Bellie, Moray, Scotland Genealogy
This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Bellie. To learn more about how to use these records to search for your ancestors, go to the Scotland: Research Strategies.
- 1 History
- 2 Census Records
- 3 Church Records
- 4 Civil Registration Records
- 5 Land and Property
- 6 Probate Records
- 7 Maps
- 8 References
BELLIE, a parish, in the counties of Banff and Elgin, 8 miles (E. by S.) from Elgin; including part of the quoad sacra district of Enzie, and the village of Fochabers. The Gaelic word bellaidth, signifying "broom," has been considered by some as giving the name to this place; but others derive it from beul-aith, the meaning of which is "the mouth of the ford." The church is situated in the village of Fochabers, and is a handsome edifice, built in 1798. There is a place of worship for members of the Free Church. An episcopal chapel has been built by the Duchess of Gordon, on the north side of Fochabers; the Roman Catholics have a place of worship in that village.
The name of this parish has been traced by some to the Gaelic Bellaidth, signifying broom; and by others to Beul-uith, signifying- the mouth of the ford. The parish is of an oblong quadrangular figure, but narrower at the northern than at the opposite extreme. The Spey is the boundary on the west; the Moray Frith on the north; Rathven on the east; Keith and Boharm of the south.
There are six markets held in the course of the year, for cattle and horses, but chiefly the former, are held at Fochaber, the principle village.
To the north of Gordon castle, are the remains of a military station, which early tradition assigned to the Danes, but which in later times has long been known by the appellation of the “Roman camp.” Those who ascribe it to the Danes suppose it to have been connected with a battle which they fought with the Scots in the neighbourhood of Cullen; but, as the Roman Eagles were once certainly displayed upon the banks of the ancient Tuessis or Spey, it is generally supposed that this encampment was formed by a detachment of Agricola’s troops, when he traversed the coast of the island, and may have been intended to cover the ford of the river, which at that period probably ran along the base of the bank where the station is placed.
The number of residents in the village of Fochaber, according to the last return, was 1086, and in the landward districts, there were 1346. In 1821 the population was 2235, in 1831 the population was 2432, and by 1841 the population count was 2433.
The whole parish, with the exception of the domains surrounding the castle, was in former times partitioned out into small estates of landships, which were held in feu of the Gordon family.
The produce that is grown in the parish included grains of every kind, potatoes, turnips, green crop, and hay. The salmon fishing of the Spey has long been famous. It extends from the mouth of the river about nine or ten miles, and yields a revenue to the Duke of Richmond.
By far the greater part of the people are of the Established Church. There are only a few families of the Episcopal persuasion. The Roman Catholics, who are more numerous , have of late years erected a chapel in the village of Fochabers. No mention is made of church records having been kept for this parish.
This account was written January 1842.
Source: The New Statistical Account of Scotland for Bellie, 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.
A Brief History of the parish of Bellie. A brief history of Bellie, illustrated with a hand drawn map of the parish of Bellie about 1775. Article covers years 1643-1811. The Lands and People of Moray, pt 16, year 2004, pages 1-5. Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt.16.
The Town of Fochabers. A history of the town, old and new with a list of some of the pre-census inhabitants, illustrated with facsimiles of lists , tenants, eviction notice, and plan for the new town. Article covers 1500-1850, to be found in The Land and People of Moray. pt.16 2004, pages 6-44, Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt. 16.
Crossing the Spey, the Ferriers and the Bridge. A discussion of ferries that crossed the river Spey at Boat of Bogg and the building of the bridge. Illustrated with facsimilies of the first page of the Tack of the South Ferry Boact of Bogg to James Chalmers, 1750, and a list of the Ferry Tolls for the crossing of the Spey. 1769. Article covers years 1516-1852. The Land and People of Moray, pt 16, 2004, pages 45-49. FHL Ref. 941.23 H2b pt. 16.
The History of the Parish of Bellie. A brief history of Bellie, illustrated with a hand-drawn map of the Parish of Bellie about 1775. Article covers years 1585-1811, The Land and People of Moray pt. 17, 2004, pages 1-5, Family Hisotry Ref. 941.23 H2b pt. 17.
Braes of Enzie, Chapelford, Redhouse and Wellheads. A brief description of these lands with a list of pre-census inhabitants giving name, date, residence, relationship, illustrated with hand drawn map of Braes of Enzie about 1775. Article covers years 1676-1830. Article in The Land and People of Moray, pt. 17, 2004, pages 59-66, Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt. 17.
The Small Settlements in the South of the Parish Including Ordiquish, Aultdearg, Aulthash, Pathside, Saughwells, Drakemyres, Ryeriggs, Raefin, Starryhaugh and Auchbeggs. A brief description of these places with a list of some of the pre-census inhabitants, giving name, date, residence or reason for being metioned, illustrated with hand drawn map of the southern part of the parish about 1775. Covers years 1711-1857. Article in The Land and people of Moray. pt. 17 2004, pages 67-70, Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt.17,
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 Bellie as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:
|| Family History Library. Film Number
|| Surname Indexes|
|| 6086568 (2 fiche)|
The 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901 and 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. Images of the actual census are also available on scotlandspeople for these years of 1841-1911. It may be easier for you to pay to use the website rather than access the separate indexes through the library. The 1841-1901 census records are indexed on findmypast 1841-1901 indexes and ancestry.co.uk 1841-1901.
Oldmills. Brief history of Oldmills, one of the eldest on the River Lossie also known as Kings Mills with a list of some pre-census inhabitants. Included is hand drawn map of early 19th century. Article covers 1566-1843. Article in Journal The Land and People of Moray. 941.23 H2b pt. 4 year 2001. pages 46-52.
Bogmoor, Culreach and Byres. A brief description of the land with a list of pre census inhabitants giving name, date, residence, illustrated with a facsimile of land records and hand drawn map of the lands of Dallachy about 1755.Covers years 1542-1843. Article in The Land and People of Moray 941.23 H2b pt.17, 2004, pages 23-29.
Nether and Upper Dallachy, Cowiemurie and Dryburn. Same as above, illustrated with facsimile of land records and a hand drawn map of the lands of Dallachy about 1755. Article covers year 1655-1854. The Land and People of Moray. Family History Library 941.23 H2b pt. 17, pages 30-41.
Lower and Upper Auchenreath. Same as above illustrated with hand drawn map of the lands of Auchenreath 1775. Earliest mention of Auchenreath in this article is 1638.The Land and People of Moray. Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2bpt. 17, 2004, pages 42-47.
Auchenhalrig. A brief description of the land of Auchenhalrig with a list of pre census inhabitants, giving name, date residence, relationship or reason for being mentioned. Illustrated with map of the lands of Auchenhalrig about 1775. Article covers years 1643-1825. The Land and People of Moray, pt. 17. 2004 pages 48-51. Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt. 17.
Tynet and Tulloch. Sames as above, with a list of pre census inhabitants, giving name, date, residence, relationship. Illustrated with a had drawn map of the area about 1775 and documents relation to the church and farm. Article covers years 1677-1853. The Land and People of Moray. pt 17, 2004, pages 52-58. Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt.17.
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|
Condition of Original Registers
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: Interpolations and entries omitted in their proper places, but subsequently recorded are a frequent occurrence in the birth or christening registers after 1760, more especially after 1774.
Marriages: There are no entries for May 1743–May 1752, except three for 1749 and December 1769–December 1771. There are only three entries for 1774, two for 1803, and none for 1808.
Deaths: The registers were regularly kept and include Mortcloth Dues.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. Family History Library. 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 and Accounts 1711–1750, 1750–1783
Baptismal Register 1856–1903
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/747.
From the National Archives of Scotland Catalog September 7, 2012
CH2/747 Records of Bellie, Kirk Session 1711-1977
CH2/747/1 Minutes and accounts 1711-1750
CH2/747/2 Bellie, Kirk Session 1750-1783
CH2/747/3 Minutes 1821-1880
CH2/747/4 Minutes 1880-1945
CH2/747/5 Baptismal register 1856-1903
CH2/747/6 Proclamation register 1959-1977
The Old Church and Churchyard of Bellie. A discussion of Bellie Church, many worshipping outwith the Established Church, despite the events of 1688 and the Rebellions of 1715 and 1745. Also the burial gound, illustrated with sketches of the church, 1560 and 1732, hand drawn map of the church yard 1775, and copies of documents relation to the rebuilding of the church. Article covers 1238-1970. The Lands and People of Moray, pt. 17, 2004. pages 6-19. Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt.17.
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.
Fochabers Free Church
The minister of the parish and a large part of the congregation left the Established Church in 1843. They met at first in a wooden church until 1844 when a permanent church was erected. Still another church was built in 1900. Emigration caused a decrease in membership of the congregation.
Membership: 1848, 378; 1900, 258.
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.
Deacons’ Court Minutes 1844–1902
Communion Roll 1873–1880, 1887–1904
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/685.
Information fron the National Archives of Scotland Catalog
CH3/685 Fochabers Pringle Memorial, United Free, previously Bellie Free, united with Bellie Church of Scotland 30/11/1947 (CH2/747) 1843-1944
CH3/685/1 Minutes 1843-1896
CH3/685/2 Minutes 1896-1944
CH3/685/3 Deacons' court minutes 1844-1872
CH3/685/4 Deacons' court minutes 1872-1903
CH3/685/5 Communion roll 1873-1880
CH3/685/6 Communion roll 1887-1904
Fochabers Roman Catholic Church
Records show that a mission was in existence as early as 1787 although a church was not built until 1826. A new church was dedicated to St. Mary in 1887.
Source: Catholic Missions and Registers, 1700 1880: Vol. 6 Scotland, by Michael Gandy, pub. 1993. Family History Library. Ref. book 942 K24gm vol. 6
Note: Available online for a fee, at scotlandspeople, record RH21/23.
Fochabers Episcopal Church
An ornate two-story chapel was built in 1835. The ground floor was used as a school, and the upper story was used for public worship.
Source: A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, by Samuel Lewis, pub.1846.Family History Library. Ref. book 941 E5l 1989.
The extent of records is unknown. For information contact the minister at:
Gordon Chapel Rectory
Fochabers IV32 7DW, Scotland
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.
Land and Property
Spey Bay, including Tugnet, Floods, Cunninghaugh and Carsemuir. A brief description of these lands, including a list of pre-census inhabitants, giving name, date, residence, and relationship. Illustrated with a hand drawn map of Spey Bay, Flood, and Tugnet about 1775. Article covers years 1711-1843. The Lands and People of Moray, pt. 17 2004. pages 20-22, Family History Library Ref. 941.23 H2b pt. 17.
Bellie 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' 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 librarycatalog for the 'Place' of Moray and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'
Read more about Scotland Probate Records.
- 1662 J. Blaeu, Parish maps of the northeast counties of Aberdeen, Banff, Kincardine, Moray and Nairn www.scotlandsfamily.com/parish-map-aberdeen.htm
- 1856 Ordinance Survey 1:63360, Elgin www.visionofbritain.org.uk/maps/series
- 1874 Ordnance Survey 1:10,560, Elgin british-history.ac.uk/mapsheet.aspx
- 1896 Groome's Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, Elgin freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~genmaps/genfiles/COU_files/Sco/MOR/groome_mor-nai_1896.html
- 1943 Spey Bay, Bellie ncap.org.uk/frame/8-1-7-1-32-141
- 2008 Morayshire (1990 Family History map revision) familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/images/1/1e/Scotland-moray.png
- Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 499-514. Adapted. Date accessed: 27 June 2014.
Return to Moray parish list.