Speymouth, Moray, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #143 (formerly Essil and Dipple)

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

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SPEYMOUTH, a parish, in the county of Elgin, ¼ mile (N. by W.) from Fochabers; containing the villages of Garmouth, Kingston-Port, and Mosstodlach. This place, consisting of the ancient parishes of Dipple and Essil, united by act of the General Assembly in 1731, derives its name from its situation near the mouth of the river Spey, which here falls into the Moray Frith. The church, erected in 1732, and repaired and enlarged in 1799, is a neat substantial structure affording ample accommodation for the parishioners.[1]

The parish is formed of the two old parishes of Essil and Dipple, which were united in 1731. It is bounded on the north by the Moray Firth; on the east by the Spey. Spremouth is a port for shipping.

The only relic of the past in this parish worth preserving, was part of the house in which Charles II is said to have signed the Solemn League and Covenant.

The village of Kingston has, with the exception of three or four houses, been built within the last twenty-five years. The first dwellings erected there were mere temporary wooden sheds, built by Dodsworth and Osbourne, for the accommodation of their workmen, and by them named Kingston Port, after Kingston-upon-Hull. These gentlemen purchased the forest of Glenmore from the Duke of Gordon in 1784; and for many years carried on a most extensive trade here in timber and ship-building. Subsequent to 1793, they built twenty-four vessels, two of which were upwards of 750 tons register burthen; two of nearly 600 tons; the rest from 50 to 500 tons. Several other shipbuilders have during that time built 126 vessels, measuring from 29 to 200 tons; of these Mr. W. Goddie built 43.

By the last census the population amounted to 1475, of which number 675 are inhabitants of Garmouth, 200 of Kingston, and the remainder in the landward part of the parish.

The church is inconveniently situated for the bulk of the population, standing about the middle of the parish, and consequently fully three miles distant from either extremity. The villages of Garmouth and Kingston, containing a large proportion of the population, are at the one extremity, and some small farms, together with many cottages, at the other. Few parishioners are within a mile of the church; but notwithstanding there are few country parishes in Scotland where the inhabitants are more disposed to attend church, or more attached to the national Establishment. There are not more than seven Dissenters. There is no mention of church registers being kept in this parish.

This account was written Jun 1835.

Source:  The New Statistical Account of Scotland for Speymouth, FHL book 941sa, 2nd series, 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 {{FHL|the new statistical account of scotland|title|disp=Family History Library.

The History of the Parishes of Essil, Dipple, and the Quoad Sacra Parish of Garmouth, These Being United as the Parish of Speymouth in 1731.  A history of Essil, Dipple and Garmouth illustrated with a map from the National Archives of Scotland RHP 287.  The lower reaches of the River Spey, from Newtown to the mouth of the river, 1760 also facsimile of valuation of Parish of Speymouth. Article covers years 1208-1760 to be found in The Lands and People of Moray, Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt 14, year 2004, pages 1-10.

Essil, Newton, and Lunan. A history of the lands of Essil, Newton and Lunan, mostly agricultural, but some fishing. Pre-cenusus list ofd inhabitants, with hand drawn map of the lands of Essil, Newton and Lunan about 1770. Covers years 1580-1849, to be found in The Lands and People of Moray, Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt 14, 2004. pages 53-62.

The History of the Southern Part of the Parish of Speymouth, formerly Essil and Dipple. Same as above illustrated with a map of the southern part of Speymouth Parish in 1760 from National Archives of Scotland, and a facsimile of the Valuation of the Parish Speymouth from the National Archives. Years covered 1208-1845, to be found in The Lands and People of Moray, Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b, pt 15, year 2004. pages 1-8.

Dipple, Westerton and Crofts of Dipple.  A history of the lands of Dipple, with a pre-census list of inhabitants. Dand drawn map of the lands of Stynie about 1770, and a facsimile of a petition of Tenants of Stynie. 1780. Years covered 1208-1850 in The Lands and People of Moray pt 15 2004, Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pages 20-34,

Cowfords, Balckdam, Bauds and Balnacoul.  A brief history including a list of some of the pre-census inhabitants, illustrated with hand drawn map of the lands of Crawfor about 1770. Article covers years 1645-1850. This article is in The Lands and People of Moray pt. 15, year 2004, pages 35-39. Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b

Trochelhill, Cairnend, Orbliston, Altonside and the Southern Part of the Parish.  A brief history of the southern part of Speymouth parish incluing a pre census list of some of the inhabitants, illustrated with a hand drawn map of the southern part of the parish, and two facsimilies of lists of the Rich Hens payable by the tenants and subtenants of the Parish of Speymouth. The Lands and People of Moray pt. 15 2004, pages 40-48. Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt. 15.

Stynie, Redhall, Mosstodloch and Boat of Bog.  A brief history including a list of some of the pre census inhabitants, illustrated with a map of the lands of Stynie about 1770, and a facsimile of a petition of the tenants of Stynie, 1780.  Article covers years 1663-1850. The Lands and People of Moray, pt 15, 2004. pages 9-19. Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt. 15.

Gordon Castle, Boghead and Cottonhill.  Brief history of Gordon Castle, includes the settlement of Boghead and Cottonhill, with a list of some of the pre-census inhabitants, illustrated with a sketch of the castle, and plan of central part of the Gordon Castle Estate.  Years covered 1329-1838. Article in The Land and People of Moray pt. 16, 2004 pages 50-62. FHL Ref. 941.23 H2b pt 16.

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

Family History Library Film Numbers
Surname Indexes
1042645, 1042646
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.

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: 1654-1854 0990811
Marriages: 1729-1854 0990811
Deaths: 1728-1788, 1850-1854 0990811

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: Essil abstract of portion of the same 1688–1691 is on two pages. Abstract of births in Essil and barony of Garmouth are recorded in Urquhart 1651–1724. There are no entries in the regular record September 1691–November 1728 and it ends October 1731. An abstract of the register December 1702–October 1731 exists. There is an abstract in the old parish of Dipple, June 1717–October 1731. There is a register for Essil and Garmouth November 1728–1731, in which year Essil, Dipple and the barony of Garmouth were united into the parish of Speymouth and one record kept for the whole. Irregular entries for1768–1783 recorded on two pages at 1770.
Marriages: Essil has marriage entries August 1729–June 1731. Speymouth has them after the register for 1739. There is an abstract of a portion of 1728–1739 followed by the regular record for 1740. There are no entries March 1759–December 1783 and only six entries for March 1789–1821.
Deaths: Essil has burial entries December 1728–October 1731. Speymouth has no entries June 1761–January 1784 and October 1788–1850.
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 1645–1687, 1691, 1728–1940
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record Ch2/839.

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.

Garmouth Free Church[edit | edit source]

This congregation left the Established Church at the time of the Disruption. For a short time, they met in a place known as the "Corff House" until they built a church in 1845. At the time, Garmouth employed many in the trade of shipping and shipbuilding. However, when that trade declined, the population decreased. Later, Garmouth developed some tourist trade as it attracted summer visitors.
Membership: 1848, 220; 1900, 175.
Source: Annals Of The Free Church Of Scotland, 1843 1900, Ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Family History Llbrary 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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Speymouth 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.