Blairgowrie, Perthshire, Scotland Genealogy
This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Blairgowrie. 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
- 3.1 Established Church—Old Parochial Registers
- 3.2 Established Church—Kirk Session Records
- 3.3 Nonconformist Church Records
- 4 Civil Registration Records
- 5 Probate Records
- 6 References
BLAIRGOWRIE, a burgh, market-town, and parish, in the county of Perth, 58 miles (N. by W.) from Edinburgh. The term Blair is of doubtful etymology, by some supposed to be derived from a Gaelic root signifying a mossy locality, and by others thought to come from a word denoting the scene of a battle or of war: Gowrie was the ancient denomination of the district in which the parish is situated, and has been used as an affix to distinguish it from several other places of the name of Blair. The church, built in 1824, on the site of the old edifice, on an eminence close to the town, contains 1000 sittings. A chapel, accommodating 600 persons, in connexion with the Established Church was purchased for the Burgher congregation in 1837. There are also a Roman Catholic chapel, and places of worship for members of the Free Church and Independents; and a handsome edifice has been just erected connexion with the Episcopal church.
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 http://edina.ac.uk/stat-acc-scot/. Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for your parish of interest. Also available at the Family History Library.
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 Blairgowrie, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:
|| Family History Library Film Number
|| Surname Indexes|
|| 941.32 X22p 1851 no. 335|
|| 6086646 (6 fiche)|
The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. 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.
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||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: There are no birth entries May 1659–February 1702, only two for November 1721–August 1725, and none for April 1738–June 1742. Eleven irregular entries from 1820–1841 are recorded on the flyleaf at 1815. Mothers' names are generally omitted 1755–1764.
Marriages: There are no marriage entries March 1659–April 1702 and March 1738–November 1742. There is a separate record containing proclamations 1647–1658.
Death: 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 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:
Brown Street Chapel, St. Mary’s
Seat Rents 1842–1843
Other post-1855 records
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/1462.
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 Lists.
Blairgowrie (Rattray) United Presbyterian Church
Rattray, the name by which this congregation was long known, is a parish neighboring Blairgowrie. The congregation of Rattray originated in1757. On September 20th 1757 obtained supply of sermon from the General Associate Anti-burgher Presbytery of Perth. First church built 1758, at Old Rattray; second built, 1792, third 1835. The name of Blairgowrie was given to the congregation in 1871.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873.Film #477618. More details are given in the source.
Various Minutes 1757–1884
Other post-1855 records
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1467.
Blairgowrie First Free Church
The minister of the parish, and a large proportion of his congregation, "came out" in 1843. The church was opened later that year. In 1857, the congregation split over the election of a minister, the minority forming a new congregation called the South Free. The failure of local industries, which began about 1890, affected adversely all the churches.
Membership: 1848, 1040; 1900, 772.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols, pub. 1914.Film #918572. More details are given in the source.
Minutes 1834–1839, 1849–1910
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/916.
Blairgowrie South Free Church
This congregation was formed by those who seceded from the First Free church in 1857. The charge was sanctioned in 1858, and a church was opened.
Membership: 1859, 190; 1900, 190.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Film #918572. More details are given in the source.
The extent of records is unknown.
Blairgowrie Congregational Church
Preachers were sent to Blairgowrie in 1802. A church was formed and constituted in 1803. This church dispersed by 1921 and its few remaining members became associated with the church in Coupar Angus.
Source: A History of Scottish Congregationalism, by Harry Escott, pub. 1960. Family History Library book 941 K2es. Further details are given in the source including a list of ministers.
The extent of pre-1855 records is unknown. For information write to:
The United Reformed Church, Scottish Synod Office
PO Box 189
240 Cathedral Street
Glasgow G1 2BX
Roman Catholic Church
A congregation was formed in 1837 but it was served from Perth until the church in Blairgowrie was built and dedicated to St.Stephen in 1848.
Note: Available online for a fee, at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, record RH21/37.
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.
Blairgowrie was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of St.Andrews until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Dunblane. Probate records for 1513- 1901 are indexed online at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. 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 Perthshire and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of St.Andrews.
The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Perthshire. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Perthshire and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'
Read more about Scotland Probate Records .
- Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 124-151. Adapted. Date accessed: 08 May 2014.
Return to Perthshire parish list.