Portmoak, Kinross-shire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #464

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

History[edit | edit source]

PORTMOAK, a parish, in the county of Kinross, 6 miles (S. E. by E.) from Kinross; containing the villages of Kinnesswood and Scotland-Well. This place, anciently called Servanus, derived that appellation from a priory on the island of St. Serf, or Servanus, in Loch Leven; and its present name, though upon very questionable authority, has been derived from St. Moak, to whom a priory by the side of the lake is said to have been dedicated, and from the village affording a convenient landing-place for the monks. The church was erected in 1832, in place of an older edifice which, after being rebuilt, was found to be too small and also unsafe; the present edifice, is neat and substantial, and is adapted for a congregation of 800 persons. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church and for the Associate Synod.[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 Portmoak. 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 Scotland Census Records.

Click here[low quality link] for a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Portmoak.

Below is information for any known surname indexes:

Year Surname Index
1841     http://member.melbpc.org.au/~andes/scotland
1851 941.34 X22k, 2 vols.; 6203965 (set of 2 fiche)
1861 None
1871 None
1881 fiche 6086604
1891 None

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 Scotland 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 FHL Film Number
Births: 1701-1705, 1713-1779 1040204 item 5
1779-1854 1040205
Marriages: 1702-1706, 1713-1739 1040204 item 5
1735-1775, 1779-1847 1040205
Deaths: 1740-1758 1040205
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 also be indexed in other FamilySearch collections for Scotland.
Births: Births and marriage contracts were recorded on alternate pages until 1730. The record is blank June 1705–May1713. Mother's names were not recorded until 1756.
Marriages: The record is blank May 1706–April 1713, excluding four entries for May 1725, May 1724–October 1726. Entries April 1736–August 1739 are twice recorded. From 1750–1775, the record is chiefly entries of marriage pledges. The record is blank November 1775–November 1779, after which is found a register of contracts. It is also blank, except two entries for April 1784–November 1789.
Deaths: Mortcloth dues are intermixed with contracts of marriage.

Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.

Note: The New Statistical Account of Scotland for Portmoak (#1839) states: “The Parochial register commences in 1703. The records previous to that time are said to have been accidentally burnt. In so far as the affairs of the poor and the record of proclamations are concerned, they have been regularly kept; but the register of baptisms is incorrect, as Dissenters have been remiss in getting the names of their children entered, and until lately there was no register of funerals.”

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 1703–1776, 1778–1797
Discipline 1778–1823 - with cash accounts
Cash Books 1778–1806
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/304.

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.

Balgedie United Presbyterian Church, later United Free[edit | edit source]

When the parish minister was transferred in 1731, there was great disagreement as to who should be the new minister. When the call was settled upon a particular minister, those in objection to him withdrew from his ministry and acceded to the Associate Presbytery. They attended services elsewhere, mainly Milnathort in Orwell parish. For the next several years, the history of the Seceders in Portmoak was closely tied to those in Milnathort (see that history). When the majority of that congregation seceded and formed part of the Original Associate Synod, the minority remained in the Associate Burgher Synod, including two elders and 73 members from Portmoak, who sought supply of sermon in their own area. A congregation was formed in 1800. When the union of the two great branches of the Secession occurred in 1820, this congregation was enlarged by some who had previously traveled to services in other parishes.
Membership: 1839, 127 families.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. FHL Film #477618. More details may be given in the source including a list of ministers.

Records—                                   FHL Film Number
Minutes 1811–1836                      1482996 items 3–4
Baptismal Register 1829–1936      1482996 items 3–4

Portmoak and Flockhouse Free Church
[edit | edit source]

The minister of the parish, and a considerable portion of his congregation, came out in 1843. Church and manse were erected at Portmoak. Services at Flockhouse were conducted in the school. Many of the congregation in the early days, were employed in weaving.
Membership: 1843, 230; 1900, 116.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843-1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing,
D.D. 2 vols. pub. 1914. FHL Film #918572. More details may be given in the source including a list of ministers.

Minutes 1843–1894
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/843.

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]

Portmoak was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of St. Andrews until 1823. It was then under the jurisdiction of the Sheriff’s court of Alloa until 1847, and from then it was under the jurisdiction of the Sheriff’s Court of Kinross. 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  catalog  for the 'Place-names' of Kinross and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of St. Andrews.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 367-388. Adapted. Date accessed: 17 April 2014.


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