Penninghame, Wigtownshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #895

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

History[edit | edit source]

PENNINGHAME, a parish, in the county of Wigton, 8 miles (N. W.) from Wigton containing the market-town of Newton-Stewart. This place, of which the name is of obscure and doubtful derivation, is not distinguished by many events of historical importance. The church, erected in 1777, and enlarged in 1827 by the addition of galleries, contained 700 sittings; but being in a decayed state, and inconveniently situated, a new church was erected at NewtonStewart in 1841. The present church is in the later English style, with a tower surmounted by a lofty spire; it is seated on an eminence, and has 1200 sittings. There are places of worship for members of the Relief and Reformed Presbyterians, both in the town, where is also a Roman Catholic chapel.[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 Penninghame.  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 Penninghame and Newton Stewart.  The Family History Library also has a surname index for the 1841 census of Penninghame and Newton Stewart 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 Records—Old Parochial Registers[edit | edit source]

Years Covered Family History Library Film Number
Births: 1695-1854 1068040 items 1-2
Marriages: 1696-1854 1068040  items 1-2
Deaths: No entries
Condition of Original Records[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 “Databases on the Network.”
Births: There are only two entries prior to November 1696 and no entries February 1715–February 1716 and March 1750–June 1753. There is one entry August 1773–June 1774.
Marriages: There are no entries July 1713–February 1716, March 1750–June 1745, November 1760–December 1762, November 1763–December 1791, and November 1792–November 1795. After 1791 it is mainly proclamations.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b

Established Church Records—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 1696–1747, 1760–1763, 1790–1971
Poors’ Fund Accounts 1700–1749, 1769, 1787–1857
Other post–1855 records
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1387.

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.

Newton Stewart United Presbyterian Church, later Free Church[edit | edit source]

The Southern Scotland Reformed congregation split in 1786, with Galloway being created. At times the Galloway congregation was quite large, with perhaps as many as 15,000 attending services, and the strain on the minister was great. In 1797 the Galloway congregation split, with the lower congregation created in Newton–Stewart. The first meeting house was not built until 1818. A new church was erected in 1833. The congregation was at times weak and without a minister. Reformed Presbyterian families died out, the distinctive principle for which it stood becoming of less practical importance, and late in the nineteenth century the number of members grew very small.
This congregation joined the Free Church in 1876.
Membership: 1877, 60; 1900, 137.
Source: The Reformed Presbyterian Church in Scotland, by W.J. Couper, pub. 1925; Family History Library book 941 K2c. Source includes a list of ministers

Extent of records is unknown.

Penninghame and Minnigaff, or Creebridge Free Church[edit | edit source]

This congregation was formed on July 3rd 1843. No site could be obtained in the town. The church was built at Creebridge in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright in 1844, and the manse in 1846. Gallery and vestry were added to the church in 1862. A mission was maintained at Creetown.
Membership: 1848, 360; 1900, 245.
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.

The extent of records is unknown.

Newton Stewart Relief Church[edit | edit source]

This congregation originated in dissatisfaction felt by several parishioners of Penninghame with the ministrations and conduct of the parochial incumbent. They applied for and obtained supply of sermon from the Relief Presbytery of Glasgow, 1791. Church built 1792. This congregation presumably became United Presbyterian in 1847 when the majority of the Relief congregations joined with the United Secession Church to form the United Presbyterian Church.
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.

Extent of records is unknown.

Newton Stewart Catholic Records[edit | edit source]

The congregation was formed in 1825 and the church was consecrated to St. Ninian in 1852.

Register of Baptisms 1825–1908
Register of Marriages 1825–1915
Register of Confessions 1839–1846
Register of Communicants 1825–1845
Note: Available online for a fee, at, Edinburgh, record RH21/59.

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]

Penningham was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Wigtown until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Wigtown. 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 Wigtown and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Wigtown.

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Wigtown]. Look in the library catalog  for the 'Place-names' of Wigtown 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. 351-367. Adapted. Date accessed: 06 March 2014.

Return to the Wigtownshire parish list.