Urquhart, Moray, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #144

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

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URQUHART, a parish, in the county of Elgin, 4½ miles (E. by S.) from Elgin. This place derives its name, signifying in the Gaelic language "an extensive line of sea-coast," from its situation on the shore of the Moray Frith, along which it stretches from the mouth of the river Spey to that of the river Lossie. The church, situated nearly in the centre of the parish, is a modern structure containing sufficient accommodation for the parishioners.[1]

The name Urquhart appears to be compounded of three Gaelic words, viz, oire, a coast, an edge, a brink, fad, long,and amhan, a river or water; and would seem to have been imposed to denote the great length of sea coast by which the parish is bounded on one of its sides.

The parish of Urquhart is bounded on the north by a line of sea coast 5 miles in length, extending from the mouth of the river Lossie on the west, to that of the river Spey on the east.

The nearest market town is Elgin, which is five miles distant from the church of Urquhart.

The population in 1801 was counted as 1023, and in 1831, it was 1019.

The average amount of raw produce that is raised in the parish consists of grain of all kinds, potatoes, turnips, hay and pasture.

The only place of worship in the parish is the parish church, of which the situation is sufficiently convenient, its distance from the farthest extremity of the parish being scarcely three miles. The church is an old house, but is good repair, and affords sufficient accommodation for the population. The sittings may be said to be free, excepting those in a small gallery, for which the kirk-session draw about L. 4 of rent annually for behoof of the poor. The only dissenters in the parish are three families of Antiburgher Seceders, and three of Episcopalians, consisting of about 25 individuals. The sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is dispensed once a year; and the average number of communicants is 200.

No mention is made of church registers being kept in the parish.

This account was written April 1835.

Source:  The New Statistical Account of Scotland for Urquhart, FHL book 941 B4sa, 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 Family History Library. 

The History of the Parish of Urquhart. A brief history of the Parish of Urquhart illustrated with a hand drawn map of the parish about 1750 and a facsimile of a note regarding the change of the Calendar 1752 in the Parish Register.  Article covers years 1157-1884, in The Lands and People of Moray, Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt. 13, year 2003. pages 1-10.

Cotts, Speyshaw, Newtown and the Northern Fermtoung.  A brief history of these farms north of Innes House, with a list of some of the pre-census inhabitants, with nmae, date, residence, relationshop or reason for being mentioned. A hand drawn map of Cotts, Speyslaw, Newton about 1750. Article covers years 1574-1850 to be found in The Lands and People of Moray, Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt 13, 2003. pages 32-41.

Meft, Longhill and Elginhill.  Same as above and covers years 1571-1850, The Lands and People of Moray, Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt. 13, 2003 pages 42-49.

The Village of Urquhart. A brief history of Urquhart with some emphasis on the schools. Pre-census list of inhabitants encluded and the map of Urquhart about 1750.  Article covers years 1545-1859, to be found in The Lands and People of Moray, Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b, pt 13, 2003. pages 50-64.

Finfan, Lochs, Bins Mathiemiln, Corskie and Maverstoun. Same as above - map about 1750.  A facsimile is given of the record of the execution of Alexander Gillan. 1810. Article covers years 1574-1855, to be found in The Lands and People of Moray. Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt. 13. 2003. pages 65-75.

The Village of Garmouth.  A detailed history of the village Garmouth, a list of some of the pre-census inhabitants, with a handrawn map of Garmouth, 1772 and a facsimile of "Notes on the Rentalls of Garmouth." Covers years 1078-1850, to be found in The Lands and People of Moray. Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt 14, 2004. pages 11-46.

The Village of Kingston. A brief history of Kingston, with list of pre-census ihnabitants, with maps of Kinston 1810 and 1833, from the National Archives of Scotland. Covers years 1784-1850. to be found in The Lands and People of Moray, Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt 14, 2004, pages 47-52.

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 Urquhart, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

FHL Film Number
Surname Indexes
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 FHL Film Number
Births: 1647-1854 0990812
Marriages: 1647-1854 0990812
Deaths: 1746-1758 0990812

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: There are no entries July 1660–October 1676, December 1679–March 1682, November 1684–February 1692, and October 1693–October 1694.
Marriages: There are no entries May 1660–February 1677 and July 1679–October 1731, except for one in 1686 and 28 entries November 1691–February 1694 entered in the record of births for the same date. There are no entries March 1756–June 1790. There is one entry for 1795.
Deaths: Burials were regularly kept during the short period covered.
Source: Key to The Parochial Registers Of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, Pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.

The Priory of Urquhart.  The Priory was a cell of the Benedictine Abbey of Dunfermline, (Church of Scotland), founded in 1125. It became combined with Pluscarden.  After the union the Priory fell into ruin. A list of occupants pre-Reformation is given with Name, date, and reason for being mentioned. Article covers years 1125-1454 and is found in The Lands and People of Moray. Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt 13, 2003, pages 11-14,

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:

Cash Book 1823–1903
Note: Available At the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, Record Ch2/1431.

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.

Urquhart Free Church[edit | edit source]

Several parishioners from the parishes of St. Andrews, Lhanbryde, and Urquhart left the Established Church at the Disruption and joined the Free Church. At first they met in a barn at Meft, later moving to their new wooden church in the village in 1844. The church was sanctioned the same year. They built a school in 1845 and a manse in 1846. The population declined, owing largely to the disappearance of small farms.
Membership: 1848, 206; 1900, 229.
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 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]

The Lands and Estates of Innes.  The estate and people of Innes are described.  A list of some pre-census inhabitants is given with name, date, residence, illustrated with hand drawn map of the lands of Innes about 1750.  Article covers years 1157-1848, in The Lands and People of Moray. pt. 13, 2003. pages 15-25. Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt. 13.

The Lands and Estate of Leuchars.  A brief history of Leuchars with a listing of some of the pre-census inhabitants, name, date, residence, reason for being mentioned.  Illustrated with hand drawn map of Leuchars about 1750. Article in The Lands and People of Moray. pt. 13, 2003 pages 26-30. Family History Library ref. 941.23 H2b pt. 13.

Probate Records
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Urquhart 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.