Kinloss, Moray, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #138

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

History[edit | edit source]

KINLOSS, a parish, in the county of Elgin; containing the village of Findhorn, 2 miles (N. E.) from Forres. This place derives its name from the Celtic words Ceann-loch, signifying "the head of the bay," and descriptive of its situation on the border of Burgh-Head bay, in the Moray Frith, by which it is washed on the north. The church was built in 1765, and thoroughly repaired in 1830. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship.[1]

Tradition bears, that Duff Mac Malcolm, King of Scotland, having been assassinated in the castle of Forres, his body was for a short time concealed under the bridge in this parish, and its name, as if commemorating this tragic event, is by the less educated classes in the surrounding districts sometimes written as Kingloss. There is every reason to disbelieve this legend of the twelfth century. The name seems to be a compound of the two Celtic words cean-loch, pronounced Kinloch, the form in which it actually appears in a charter of endowment of lands granted to the abbey by King William, and which accurately points out its locality, the abbey being situated at the head of the bay.

The parish is bounded on the north, by the Moray firth; on the south by the parishes of Rafford and Forres; on the west, by the river Findhorn; and on the east, by the parish of Alves.

The nearest market-town is Forres, to which there is easy access by an excellent turnpike road to Findhorn. The village of greatest importance is Findhorn, signifying in Gaelic the mouth of the Erne, and hence by Highlanders called Invererne. It is a burgh of barony, and contains a population of above 800. It is the sea-port of Forres.

At the downfall of the Roman Catholic hierarchy, when the religious houses were dissolved, Mr. Edward Bruce of Clackmannan got the lands belonging to Kinloss Abbey, the only one in the province of Moray, in commendam, and was created Baron Kinloss in 1601, and his son Thomas, Earl of Elgin, and Baron Bruce of Kinloss, 1633.

The present proprietors are: H.A.J. Munro Esq. of Novar; Sir J. P. Grant of Rothiemurchus, Bart; Sir G M. Pherson Grant of Ballindalloch, Bart; Major P. Grant Peterkin of Grange; J. Campbell Brodie, Esq. of Lethan; and John Dunbar, Esq. of Seapark. The only resident heritor is Major Grand Peterkin.

There is an antiquity that is of interest, and that is the Abbey. It was founded by King David I. December 19th 1150, and confirmed by a papal bull 1174. It was liberally endowed. The fragments that remain of the church, with its aisles, and the chapter-house, as well as the monastery, clearly show that the buildings must have been originally splendid and extensive. Edward I. Resided here for six weeks in the autumn of 1303, and a detachment of his army remained for a longer period. Little, however, is now to be seen of the former magnificence and grandeur of the edifice.

In 1755, the population was 1191, in 1821 it was 1071, and by 1841, the population increased to 1202.

The produce that was grown in the parish was grass, barley, wheat, oats, potatoes, turnips, ryegrass hay, and peas. There was also milk cows, cattle, horses, sheep and swine. There are three different kinds of fisheries regularly producing in the parish. There are salmon, herring, and white or haddock.

There are twelve vessels belonging to the sea-port of Findhorn in the parish. Foreign vessels also visit the place, bringing sometimes two cargoes yearly of iron, tar, and timber from the Baltic, and on of timber from British North America.

Kinloss, disjoined from Alves, Rafford, and Forres, was erected into a separate parish in 1657. The patrons are the Earl of Moray and Brodie of Lethen.

The present church was built in 1765, and in 1830 it underwent a thorough repair; but, although too small for the accommodations of the parish, the heritors would not enlarge it. The kirk-session, however, with their consent, made an addition to it, capable of accommodating 200 additional sitters, and now there is sufficient room for all the church going population. The people belong all to the Establishment, with the exception of one family of Independents, consisting of man and wife, and another of Episcopalians.

The parochial registers were carried away prior to 1699, but since that period, minute-book, marriages and baptism registers have been regularly kept, and there has also been a register of deaths kept since Jan 1 1826.

This account was written February 1842.

Source: New Statistical Account of Scotland, for Kinloss, Family History Lbrary book 941.B4sa, series 2 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 Kinloss. Article is a history of the Parish of Kinloss with a brief list from Kirk Session Minutes 1834, 1836, and 1841, of male Communicants, head of families.  Two sketch plans of the Lands of Kinloss ca 1560, and sketch plan of the Parish of Kinloss c. 1750, also facsimile Inventory of Early Charters relating to the lands of Kinloss held at National Archives of Scotland. Article covers years 966-1852, to be found in The Lands and people of Moray, pt.22 2005, pages 1-8. Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt. 22.

Findhorn Village.  History of the village, salmon fishing and mussel scalps, and the shipping/trading that went on.  Some Kirk Session minutes with Family history included.  Lists of pre-census inhabitants 1558-1856. Plan of Findhorn Bay 1812 and situation of the old village of  Findhorn prior to 1701, the new town of findhorn ca 1775 and facsimile of "Extract from a Condescendance for Hugh Hugh Rose of Kilravock as Heritor of the Barony of Muirton and the Town of Findhorn dated 1763" re fishings and muscle scalps.  Article covers years 1150-1856 The Lands and People of Moray 941.23 H2b pt 22, 2005 pages 25-45, Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt 22.

Woodside, Damhead, Blackstob, Hatton and the Northeast of This Parish.  Taxation records of the principal farmers listed in the area.  Some Kirk Session Minutes of folk, brought before the church. List of some of the pre-census inhabitants of Hatton, Blackstob and Damhead gives names dates and reason for being on the list. Sketch plan of the northeastern part of the parish1750.  Article covers years 1590-1847 to be found in The Lands and People of Moray, pt.22, 2005, pages 60-62. Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt. 22

Struthers and Woodhead.  History of Struthers land, a list of the tenants of the "Rentals of Widhead" in 1725. Some taxation records with names.  2 small paragraphs of Kirk Session Records re folk brought before the Church. Surnames include Roy, Young, Smith, McIntosh, Calder, Steele, Hendry, Forsyth.  List of precensus inhabitants of Struthers and Woodhead and sketch plan of Struthers and Woodhead ca. 1750. Article in the Lands and people of Moray pt.22 2005, pages 56-59. Family History Library Ref 941.23 H2b pt. 22.

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 Kinloss as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Famjly 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.

Kinloss Abbey and Its Precincts.  History of foundation of St. Mary's Cistercian Abbey of Kinloss 1151-1840. A list of some of the pre-census inhabitants of the Abbey of Kinloss and its precincts starting 1150-1832. Facsimile of Book Stamp of Abbot Robert Reid 1558, showing the Reid family cres.  Subscriptions and seals appended to the Charter of "The debatable lands" granted by Abbot Robert Reid in 1537.  Facsimiles of Plan of the Kinloss Abbey, 19th century illustration of the ruins of the Abbey of Kinloss. Article covers years 1151-1832, to be found in The Lands and People of Moray. pt. 22, 2005, pages 9-17. Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt 22.

Kinloss Village, Muirton and Langcot.  History of Kinloss Village, Muirton and langcot, also has history of the Ministers who served in the parish, and some Session Minutes of folk who were censured. Lists some of the pre-census inhabitants of Kinloss Village, Muirton and Langcot starting 1515-1850. Sketch plan of Village of Kinloss ca 1750. Article covers years 1515-1850. The Lands and People of Moray, pt22, 2005 pages 10-24. Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt.22.

The Estate of Grange including Grangehill, West Grange (Grange Hall) East Grange and the Southwest of the parish.  Article gives history of the Estate of Grange, and includes Dunbar Family History.  List some of the pre-census inhabitants 1651-1950.  Facsimile of Charter of Resingnation of the Lands of West Grange 1563. Plans of West Grange about 1750 and 1775. Arcticle covers years 1563-1850. to be found in The Lands and People of Moray, pt. 22, 2005, pages 46-55. Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt 22.

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: 1699-1854 0990805
Marriages: 1699-1854 0990805
Death: 1826-1854 0990805

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 in the Scotland, Moray, Kinloss, parish registers collection on FamilySearch.

Births: The lower portion of a page of births for May 1792 is cut off. Pages of the record for 1730–1791 were attested to by the session clerk. Mothers' names are not recorded prior to 1716.
Marriages: Entries are attested as in the birth register.
Deaths: No death records exist previous to 1826.
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 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 1798–1940
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/1537.

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.

Kinloss Free Church[edit | edit source]

The minister of Kinloss and some of his parish left the Established Church to form the Free Church congregation. They erected a church in Findhorn in 1844. Subsequently, they were much influenced by the revival of 1859. Church membership declined as employment in shipbuilding and fishing deteriorated.
Membership: 1848, 125; 1900, 113.
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.

Extent of the records is unknown.

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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Kinloss 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 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: 27 June 2014.

Return to Moray parish list.