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Parish #135

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


Contents

History

It appears from the chartulary of Moray that the name of this town and parish prior to the year 1226 was Elgyn or Helgyn; and an old iron seal in the town’s repositories, has this inscription, engraven in Saxon characters, in a style supposed to be earlier than that of the middle of the 16th century, “S.COMMUNE CIVILTATIS DE HELGYN”. A variety of etymologies have been given of the name, but the most probable derives it from Helgy, General of the army of Sigurd, the Norwegian Earl of Orkney, who conquered Caithness, Sutherland, Ross, and Moray, about the beginning of the tenth century.

Elgin is the county town, the seat of the presbytery, of the law and county courts. About the beginning of the eleventh century it appears to have been a considerable town, with a royal fort. The earliest charter of guildry was granted by Alexander II in 1234.
There are no villages in the parish, and Elgin is the only town. This is no a manufacturing place, the population are capitalists, professional men, retailers, artisans, and laborers.

Alexander Grey, Esq. surgeon, and Lieutenant-General Anderson both of the E.I. C. Service the former a native of Elgin, and the latter a proprietor and occasional residenter, deserve to be mentioned. Dr. Grey amassed a very considerable fortune in the East, the greater part of which be bequeathed for charitable purposes, particularly for building and endowing a hospital for the sick poor of the town and county of Elgin.

General Anderson was born of very humble parents in the neighborhood parish of Lhanbryd, and entered the Honourable Company’s service as a private. By his good conduct and soldierly qualities he attained rank and wealth, and the large fortune which he had honourably acquired he devoted at his death to the education of the young, and the support of the aged poor of his native county . the Elgin Institution at the east, and Grey’s Hospital at the west end of the town are splendid memorials of the philanthropists.

The principal proprietors in the parish are, the Earls of Fife, Seafield, and Moray, George Duff of Milton Duff, Colonel Alexander Hay of Westerton, Alexander Brander of Springfield, James Stephen, M.D. of the Shanchry, James Stewart King of the Greyfriars, Lachlan Cuming of Blackhills, and Major Taylor of Bilbohall.

If the return of the population of the town and parish prior to the Government census be correct, it has fluctuated very considerably. In 1750 the numbers were 6308, in 1793 the population dropped to 4534, and by 1831 it climbed up to 6130.

The Morayshire Farmer’s Club was instituted in 1799, and is now the oldest local agricultural Association in Scotland. The original members were most happy in their selection of Mr. Isaac Forsyth as secretary, who engaged in the cause with all his heart, and for more than a quarter of a century, devoted the energy to the patriotic objects for which the Society was established.

The produce that is grown in the parish includes grains, potatoes and turnips, hay, and pasture for grazing. Thirty-five years ago the breeds of horses and cattle in the parish and district were of a very inferior description, but since that time much attention has been paid to their improvement. The best breeds of horses from the southern counties have been introduced; and it may now be asserted that more compact, active, strong, horses are seldom to be met with than those in the possession of the Morayshire farmer. The most prevalent breed of cattle in a black-colored horned breed, resembling the Aberdeenshire, though not so large, and, with much care and expense by the breeder, it has attained great symmetry and beauty as well as size. The few sheep fed with the farmer’s cattle do not require to be noticed, but pigs of every variety of breed are very abundant in every farm yard, and there are few of the poorest cottagers without one.

There are eight grain mills in the parish, a carding-mill for wool, and a saw-mill for timber. Thrashing-mills driven by horses or by water are in general use. There is tannery and brewery in the town and two distilleries in the landward part of the parish, are in active operation.

The parish church, in the center of the town, is about eight miles-distant from the west most point of the parish, and nearly five from the south-east extremity. As three-fourths of the population reside in the town it could not be more conveniently situated. The church was built in 1828, and can conveniently contain 1800 persons. Thirty-six free sittings are set apart for the poor. There are two chapels connected with the United Associate Synod of the Secession church; one with the Associate Synod of Original Seceders, and Independent chapel in connection with the Congregational Union of Scotland, an Episcopal, and a Catholic chapel, the Catholic bishop residing in Enzie, Banffshire.

The register of baptisms and marriages, extending to seven volumes, commences in the year 1705, and though a few years are wanting, it may be reckoned on the whole as complete a record as is to be found in most parishes. The register of burials begins in 1770, and is confined to those interred in the cathedral burying-ground. This inaccuracy, however, is more apparent than real, as the number of strangers interred in the cathedral ground are probably very nearly the same as the number of persons who die in the parish, and are buried in the neighboring church-yards. These registers are most accurately kept.

This account was written April 1835.

Source: The New Statistical Account of Scotland for Elgin, Family History Library 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.

History of the People of Elgin. This is a background history of the area. Picts occupied the area before the Romans came, up to the repopulation of the area in the late nineteenth century. Years covered 400 A.D. - 1841. Article in The Lands and People of Moray. pt. 1, 2000. pages 1-9. Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt.1. Also hand drawn map 1662, Article covers years 500-1835. The Lands and People of Moray pt 3. 2001, pages 1-11. FHL Ref. 941.23 H2b

Elgin prior to the 12th Century 84A.D.-1072 . The Lands and People of Moray 941.23 H2b. pt. 5. 2002 pages 1-5.  The 12th Century. Map of Elgin about 1200A.D. in the above named and numbered journal pages 6-8.

The 13th Century. History, and list of pre-census inhabitants. Hand drawn map about 1300. in above named and numbered journal pages 9-12..

The 14th Century. brief history, list of some pre-census inhabitants. Hand drawn map about 1400. in the above named and numbered journal pages 13-16.

The 15th Century. brief history, list some of pre-census inhabitants. illustrated hand drawn map about 1500. In the above named and numbered journal pages 17-19.

The 16th Century. brief history, list of some pre-census inhabitants, with relationship and occupation. Hand drawn map suggesting the layout of Elgin about 1600.  Article in the above named and numbered article pages 20-54.

A brief description of Elgin between 1600-1619. Article in The Lands and People of Moray. FHL Ref. 941.23 H2b  pt. 6. year 2002.pages 1-4.

1620-1639 in the above named  and numbered journal. pages 5-8.

1640-1659 in the above named and numbered journal pages 9-14.

1660-1679. in the above named and numbered journal pages 15-18.

1680-1699 in the above named and numbered journal pages 20-28. with hand-drawn map of Burgh of Elgin about 1650 with copies of 3 pages of registers of distribution of monies to the poor. 1698.

Some of the 17th Century residents of the Burgh of Elgin. Article shows list of inhabitants of Elgin, showing residence, relationship, occupations. in the abvoe named and numbered journal pages 29-74.

1700-1719. Brief description of Elgin. 1700-1719. Hand drawn map of Burgh of Elgin c 1700. The Lands and People of Moray. Family History Library Ref. 941.25 H2b pt. 7. 2002. page 1-7.

1720-1739 Brief description of Elgin 1720-1739 in the above named and numbered journal pages 8-10.

1740-1759 Elgin Illustrated with hand drawn map of Burgh of Elgin c. 1750 pages 11-17, in above named and numbered journal.

1760-1779. Brief description of Egin with one page of Town Council Minutes 1774.  pages 18-23 in the above named and numbered journal.

1780-1799. Brider description of Egin with hand drawn map of Elgin c 1800 with copies of Minutes of Kirk Sessions 1774 and 1775. pages 24-31.

Some of the 18th Century Residents of Elgin. A listing of some of the inhabitants of Elgin giving relationships, occupations covering 1700-1799 pages 32-66 in the above named and numbered journal.

The Lans and People of Moray.

Elgin 1800-1809. History and hand drawn map of Elgin about 1800. In the Journal The Lands and People of Moray.  part 8, 2002 FHL Ref. 941.23 H2b pages 1-4.  Years 1810-1819, pages 5-7. Years 1820-1829 illustrated with hand-drawn map of the West, East and Centre ends of the Burgh of Egin about 1822. Includes a sketch of John Shanks 1758-1841 Conservator of Elgin Cathedral pages 8-19. 1830-1839 on pages 20-22. 1840-1850, with copy of Lease of Grant Lodge in 1845 pages 23-27. 1850-1873 Some brief notes on the Burgh of Elgin in the second half of the 19th Century. pages 28-29. Some of the residents of the Burgh of Elgin prior to the Census of 1851. Shows their relationship, residence and occupations. pages 30-61.

Calcots, Dunkinty, and Foresterseat. A brief history of the above named places with a list of pre-census inhabitants giving name, date, residence, occupation or reason for metnion. Covers years 1426-1846. Article in The Lands and People of Moray. Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b vol. pt. 9, year 2002, pages 60-65

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.

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


Years
Family History Library Film Number
Surname Indexes
1841
1042644, 1042645
none
1851
1042102
none
1861
0103885
none
1871
0104064
none
1881
0203433
6086568 (2 fiche)
1891
00208649
none


The 1901 amd 1911 census of Scotland is indexed on scotlandspeople.($) To use it, you must register and pay a small access fee. All available censuses, 1841-1911, 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.

A brief history of the following places. Pre-census list of some inhabitants, illustrated with had drawn maps for 1750-1850 - all taken from The Lands and People of Morary. vol. pt 1, year 2000, Family History Ref. 941.23 H2b pt. 1.

Inverlochty covers 1260-1850. page 10-14 of the above named and numbered journal.

Manbeen and Auchtertyre covers 1549-1844, pages 24-39 in above named and numbered journal.

Miltonduff.  Article covers years 1309-1932, pages 40-44. in above named and numbered journal.

Mosstowie. Illustrated with a hand drawn maps of the hillside of Mosstowie for 1650, 1750 and 1850.  Article covers from 1457-1870. pages 15-25 of above named and numbered journal.

Pittendreich. Covers years 1743-1829. Article in the above named and numbered journal.

Pluscarden., Article covers years 1232-1885. Article in the above named and numbered journal. Photocopies vailable from the Family History Library, Salt Lake City.

Sheriffmill. Alternate spelling is Sherefmyln, Article covers 1237-1852, in Journal The Lands and People of Moray. page 14-19, Pt 3, year 2001. Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt.3.

Blackhills covers 1593-1868. Inclcuded is facscimilies of locality of Stipends for Ministers of Elgin. 1793 and 1807. Also a succession chart of the Jones Family of Blackhills. The Lands and People of Moray pt. 4, page 12-21,FHL Ref. 941.23 H2b pt 4. 2001.

Clackmarras and Whitewreath, pre census list of inhabitants. Map early 19th Century. covers years 1544-1847. The Lands and Peole of Moray 941.23 H2b pt. 4, 2001 pages 22-30 FHL .

Maisondicu, Ashgrove, New Elgin and Glassgreen. Brief history of these church lands, includ. list of some pre-census inhabitants, hand drawn map of Maisondieu after 1830, area ub tge earky 19th Cent. and New Elgin 1870 Article covers 1225-1870. The Lands and People of Moray 941.23 H2b pt 4, 2001 pages 31-41.

The Panns, History of Panns Estate. List of pre census inhabitants. Article covers years 1560-1847. The Lands and People of Moray. 941.23 H2b page 41-45, pt 4 year 2001

Mayne and Bilbohall. Brief histof of estate of Mayne and Bilbohall which was formerly part of Mayne. list of pre-census inhabitants, with illustrated hand-drawn map early 19th Cent. Article covers years 1350-1847. The lands and People of Moray 941.23 H2b pt. 4. 2001, pages 53-60.

Colcots, Dunkinty, and Foresterseat.  A brief history of these places with a list of pre-census inhabitants giving name, date, residence, occupation or reason for mention.  Illustrated with a had darwn map of Calcots about 1780.  Article covers years 1426-1846 in The Lands and People of Moray  pt. 9 year 2002, pages 60-65. FHL Ref. 941.23 H2b 

Church Records

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

Record Type Years Covered Family History Library Film Number
Births: 1609-1626, 1666-1679 0990798

1705-1731 0990798

1731-1788 0990799

1756-1819 0990800

1821-1854 0990801
Mariages: 1705-1710 0990798

1741, 1770-1819 0990800

1820-1854 0990801
Deaths: 1770-1819 0990800

1820-1854 0990801

1843-1854 - neglected entries 0990801

 

Condition of Original Registers—

Indexed: For an index to these records, see the Scottish Church Records Index available on computers at the Family History Library and family history centers.  Some of these records may be indexed and searchable on familysearch.org.

Births: There are no entries for April 1615–July 1617, September 1626–October 1666, November 1669–June 1679, and December 1679–August 1705. There are three pages of irregular entries dated 1710–1743 and three entries for 1808–1815 after the record for May 1709. There is one page of irregular entries for 1734–1747 recorded on September 1735. There is an index to the 1732–1788 entries. Then there are pages of irregular entries for 1776–1796 prefixed to the record beginning August 1788.
Marriages: There are no entries for April 1709–June 1770, except two for 1710 and 1741 found at pages 64 and 66 of the record of births for 1709. There are only four entries for December 1770–October 1783, after which the record is regularly kept.
Deaths: The record includes burials.
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 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:

Minutes 1598–1605, 1613–1675, 1682–1783; accounts 1780–1843
Collections 1697–1711
Poor Distribution 1842–1849
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/145.

Monumental Inscriptions

The Kirkyards of Pluscarden, Pluscarden Abbey, and Pluscarden Abbey Churchyard are listed on this website in Moray has been indexed by the North-East Scotland Family History Society.

Family History Library 

Online listing is available through the: Aberdeen and North-East Scotland Family History Society

A copy of the booklet is available through The Family History Library, Salt Lake City

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.

Elgin High Free Church

History—
At the disruption in 1843, the minister and most of his congregation left the Established Church, which was the only church in Elgin. They constructed a church the same year. In 1850, the congregation split to form a second congregation, and the original group called themselves the High Church. The original church building was renovated in 1893.
Membership: 1848, 740; 1900, 705.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843 1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Family History Library Film #918572. More details are given in the source.

Records—
Minutes 1844–1972
Deacons’ Court Minutes 1849–1959
Communion Rolls 1844–1938
Other post-1855 records
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1414.

Elgin South Free Church

History—
When the Elgin Free Church could no longer accommodate the growing congregation, a second charge was sanctioned in 1851 as the South Free Church. They met for a time in the old Baptist chapel until they could build a new church in 1854.
Membership: 1854, 164; 1900, 372.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843 1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Family History Library Film #918572. More details are given in the source.

Records—
Extent of the records is unknown.

Pluscarden Free Church

History—
The minister and most of the congregation of the Chapel-of-Ease at Pluscarden left the Established Church in 1843. They continued to worship in the old priory of Pluscarden, as they had before the Disruption, until it was sold in 1897 and they built a new church. The congregation declined through depopulation.
Membership: 1848, 85; 1900, 87.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843 1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Family History Library Film #918572. More details are given in the source.

Records—
Session Minutes 1843–1905
Deacons’ Court Minutes 1838–1899
Communion Roll 1843–1920

Not Held
CH3/359 Pluscarden Free Church (later United Free) (Pluscarden Chapel) 1838-1972
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/359. Online cataloue at The National Archives of Scotland

South Street United Presbyterian Church

History—
In 1734, because of a dispute, this congregation divided into two groups: Urquhart and Auklearn, Nairnshire. Urquhart was moved to Elgin for convenience. The same minister was ordained over the two congregations and preached at both places. The First Secession Church in Elgin was built in 1754.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Family History Library Film #477618.

Records—
Extent of the records is unknown.

Moss Street United Presbyterian Church

History—
The Established Church gave permission for the collegiate charge of Elgin to worship in the "Little Kirk." They invited various ministers to preach until 1788 when their own minister was ordained. When the "Little Kirk" was condemned, they built a new chapel on Moss Street in 1801, which the Presbytery would not allow them to open. As a result, the congregation seceded in 1804 and joined the General Associate Anti-burgher Presbytery of Elgin. A new church was built on the old site in 1858.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Family History LibraryFilm #477618.

Records—
Extent of the records is unknown.

Elgin Congregational Church

History—
The church in Elgin was organized in 1804 by a group called the "Free Presbyterian Congregation." An Independent minister met with them and applied Congregational principles. Soon they formed the Elgin Congregational Church and erected their first chapel in 1822 and a second in 1866. The church ceased about 1950.
Source: A History of Scottish Congregationalism, by Harry Escott, pub. 1960. Family History Library book 941 K2es.
Records—
Extent of the records is unknown. For information write to:
The United Reformed Church, Scottish Synod Office
PO Box 189
240 Cathedral Street
Glasgow G1 2BX
Scotland

Elgin Baptist Church

History—
This church was organized in 1808 with 30 members who purchased a hall in 1828. The group had no pastor until one was finally settled in 1843. The congregation at Lossiemouth was formed from this church 1862. They built a new church in 1892.
Source: History of the Baptists in Scotland, by Rev. George Yuille, pub. 1926. Family History Library book 941 K2hi. More information is given in the source.

Records—
Extent of the records is unknown. Write to:
The Baptist Union of Scotland
12 Aytoun Road
Glasgow G41 5RT
Scotland

Elgin Episcopal Church

History—
A church dedicated to the Holy Trinity was consecrated in 1829.It is today combined with St. Margaret's at Lossiemouth.

Records—
Extent of the records is unknown. For information write to the minister at:
The Episcopal Rectory
8 Gordon Street
Elgin IV30 1JQ, Scotland

Elgin Roman Catholic Church

History—
In 1827, this mission was formed. A church was built in 1843, consecrated to St. Silvester.
Source: Catholic Missions and Registers, 1700 1880: Vol. 6 Scotland, by Michael Gandy, pub. 1993. Family History Library Ref. book 942 K24gm vol. 6.

Records—
Baptisms 1840–1918
Marriages 1841–1918
Note: Available online for a fee, at scotlandspeople,($) record RH21/20.

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.

Directories

Courtesy of the National Library of Scotland, Post Office Directories are avilable online. The directories available for Ayrshire are:

1844,1847,1850,1852,1863: These are available in either PDF format or viewable online.

Land and Property

The Aughteen Part 5. . A brief history of these lands and their division illustrated with a hand-drawn map 1800.  By 1847 only inhabitants are listed. Article cover years 1451-1847. Article found in The Lands and People of Moray. pt. 4, 2001 pages 61-65.  Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt 4. 2001.

Poorhouse Records

Morayshire Combination (See Morayshire) www.workhouses.org.uk/Morayshire/

Probate Records

Elgin 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.


Return to Moray parish list.



 

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