Girthon, Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Girthon #866

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

History[edit | edit source]

GIRTHON, a parish, in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright, 6 miles (N. W.) from Kirkcudbright containing the larger part of the burgh of Gatehouse of Fleet. This place, which is of great antiquity, is supposed to have derived its name, signifying, in the Celtic language, an inclosure or sanctuary. The parish is bounded on the south and west by the bay and river of Fleet. The church, situated at Gatehouse, is a neat substantial structure, erected in 1818, and contains 714 sittings. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship.[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 Girthon. 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.

Here is a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Girthon as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Years Family History Library Film Number Surname Index        
1841 1042844 941.49 X22d v. 11
1851 1042552
1861 103841
1871 104006
1881 224056 6086610 ( 2 fiche)
1891 220453

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 Scotland Church Records.

Here are the pre-1855 records that exist for this parish.

Established Church—Old Parochial Registers[edit | edit source]

Years Covered Family History Library Film Number
Births: 1699-1854 1067974
Marriages: 1700-1854 1067974
Deaths: 1699-1735, 1823-1854 1067974
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 January 1736–June 1737 and April 1771–April 1776, except four. There is a draft or duplicate of record 1783–1819.
Marriages: There are no entries, except five among the births, 1783, 1793, 1808 and two for 1813, January 1736–November 1818.
Deaths: Record has no entries December 1735–January 1823 and 1827–January 1831.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. Family History Library 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:

Session Minutes 1694–1702, 1729–1742, 1821–1948
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/1526.

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.

Girthon and Anwoth Free Church[edit | edit source]

Robert Jeffrey, minister of the parish, "came out" in 1843. Those who followed him met for worship at first in the Freemasons' Hall at Gatehouse. A site was with difficulty obtained, and the church built in 1844. The manse was erected in 1849.
Membership: 1848, 220; 1900, 98.
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 lists of ministers.

Extent of records is unknown.

Gatehouse United Presbyterian Church[edit | edit source]

Gatehouse is a town partly in Girthon parish, and partly in that of Anwoth. This congregation originated with members of the congregation of Kirkcudbright, resident in and about Gate house, who felt inconvenient to travel so far every week to attend public ordinances, and who besides were persuaded that there was room and need for another place of worship in the town, containing at that time 2000 inhabitants. Under this conviction, they applied for and obtained supply of sermon from the United Associate Presbytery of Wigtown, 1835. Mr. Murray the baronial superior of the town, granted them half an acre of ground in feu, and gave them besides 25 of subscription towards the building of a place of worship, which they erected in 1840.
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 including lists of ministers.

Extent of records is unknown.

Gatehouse-of-Fleet Congregational Church[edit | edit source]

A church was formed here in 1806 as the result of the labors of various itinerant preachers. In July 1807 the first pastor was settled. He continued with success for nearly thirty years. The church ceased about 1845.
Source: A History of Scottish Congregationalism, by Harry Escott, pub. 1960. FamilyHistory Llibrary British Book 941 K2es.

Extent of records is unknown. For more information write to:
The United Reformed Church, Scottish Synod Office
PO Box 189
240 Cathedral Street
Glasgow G1 2BX

Gatehouse Episcopal Church[edit | edit source]

A church and school were established here in 1799 shortly after the town of Gatehouse was created a burgh, and many English families relocated here to work in the various newly established industries. The school, however, was open to those of any religion. Both church and school prospered until 1820 when the man who served as both the minister of the chapel and the rector of the school left for another assignment. The membership declined until in 1844 there was but one Episcopalian family in the parish. The church became nominally attached to the mansion house of Cally. The cause struggled on, however, and there was still a church there in 1965.
Source: The Statistical Account of the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright, pub. 1844, Family History Library British Book 941 Bysa, Ser. 2, vol. 4 pt. 2. Also, The Scottish Episcopal Church Year Book and Directory for 1965–1966, Family History Library British Book 941 E4e.

Family History Library Film Number
Births and Christenings 1850–1885 1068240X
Marriages 1852–1895 1068240X
Note: The X means the records have been extracted.

Cemetery Records[edit | edit source]

Coutesy of the Kirkcudbrightshire Community with a contact person of Jim Bell:

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]

Girthon was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Kirkcudbright until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Kirkcudbright. 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 Kirkcudbright and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Kirkcudbright.
The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Kirkcudbright.  Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Kirkcudbright 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. 458-478. Adapted. Date accessed: 07 March 2014.

Return to the Kirkcudbrightshire parish list.