 129.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Film #918572. More details may be given in the source

Records—                                       Family History Library Film Number
Baptisms and Deaths   1845–1878    0889487 item 5
Marriages:  1845–1892                     0889487 item 5
(Includes some marriages of persons not members of the congregation)
Minutes 1843–1875
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/557.

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]

Inch was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Wigton until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Wigton.  Probate records for 1513- 1901 are indexed online at   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 Inch and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Wigton.

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Aberdeen. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Aberdeen and the subjects of  'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'

Read more about Scotland Probate Records.

[edit | edit source]

  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 555-584. Adapted. Date accessed: 06 March 2014.

Return to the Wigtownshire parish list.