Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Lochwinnoch (#570)

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


History[edit | edit source]

LOCHWINNOCH, a parish, in the Upper ward of the county of Renfrew, 4 miles (N.) from Beith, and 12 (S. by E.) from Port-Glasgow; containing the village of Howwood. The name of this place, signifying, in the Gaelic language, "the island of the lake," is derived from a very extensive lake near the village of Lochwinnoch. The present parish church, a handsome edifice, was erected in the year 1806, and has a fine portico surmounted by a neat spire. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church, and United Secession.[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 http://edina.ac.uk/stat-acc-scot/.  Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for Lochwinnoch.  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.

Here is a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Lochwinnoch as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:


Years FHL Film Number Surname Index       
1841 1042726 CD-ROM no. 3820
1851 1042363 CD-ROM no. 3817
1861 103901
1871 104085
1881 203577 6086652 (set of 11 fiche)
1891 220193

The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk.  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]

Event Type Years Covered FHL Film Numbers
Births: 1706-1714 1041279 item 1
1718-1855 1041278 items 1-4
Marriages: 1718-1855 1041278 items 1-4
Deaths: No entries
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: The record prior to about 1790 is a copy, which seems to have been made in 1788 and seems to be inaccurate in some particulars. Mothers’ names are rarely recorded before 1771 and sometimes omitted up to 1788.
Marriages: There are no entries December 1723–September 1725. The lower portion of the leaf at 1749–1750 and the upper portion of two pages at 1756–1760 are torn off and a number of entries partially or entirely destroyed. There are no entries July 1777–March 1778. After 1772, the record is one of bookings or proclamations, except 1784–1787 when marriages are also recorded. See also the Kirk Session records below.
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 1691–1700, 1709–1760, 1777–1947
Accounts 1804–1857
Communion Roll 1851–1947
Proclamations 1703–1714
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/649.

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 Lists.

Lochwinnoch Associate Secession Church
[edit | edit source]

In 1737, several parishioners withdrew from the Established Church and acceded to the Associate Presbytery. They became part of the ”Correspondence of Kilmalcolm” and subsequently part of the congregation of Burntshields in Kilbarchan parish (see those parishes). In 1750, more parishioners withdrew from the Established Church and joined with the Burntshields congregation. In 1788–1789, large cotton mills were erected in Lochwinnoch which led to a great increase in the population. The Seceders took advantage of this to obtain a place of worship of their own in the village, and with this in mind they applied to the Associate Presbytery to be disjoined from Burntshields, which was granted in 1791. Their church was built in 1792.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618. More details may be given in the source including a list of ministers.

Extent of the records is unknown.

Lochwinnoch Free Churcj[edit | edit source]

The minister of the parish, and many of his congregation, “came out” in 1843. The church was built in 1844. Two cotton mills furnished most of the employment in the village. Cotton was exchanged for flax during the American Civil War, which caused a great exodus of the people. The mills burned, one after the other, and the village was almost deserted. Later, chair works were started and things somewhat improved.
Membership: 1848, 400; 1900, 250.
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 including a list of ministers.

No pre-1855 records.

Civil Registration Record[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]

Lochwinnoch was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Glasgow until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Paisley.  Probate records for 1513- 1901 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-names' of Renfrew and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Glasgow.

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Renfrew. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Renfrew 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. 197-216. Adapted. Date accessed: 21 February 2014.


Return to the Renfrewshire parish list.