Kirkliston, West Lothian, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #667

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

History[edit | edit source]

KIRKLISTON, a parish, partly in the county of Edinburgh, but chiefly in that of Linlithgow; containing the villages of Newbridge, Niddry, and Winchburgh, 2½ miles (S.) from South Queensferry. This parish, of which about one-fourth lies in the county of Edinburgh, and three-fourths in that of Linlithgow, was formerly called Temple-Liston, an appellation partly acquired from the knights Templars, who obtained the chief lands in the twelfth century. The ancient name of Liston is supposed to have been derived from some considerable family residing here. The church, thoroughly repaired in 1822, will accommodate 700 persons, and is furnished with a fine-toned bell. This is an ancient structure, formerly belonging to the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, and supposed to have been built in the twelfth century. The members of the Free Church have also a place of worship.[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 your parish of interest. 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 see the FamilySearch Catalog entry for the 1841-1891 census records of Kirkliston, as well as the catalog entry for the 1881 surname indexes .

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 the separate indexes through the library.

Church Records[edit | edit source]

The Established Church of Scotland was Presbyterian. Read more about Scotland Church Records.

Here are the pre-1855 records that exist for this parish.

Established Church—Old Parochial Registers[edit | edit source]


Event Type Years Covered FHL Film Number
Births: 1675-1731 1066629 item 5

1730-1854 1066630
Marriages: 1675-1680 1066629 item 5

1680-1854 1066630
Deaths: 1817-1836 1066630
Condition of Original Registers—
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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 be indexed in the International Genealogical Index. 
Births: There are no entries for December 1687–February 1692. Entries are frequently out of the chronological order after 1794.
Marriages: There are no entries for December 1687–February 1692 and May 1749–October 1750. The fact of marriage is not always stated in the entries.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session Records
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The Kirk session was the court of the parish. The Kirk 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 1659–1660, 1663–1687, 1692–1723, 1818–1902
Scroll Minutes 1707–1719
Deaconry Book 1730–1752
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/229.

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.

Kirliston Free Church
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This congregation was formed in 1843. The minister of the parish did not adhere to the Free Church.
Membership: 1848, 280; 1900, 211.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. FHL Film #0918572. More details are given in the source.

Minutes 1843–1924
Baptismal Register 1843–1943
Marriages 1844–1852
Communion Roll 1844–1855
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1008.

Kirkliston Congregational Church
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A church was formed in 1803 but was short lived. Membership once numbered 60, but a controversy in 1808 caused many to withdraw, and by 1815 the church had closed.

The extent of records is unknown. For availability of records write to:
The United Reformed Church, Scottish Synod Office
P.O. Box 189
240 Cathedral Street
Glasgow G1 2BX

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]

Kirkliston was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Edinburgh until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Linlithgow. 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 catalogfor the 'Place-names' of West Lothian and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Edinburgh.

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for West Lothian.  Look in the library catalogfor the 'Place-names' of West Lothian 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. 98-121. Adapted. Date accessed: 17 April 2014.

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