Bonhill, Dunbartonshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Dunbartonshire Gotoarrow.png Bonhill

Parish #493

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

 

History

BONHILL, a parish, in the county of Dumbarton, 3 miles (N.) from Dumbarton containing the villages of Alexandria, Dalvait, Damhead, and Mill of Haldane. The name of this parish was originally written Buchnall, afterwards Bulhill, and, at length, Bunnul; it is supposed to be a corruption of the Gaelic word Bogh n' uill, which signifies "the foot of the rivulet." The church, a plain structure, with a tower, was opened in 1836, and contains 1200 sittings: another church, on the General Assembly's Extension scheme, was opened in 1840; and the Relief Congregation and Independents have places of worship.[1]

Bonhill is a small town in Dumbartonshire, Scotland. It is directly across the Leven river from Alexandria, Dumbarton, Scotland. In the 1800s, this was a big area for textile production, namely calico. The location on the Leven river was a great aid to this industry. One company was on the Alexandria side and another company was on the Bonhill side. Another company listed quite often as an employer was Turkey Red Dye. [2]

Alexandria, in the parish of Bonhill was named after Lieutenant Alexander Smollet, a local member of Parliament who was born there.  It is contiguous with the village of Bonhill. The town is a mile away from Loch Lomond.  An 1800s Alexandria map is part of the maps.nls.uk site. For other towns, use this link.

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 Bonhill.  Also available at the Family History Library.  

Census Record


A census is a count and description of the population, taken by the government, arranged by locality and by household. Read more about Scotland Census Records.

Click here for a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Bonhill.

Below is information for any known surname indexes:

 

Years Surname Index         
1841
1851 CD-ROM no. 3816
1861
1871
1881 6086556 ( 4 fiche)
1891

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 indexes through the library.

Church Record

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

Event Type Years Covered Family History Library Film Number
Births: 1676-1854 1041982
Marriages: 1672-1854 1041982
Deaths: No entries
Condition of Original Registers—

Index: 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 be indexed in theInternational Genealogical Index. 
Births: The record is blank December 1688–April 1691. The page after September 1751 is imperfect. There is a duplicate of the portion for September 1751–June 1772. Irregular entries are of frequent occurrence after 1800.
Marriages: The record is blank November 1687–March 1691. The record for 1751–1767 has been injured by want of care and several entries are imperfect.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.

Note: Prior to 1650, this parish was quite small. It then acquired portions of Luss and Kilmaronock parishes.

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:

Minutes 1767–1841
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record HR 505/1.

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.

According to the New Statistical Account of Bonhill for 1840, the number of families belonging to the various religious denominations were: 592 Established Church, 254 Relief Church, 75 Old Light Burghers, 36 United Secession, 12 Roman Catholic, 4 Episcopalian, 4 Reformed Presbyterian, 3 Baptist, 2 Unitarian, 1 Methodist, 1 Anti-burgher, 1 Berean, and 28 no profession. A newly opened Independent Congregational church also claimed 80 members. The population of the parish in 1831 was 3874.

Bonhill Relief Church, later United Presbyterian

History—
This congregation originated in 1831, partly in the want of accommodation in the parish church, but principally in the desire of members of the Relief congregations of Dunbarton and Kilmaronock, resident in Bonhill and neighborhood, to have a place of worship more conveniently situated for them.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618. More details may be given in the source including a list of ministers.

Records—
Minutes 1833–1862
Manager's Minutes 1841–1879
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1005.


Alexandria United Secession Church

History—
A congregation worshiping on Bridge Street, but at that time in no ecclesiastical connection, applied to be taken under the inspection of the United Associate Presbytery of Glasgow in June 1845. The number of adult members on an initial list was 88. Another 45 were subsequently admitted as members, and the whole was recognized as a congregation. A place of worship built in 1844 was found to be too small and was sold to the Congregational church group. Another church was built in 1847.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618. More details may be given in the source including a list of ministers.

Records—
Baptismal Register 1845–1947
Minutes 1846–1851
Other Post 1855 records
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1462.

Bonhill Free Church

History—
In December 1844, a mission station was formed here. Church and manse were built in 1846 and the charge was sanctioned in 1847. The introduction and rapid growth of Calico Printing and Turkey Red dyeing industries led to a large increase in the population.
Membership: 1848, 129; 1900, 414.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843-1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Film #918572. More details may be given in the source including ministers.

Records—
The extent of records is unknown.


Alexandria Free Church

History—
The congregation of the quoad sacra church here Acame out@ in almost unbroken strength in 1843, although the minister remained in the establishment. They worshiped for a time in Dalmonach Hall and then acquired an old Independent church.
Membership: 1848, 299; 1900, 434.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843-1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Film #918572. More details may be given in the source including a list of ministers.

Records—
The extent of records is unknown.


Alexandria Congregational Church

History—
In June 1839 a church was formed in Alexandria from the efforts of the students of the Theological Academy. They obtained a pastor and bought the first United Secession church. The congregation ceased in 1880.
Source: A History of Scottish Congregationalism, by Harry Escott, pub. 1960. Family History Library book 941 K2es.

Records—
The extent of records is unknown. For information write to:
The United Reformed Church, Scottish Synod Office
PO Box 189
240 Cathedral Street
Glasgow G1 2BX
Scotland


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

History—   Unavailable.

Records—                          Family History Library Film Number
Membership    1847–1855     0104149 item 12

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

Bonhill was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Dunbarton until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Dumbarton. 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 Dunbarton and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Dunbarton.
The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Dunbarton. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Dunbarton and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'

Read more about Scotland Probate Records.

 

References

  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 124-151. Adapted. Date accessed: 13 February 2014.
  2. R.A. Peel - Turkey Red Dyeing in Scotland Its Heyday; Journal of the Society of Dyers and Colourists; Volume 68, Issue 12, pages 496–505, December 1952


Return to the Dunbartonshire parish list.