St. Andrews and St. Leonards, Fife, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #453

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

History[edit | edit source]

ANDREW'S, ST., a city, the seat of a university, and anciently the metropolitan see of Scotland, in the district of St. Andrew's, county of Fife, 39 miles (N. N. E.) from Edinburgh; containing the villages of Boarhills, Grange, Kincaple, and Strathkinness. LEONARD'S, ST., a parish, in the district of St. Andrew's, county of Fife. This parish derives its name from the dedication of its ancient church, and appears to have had its origin in the frequent pilgrimages made by large numbers of devotees to visit the relics of St. Andrew, deposited by Regulus, a Grecian monk, in the church of St. Andrew in the city of that name. The parish is principally within the limits of the city of St. Andrew's, to which it forms an appendage, and with which in all civil matters it is intimately connected. The church, once belonging to the hospital of St. Leonard, and for more than two centuries the parish church, having fallen into a state of dilapidation, the chapel of St. Salvator's College was appropriated as the church of the parish. It is well adapted for a congregation of nearly 500 persons.[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 St. Andrews and St. Leonards. 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 St. Andrews and St. Leonards as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Year FHL Film Numbers Surname Indexes
1841      1042704 book 941.33 X22c 1841; also 941.33 X22s; films 1145982-3; CD-ROM no. 1075
1851 1042272 941.33 X22f
1861 0103832 book 941.33 X22c 1861; also CD-ROM no. 2524
1871 0103995 None
1881 0203530 6086574 (8 fiche)
1891 0208766 None

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—Old Parochial Records[edit | edit source]

Record Type Years Covered FHL Film Number
Births: 1627-1667 1040171 item 3
1667-1843 1040172
1667-1854 (St. Leonards) 1040388
1820-1854 (St. Andrews) 1040388
1820-1855 (St. Leonards) 1040181 item 1
1844-1845 (St. Andrews neglected entries) 1040181 item 1
Marriages: 1638-1679 (in session book) 1040173
1679-1685, 1694-1720 (in session book) 1040174
1667-1819 (St. Leonards) 1040388
1720-1754 (in session book) 1040175
1754-1771 (in session book) 1040176
1770-1819 (St. Andrews) 1040176
1820-1854 (St. Andrews) 1040388
1820-1855 (St. Leonards) 1040181 item 1
Deaths: 1732-1819 (St. Leonards burials) 1040176
1820-1854 (St. Andrews burials) 1040388
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: St. Andrews, with the exception that it is incomplete, December 1737–April 1740 the record is carefully kept; the portion prior to 1680 being beautifully written. After the record for June 1712 there are two pages of entries of children baptized by an Episcopal Minister, 171; 41, and at the beginning of vol. 2 there are two pages of irregular entries of children baptized by seceders 1738–1757. After the records for 1819 there are 17 slips of paper containing the dates of births of children born 1803–1844.
St. Leonards has no entries August 1695–June 1696 and only one entry for May 1799–May 1800.
Marriages: St. Andrews marriage record is one of contracts and marriages prior to 1770 mixed with other matters. There are no entries 1685–1694 and a separate record after 1770. Irregular marriages are occasionally recorded.
St. Leonards has no marriage entries January 1677–April 1678 and March 1690–November 1691 and one entry for November 1692–August 1694 and one April 1695–August 1696. There are no entries for 1717, March 1739–June 1740; 1769 or September 1797–November 1800 and 1821.
Deaths: St. Andrews deaths prior to February 1735 record not only the date of death and burials, but also the hour of both. After February 1735 the date of death only is registered.
St. Leonards has no notations.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxam, pub. 1970.  FHL 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 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:

Record Extracts, 1638 and 1725
Kirk Session Minutes 1559–1600, 1715–1902
Rental Book 1771–1840
Note: Available at St. Andrews University Library, St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland, record CH2/316.

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.

St. Andrews Associate Burgher Church, later United Presbyterian Hope Park[edit | edit source]

A praying society had long existed in St. Andrews prior to the Secession. Eventually they withdrew from the Established Church and in 1737 petitioned the Associate Presbytery to be taken under its inspection, which was done. Supply of sermon was infrequent. Sometimes the Seceders traveled to Abernethy for worship, though it was 22 miles. Eventually a congregation was formed at Ceres. The Breach in 1747 divided that congregation and a great number of those living in the St. Andrews area adhered to the Associate Burgher Synod and formed a congregation separate from that of Ceres. They eventually bought an old house in the center of town and had it fitted up as a place of worship. A church was built in 1826, with seating for 440. A new and larger church was opened in 1865.
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.

Baptismal Register 1829–1934
Membership and Admissions 1842–1848
Seat Rents and Let Book 1792–1808, 1827
Various Minutes 1747–1972
Accounts 1783–1963
Collection book 1809–1821
Other post-1855 records
Note: Available at St. Andrews University Library, St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland, record CH3/1584.

Strathkinnes Relief, extinct; Original Associate Free Church
[edit | edit source]

A number of the inhabitants of this place and neighborhood, finding it inconvenient to travel to the parish church, a distance of 4 miles, applied for and obtained supply of sermon form the Relief Presbytery of Dysart in 1799. A church was built the same year. After the minister left in 1816, this congregation became extinct and the church passed into the hands of a Wesleyan Methodist congregation, who occupied it about five years. It was then purchased by a congregation in connection with the Original Associate Burgher Synod. In 1839, this congregation joined the Established church, along with the majority of the Synod, then withdrew at the Disruption in 1843 and became a Free Church. A new church was built in 1867.
Membership: 1848, 190; 1900, 95.
Sources: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618. Also, 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 sources, including ministers.

Session Minutes 1827–1831, 1857–1911
Note: Available at St. Andrews University Library, St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland, record CH3/291.

St. Andrews Martyrs Free Church
[edit | edit source]

A congregation was organized here immediately after the Disruption. A church, manse, and mission hall were all erected shortly after.
Membership: 1848, 565; 1900, 485.
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 ministers.

Baptismal Register 1843–1885
Kirk Session Minutes 1843–1892
Other post-1855 records
Note: Available at St. Andrews University Library, St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland, record CH3/1585.

St. Andrews Episcopal Church
[edit | edit source]

There are no known records available.

Records—                      FHL Film Number       FHL Book Number
Baptisms 1722–1787       0844777 item 1           941 B4sr vol. 49
Marriages 1752–1786       0844777 item 1           941 B4sr vol. 49

For any other records, contact the minister at:
St. Andrew's Rector
Queen's Terrace
St. Andrew's KY16 9Qf

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]

St. Andrews and St. Leonards was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of St. Andrews until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of [Court name]. 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' of Fife and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of St. Andrews.

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Fife. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place' of Fife and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'

Read more about Scotland Probate Records.

Other[edit | edit source]

David Dobson, prominent Scottish genealogist and historian, has published two lists titled The People of St. Andrews 1600-1699 and 1700-1799 (pub. 2009 and 2010).  The information in the lists is drawn mostly from lessor-used sources in the collections of the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh and the Special Collections Department of the University of St. Andrews including burgh records, deeds, occupational records, testaments, and Cathedral gravestone inscriptions.  The two lists include the names of over 1100 individuals and may help you document the lives of your ancestors from the St. Andrews area.  (FHL book 941.33/S2 D2d, 2 vols.) 

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 157-175. Adapted. Date accessed: 02 May 2014.

[Return to the Fife parish list.]