Coupar-Angus, Angus, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Angus Gotoarrow.png Coupar-Angus

Parish #279

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


CUPAR-ANGUS, or Coupar-Angus, a market-town and parish, partly in the county of Forfar, but chiefly in that of Perth; including the villages of Balbrogie, Longleys, and Washington, 12 miles (N. N. E.) from Perth, and 55½ (N.) from Edinburgh. This place derives the affix distinguishing its name from that of Cupar in Fifeshire, from the more ancient part of the town, which is within the county of Forfar or Angus. An abbey of Cistercian monks was founded here in 1164, by Malcolm IV. The church, a plain structure, was built in the year 1780, and enlarged in 1832, and contains 800 sittings. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church and United Associate Synod, Original Seceders, the Relief Church, and Episcopalians.[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 Coupar-Angus, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

FHL Film Number
Surname Indexes
6086580 (12 fiche)

The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on 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
Births: 1683-1854 0993417
Marriages: 1682-1854 0993417
Deaths: 1747-1793 0993417


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: The first seven pages of births are imperfect. They are blank September 1698–November 1699 and only two entries November 1737–April 1741. Mothers' names are often omitted prior to 1690 and very seldom recorded 1698–April 1748.
Marriages: There are no entries September 1698–January 1700. The records are blank July 1737–April 1742 and there are no entries September 1746–January 1748 or March 1771–March 1774.
Deaths: Deaths were recorded until March 1782, after which burials were recorded April 1782–November 1793.
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 1682–1845, 1849–1874
Poor’s Accounts 1748–1771
Record of Burials January 1849
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/395

Roll of Male Heads of Families

An 1834 list of male heads of families in this parish can be found here.

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.

First Secession United Presbyterian Church

Several persons resident in the parishes of Bendochy, Coupar–Angus and Kettins acceded to the Associate Presbytery in May 1740. In August of the same year several parishioners were received into connection with the Presbytery. These persons were joined in an Association and had occasional supply of sermon afforded them. The Presbytery, in consequence of the numerous demands made upon them, found it difficult to continue even this occasional supply of sermon and in 1743 joined the Seceders. The Breach, 1747 divided the congregation of Dundee. The great proportion of the Seceders adhered to the General Associate Anti-burgher. Their first church was built in 1750 and a second in 1790. A new church was opened in May 1865.
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.

The extent of records is unknown.

Relief Church United Presbyterian Church

Coupar–Angus, resolved to make religious covenanting and public vowing to God a term of church communion, a minority opposed to such a proposal, withdrew from the congregation, and obtained supply of sermon from the Synod of Relief, 1787. A Church was built in 1789. See also The History of the Evangelical Union Church below.
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.

Session Minutes 1813–1918
Manager’s Minutes 1828–1918
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/66

Second Secession Church, extinct

A dispute having arisen in the Relief congregation, the party aggrieved by it withdrew, and obtained supply of sermon from the associate Burgher Presbytery of Perth, 1809. A church was built 1812.
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.

The extent of records is unknown.

Coupar, Angus Free Church

This congregation was formed immediately after the Disruption. The church was opened December 1843. The manse was built in 1845. A school was also provided. Halls were erected in 1880, towards the cost of which were applied the proceeds of the sale of the Free Church school. There was a gradual decline of the population.
Membership: 1848, 400; 1900, 260.
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.

Session Minutes 1843–1948
Other post–1855 records
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1510.

Coupar, Angus Evangelical Union Church

The members of the Relief Church, which had existed since 1789, switched to the Evangelical Union Church in 1848 when it was felt that they did not want to amalgamate with the Secession Church to form a United Presbyterian congregation. The Evangelical Union Congregation ceased in 1954.
Sources: A History of Scottish Congregationalism, by Harry Escott 1960, FHL 941 K2es; and The Scottish Congregation Ministry, 1794–1993, by Rev. Dr. William D. McNaughton 1993, FHL 941 K2mwd. Sources include names of ministers.

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

Coupar, Angus Episcopalian Church

In 1661, the Rescissory Act deposed Presbyterianism in Scotland and re–established Episcopacy. A Bishop was consecrated at St. Andrew’s, which was an ancient see, and Episcopacy was strong in this part of Scotland. However, after the Presbyterian Revolution, and particularly after the 1715 and 1745 rebellions, adherents of the Episcopalian church were greatly persecuted and membership dwindled. From the early19th century, membership began to recover. The church in Coupar–Angus has existed since at least 1811.
Sources: Sources for Scottish Genealogy and Family History, by D.J. Steel 1970, FHL Ref. 942 V26ste vol. 12, pp 196–201 and 244–8; also The Scottish Episcopal Church Year Book and Directory for 1965–66, FHL 941 E4e.

It is not known whether pre-1855 registers exist. For more information write to the church at:
St. Anne Rectory
Forfar Road

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

Coupar-Angus was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Brechin until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Dundee. 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 Angus and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Brechin.
The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Angus. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Angus 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: 30 May 2014.

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