Knockando, Moray, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #139

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

History[edit | edit source]

KNOCKANDO, a parish, in the county of Elgin, 14 miles (S.) from Elgin; containing the village of Archiestown. Knockando derives its name from two Gaelic words signifying "the black hill," or "hill with the black head." It has the ancient parish of Elchies united to it. The church, built in 1757, and repaired in 1832, is a small plain edifice, though remarkably neat within; it contains 477 sittings, and is conveniently situated for the population. The Independents have a place of worship.[1]

The parish of Knockando, or as it formerly was spelled, Knockandow, derives its name from two Gaelic words, which denote Black Hill, or Hill with the Black Head. The parish of Ma Calen, or Macallan, is now annexed to Knockando, but no distinct record of union is preserved. Knockando was a vicarage depending on the parson of Inveravon, and Ma Calen or Elchies, a vicarage depending on the parson of Botarie.

It is bounded on the west by the parishes of Cromdale and Edinkillie; on the north by Dallas and Birnie; on the east by Rothes; and on the south by the river Spey, which separates Knockando from Iveravon and Aberlour, in the shire of Banaff. The river Spey is one of the most productive fishing rivers in Scotland.

There are no market-towns, within the bounds of the parish; the nearest are Charlestown of Aberlour.  The only village is Archiestown, which was built on the moor of Ballintomb, by the late Sir Archibald Grant of Monymuck, in about 1760. By an accidental fire in 1783, the village was partly destroyed. The village consists of a main street, a square and several by-lanes, and contains 180 inhabitants.

The flood of August 1829 will be handed down to future generations as the greatest historical event connected with the annals of Knockando. A place called Campbell’s Cairns is supposed by some to derive its name from being the scene of battle between the Campbells and some other clan in which the Campbells were defeated; whilst others maintain that the place is so called from Cossack Dhu,m a freebooter of the olden time, who was said to have concealed his booty among the cairns.

Lord Elchies, a distinguished Scottish judge, was born in this parish, and occasionally resided in the house of Easter Elchies. The Messrs Grant of Manchester, who by their own industry have established one of the most extensive mercantile establishments in the west of England, are natives of this parish. The late Sir William Grant, Master of the Rolls, was nearly related to the Elchies family.

There are three heritors, viz. James William Grant, Esq. of Wester Elchies; George M’Pherson Grant, Esq. of Ballindalloch and Invershire; and the Right Honourable the Earl of Seafield. Mr. Grant of Wester Elchies, the chief heritor, holds a civil appointment in Bengal; his family are residents in the parish at the house of Wester Elchies. The Earl of Seafield possesses the lands of Easter Elchies. Mr Grant of Ballindalloch possesses Kirdals; and Mr. Grant of Wester Elchies, Knockando, Ballintomb, and Wester Elchies.

The population in 1755 amounted to 1267 inhabitants, in 1791 it decreased to 1600, and by 1801, the count was 1482.

Amongst the customs, it may be remarked, that married women generally retain their maiden names in preference to assuming those of their husbands. Another custom practiced is that weddings occur on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, the people having some absurd superstition against Monday and Fridays.

The chief crops raised in the parish are oats viz. Hopetoun early and late, Angus, Kildrummy, potatoes and black, oats; barley and Scotch bear, wheat, peas, beans, potatoes, turnips, flax, and hay. The oats and barley are chiefly sold, the remainder being used in families or for feeding domestic animals. The potato and turnip crops are consumed in the parish. The rotation of crop generally observed consists in two white crops, one green crop, and two crops of grass. The quantity of grass seeds sown in an acre amounts to eight pounds of clover, mixed with three bushels of rye-grass.

There are four meal-mills, a waulk-mill, and a carding-mill, in the parish. Saw and thrashing-mills have also been added. At the waulk and carding-mills, wool is dyed and manufactured into plaiding and broad-cloth, blankets and carpets.

The parish church of Knockando, situated about eight miles from the eastern, and seven from the western boundary, is on the whole pretty central for the population. It was built in 1757, almost close to the site of the former one. The parish church accommodates between 500 and 600 persons. The sittings are all free, and are proportioned to the tenants, according to the valued rents of the heritors. There are about 320 families attending the Established church. There is a small congregation of Independents in the parish. Only one Roman Catholic is to be found in the parish.

In consequence of a fire breaking out in the village of Archiestown on the 17th April 1783, the house of the session-clerk was burned, and three volumes of session records were consumed, commencing in 1712, and ending in 1767. The testamentary book, and the register of baptisms and marriages, commencing in the year 1768, were fortunately preserved. Since 1783, books have been kept containing accounts of the ordinary collections, distributions to the poor, and general session business, as likewise registers of baptisms and marriages. The baptismal register is by no means complete owing to parents have neglected to have their children’s names inserted. No record of deaths or funerals appears to have been kept until the year 1834, when the present minister commenced a private register.

This account was written August 1835.

Source: The New Statistical Account of Scotland for Knockando, 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. 

Bruce B. Bishop FSA, Scotland has done an extensive research into the County of Moray, and individual parishes.  These are to be found in The Lands and People of Moray, of which the Family History Library in Salt Lake City has a set, Ref. 941.23 H2b.  Here is a brief resume of each chapter for Knockando.

The Parish of Knockando prior to 1780.  A brief history of Knockando parish with mention of the Ministers at Elchies.  a list of some of the inhabitants of Knockando before 1780 is given showing name, dates, residence, relationship or reason for being mentioned - covers years 1625-1780. The Lands and People of Moray, pt. 35, 2008 pages 1-6. Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt. 35.

The Parish of Knockando 1780-1799. A history of Knockando including some of the Kirk Session Minutes.  Also includes a list of some of the inhabitants between 1780-1799, and Knockanko Horse Tax Records 1797. The Lands and People of Moray, pt. 35, 2008, pages 7-32.  Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt 35.

The Parish of Knockando 1800 - 1819.  A history of Knockando with a list of some of the inhabitants between 1800-1819. Also a facsimile of the Poor Roll for 1814. The Lands and People of Moray, pt. 35, 2008 pages 33-42, Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt. 35.

The Parish of Knockando 1820 - 1839. A history of Knockando with a list of some of the inhabitants between 1820-1829, illustrated with a facsimile of the Poor Roll August 31st, 1837. The Lands and People of Moray, pt. 35, 2008, pages 43-67, Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt. 35.

The Parish of Knockando 1840-1850.  A brief discussion of Knockando Parish and Development of the Free Church.  A list of proposed Elders and Deacons is given, as well as a list of some of the pre-census inhabitants .  A facsimile page of Distribution to the Poor, July 1844. The Lands and People of Moray, pt. 35, 2008, pages 68-80. Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b.

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

FHL Film Number
Surname Indexes
6086568 (2 fiche)

The 1841-1911 census of Scotland is indexed and imaged on scotlandspeople.($) To use it, you must register and pay a small access fee. All available censuses, 1841-1911, are indexed on this website.  Also pay websites of and have indexed the census records 1841-1901.  It may be easier for you to pay to use the website rather than access the separate indexes through the Family History 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.

Bruce B. Bishop FSA, Scotland, has done extensive research in the County of Moray, and individual parishes. The Lands and People of Moray,  which are held at the Family History Library, Salt Lake City. Ref. 941.23 H2bk black sticker 09.

Mortcloth and Other Death Records 1783-1845 Parish of Knockando, The early death records prior to 1783 only mention the Ministers of the Parish. The period 1783-1845 are quite patchy, and in no way can be onsidered to constitute a complete record of all deaths in the parish during this period, but it gives the date, name, address, funeral costs and the information was extracted from the Kirk Session. The Lands and People of Moray, 941.23 H2bk, black sticker 09, pages 1-13.

Testimonials for Admission to the List of Enrolled Poor.  Parish of Knockando 1775-1794. These testimonials, in a prescribed form, were signed by (or, if they were illiterate, on behalf of) any parishioner who requested admission to the Poor Roll. Gives year, name, relationship, address, and witnesses.  There is a copy of the Prescribed form for the Testiomonial for admission to the Poor Roll, held in National Archives of Scotland. The Lands and People of Moray, 941.23 H2bk, black sticker 09, pages 14-18.

Distribution of Meal Provided by the Exchequer During the Food Shortage of 1783.  The United Parishes of Knockando and Macallan.  Article gives the name of the Estate, the person's name, Trade or Designation, Place, Number in Family and Total Meal Distributed July to October. The Lands and People of Moray, 941.23 H2bk black sticker 09. pages 19-27.

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

Record Type Years Covered FHL Film or book Number
Births: 1757-1854 0990806
Marriages: 1768-1854 0990806
Deaths: 1841-1854 0990806
Churchyard Internments: 1841-1873 Family History Library 941.23/K1 V3b


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 of these records may be indexed and searchable on

Births: Three volumes of birth records of this parish dated 1712–1767 appear to have been burnt, together with the session clerk's house in the year 1783. Entries prior to 1768 are irregular. There are six pages of irregular entries, dated 1757–1804 at the beginning of the volume. The lower portion of the second page is cut off and there are several years out of chronological order. Pages are generally attested to by the session clerk.
Marriages: There are no entries March 1794–December 1796.
Deaths: There are no records prior to 1841.
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:

Kirk Session Minutes 1806–1898
Register of Baptisms and Marriages 1760–1794
Cash Book 1783–1804
List of Interments in Churchyard 1841–1873
Register of Discipline 1783–1795
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/1509.

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.

Knockando Free Church[edit | edit source]

Those who left the Established Church in 1843 formed a congregation, and the charge was sanctioned in March 1844. The congregation built a church in 1845.
Membership: 1848, 147; 1900, 175.
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.

Kirk Session Minutes 1844–1915
Deacons’ Court Minutes 1845–1933
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1525.

Communion Roll of the Free Church of Scotland at Knockando 1844. This article lists name, and place of the Communicant member. The Lands and People of Moray, Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2bk black sticker 09. pages 28-31.

Archieston United Presbyterian Church[edit | edit source]

In 1825 this congregation left the Established Church and obtained supply of sermon from the United Associate Presbytery of Elgin. There are two church buildings connected with this station, both in the parish of Knockando; Tomdoe, built in 1826 and Archieston, built in 1841. The minister shared his time preaching at Archieston during the day and at Tomdoe of Garlinbeg in the evening.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. FHL Film #477618.

Extent of the records is unknown.

Knockando Congregational Church[edit | edit source]

A small church was formed here in 1804. The church gradually declined after the death of its only pastor in 1853, and by 1860, it was discontinued.
Source: A history of Scottish Congregationalism, by Harry Escott, pub. 1960. FHL book 941 K2es.

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

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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Knockando 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.