Cleish, Kinross-shire, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Kinross-shire Gotoarrow.png Cleish

Parish #460                       [Return to parish list.]

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


CLEISH, a parish, in the county of Kinross, 3 miles (S. S. W.) from Kinross; containing the villages of Kelty and Maryburgh. This place, of which the name is of uncertain derivation, is distinguished by its having formed part of the route taken by Mary, Queen of Scots, on her flight from the castle of Lochleven. The old church, erected in 1744, was accidentally destroyed by fire in 1832, and the present church, erected in its place, is a handsome edifice, adapted for a congregation of 500 persons.[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 Cleish. 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 Scotland Census Records.

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

Year FHL Film Number Surname Index
1841    1042706
1851 1042273 941.34 X22k, 2 parts
1861 0103840 unknown
1871 0104005 unknown
1881 0203533 fiche 6086604
1891 0208769 unknown

The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on  To use it, you must register on the website 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 than to access the separate indexes through the library.

Read more about Scotland Census records.

Church Records

The Established Church of Scotland was Presbyterian. Read more about Scotland 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
Births: 1700-1819 1040183 item 3
1820-1854 1040185
Marriages: 1702-1819 1040184 item 3
1820-1854 1040185
Deaths: 1745-1783 1040184 item 3
1783-1811 0102082 (order from the vault)
1828-1854 1040185

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: Births and marriages are intermixed from February 1702. Both records are blank for December 1741–September 1751. A leaf of irregular entries of births for 1780–1791 is found after the record for August 1783. Mother's names not recorded in entries of birth until 1743.
Marriages: Births and marriages are intermixed from February 1702. Both records are blank for December 1741–September 1751. There are separate entries for proclamations and marriages prior to December 1741. After 1783, entries of marriages are fewer than previously.
Deaths: Age at death is generally stated and often the cause of death is too. The record is blank for May 1811–January 1828.

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 1651–1687, 1701–1843
Cash Books 1701–1753, 1790–1849
Testimonials Received 1701–1755 - 1 booklet
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/67.

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.

In 1839, the number of Seceders within the parish numbered 60, but they would have attended services in neighboring parishes at that time.

Kelty Free Church

The minister of Cleish Parish and many of his people came out at the Disruption in 1843. A Free Church congregation was formed in the village of Kelty. A church was erected forthwith. A new church was erected, and opened in 1894. Kelty became an important mining center, and the congregation grew with the increase of the population.
Membership: 1848, 70; 1900, 186
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843-1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. FHL Film #918572. More details may be given in the source including a list of ministers.

The extent of records is unknown.

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

Cleish was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of St. Andrews until 1823.  It was then under the jurisdiction of the Sheriff’s Court of Alloa to 1847 and the Sheriff’s Court of Kinross from 1847.  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' of Fife and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of St. Andrews.

Read more about Probate records.


  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 200-218. Adapted. Date accessed: 17 April 2014.

[Return to the Kinross parish list.]