Borrowstounness, West Lothian, Scotland GenealogyEdit This Page

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Parish #662

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



BORROWSTOUNNESS, a sea-port town, burgh of barony, and parish, in the county of Linlithgow, 3 miles (N.) from Linlithgow; containing the villages of Borrowstoun and Newton. The parish is bounded on the north by the Frith of Forth, and on the south and west by the river Avon. The church, nearly rebuilt in 1775, and enlarged in 1820, is a neat plain structure, containing 950 sittings; there are still some remains of the ancient church of Kinneil, near Kinneil House. A place of worship has been erected for members of the United Secession.[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 your parish of interest. Also available at the Family History Library.

Census Records

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.

Click here[low quality link] to see the Family History Library Catalog entry for the census records of Borrowstounness, as well as the catalog entry for the 1881 census surname index for the county of West Lothian.

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 the separate indexes through the library.

Church Records

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

Event Type Years Covered FHL Film Number
Births: 1656-1688, 1693-1783 1066613
1783-1855 1066614
Marriages: 1648-1661, 1681-1689
1696-1707 1066613
1752-1855 1066614
Deaths: 1736-1792, 1808-1848 1066614
Monies Collected 1822-1828 1066626 item 3

Condition of Original Registers—

Indexed: For an index to these records, see the Scottish Church Records Index on computer at the Family History Library and family history centers.  Some records may be indexed in the International Genealogical Index. 
Births: There are no entries for December 1688–July 1693. The lower portions of the pages of 1693–1697 have been partially burnt, resulting in missing entries. There are no entries for December 1738–January 1740 except some irregular entries for 1723–1742.
Marriages: There are no entries for February 1650–August 1653, January 1657–August 1660, February 1662–July 1681, February 1689–March 1696, and October 1707–March 1752. The fact of marriage is sometimes not stated in the entries.
Deaths: Dates of deaths and burials are recorded until 1792. There are no entries for September 1783–July 1791 and July 1792–January 1808. After 1808 deaths are recorded.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session Records

The Kirk session was the court of the parish. The Kirk 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:

Sederunt Minute Books of the Bo'ness Committee of Presbytery 1640–1874
Various Minutes and Accounts 1671–1898
Miscellaneous Papers 1659–1855
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/540.

Nonconformist Church Records

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.

First General Associate Church, extinct

This congregation was formed about 1745 when several parishioners of Borrowstounness seceded. Those who adhered to the General Associate Anti-burgher Synod at the Breach in 1747 became members of the congregation of Craigmailen and continued in connection with it until 1763 when they were formed into a separate congregation and purchased a place of worship in Borrowstounness.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. FHL Film #0477618. More details are given in the source.

The extent of records is unknown.

Second Associate Church

The history of this congregation is identified with the first congregation above. At the Breach in 1747, those adhering to the Associate Burgher Synod became members of the Associate congregation of Torphichen until 1793 when they were disjoined from it and formed into a separate congregation.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. FHL Film #0477618. More details are given in the source.

The extent of records is unknown.

Borrowstounness, Bo'ness and Carriden Free Church

The congregation was formed in 1843 and sanctioned in 1844. The parish minister adhered to the Free Church.
Membership: 1848, 193; 1900, 352.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. FHL Film #0918572. More details are given in the source.

Minutes 1844–1898
Communion Roll 1843–1895
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/519.


Borrowstounness Branch, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Records—                                   FHL Film Number
Record of Members   1846–1853    0104149 item 13

Civil Registration Records

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

Borrowstounness was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Edinburgh until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Linlithgow. 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 West Lothian and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Edinburgh.

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

Read more about Scotland Probate Records.


  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 124-151. Adapted. Date accessed: 17 April 2014.

[Return to the West Lothian parish list.]


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  • This page was last modified on 13 June 2015, at 15:03.
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