Benholm, Kincardineshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Kincardineshire Gotoarrow.png Benholm

Parish #253

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


BENHOLME, a parish, in the county of Kincardine, 3 miles (S. W.) from Bervie, on the road from Aberdeen to Dundee; containing the village of Johnshaven. The name is derived from ben, a hill, and holme, a piece of low level ground, terms which are descriptive of the peculiar features of the district. The church, built in 1832, is a neat edifice, in good repair, accommodating 768 persons: the old church, which was taken down in 1832, was furnished with a font for holy water, an incense altar, and a niche in the wall, supposed to have been a receptacle for sacred relics; and there are several curious inscriptions on the stones yet preserved, one of which points to this edifice as the burying-place of the Keith family. There are places of worship belonging to the Free Church and United Associate Synod.[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.

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

FHL Film Number
Surname Indexes
6086598 (2 fiches)

The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed 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 church records

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

Established Church—Old Parochial Registers

Record Type
Years Covered
FHL 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: Records prior to March 1720 are a copy which is continued to August 1724. Mothers’ names are not recorded until November 1749.
Marriages: Marriage registers were regularly kept.
Deaths: Mortcloth Dues.
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 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:

Minutes 1711–1832
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH2/33.

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.

Johnshaven United Presbyterian Church

First Congregation, all the parishioners of Benholm, with the exception of a few Episcopalians, belonged to the Established church until 1763. A number of his people remonstrated with him against this change, and because their remonstrances were unheeded, they withdrew from the Established Church, and applied to the General Associate, Anti-burgher Presbytery of Perth for supply of sermon, which was granted. They built a church in 1790. Later, the first congregation united with the second, and the united congregations occupied the place of worship which had belonged to the second.
Second Congregation, this congregation originated in a dispute in the First congregation, respecting alleged irregularities in the treasurer’s books. Those who broke away petitioned the Associate Burgher Presbytery of Perth for supply of sermon, which was granted in 1803. They met in a dwelling house until 1805, when they took possession of a place of worship built for them in Johnshaven. A new church was built in 1860.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. FHL Film #477618.

Kirk Session Minutes 1769–1817, 1821–1915
Other Post - 1855 records
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH3/1553.

Benholm Free Presbyterian Church

James Glen, minister of the parish, "came out" at the Disruption. The church was opened in December 1843. Manse and school were erected in 1848. The congregation suffered because of the decline of the fishing and weaving industries.
Membership: 1848, 260; 1900, 142.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. FHL Film #918572.

Kirk Session Minutes 1843–1902
Deacons’ Court Minutes 1843–1903
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH3/1556.

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

Benholm was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of St. Andrew until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Stonehaven. 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 Kincardines and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of St.Andrew.

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Kincardine. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Kincardine 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. 499-514. Adapted. Date accessed: 6 June 2014.

Return to Kincardineshire parish list.