Dairsie, Fife, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Fife Gotoarrow.png Dairsie

Parish #421

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


DAIRSIE, a parish, in the district of Cupar, county of Fife, 2 miles (E. N. E.) from Cupar; containing the village of Osnaburgh, or Dairsie-Muir. This place is of some antiquity. The church, situated near the remains of the old castle, was erected about the year 1621, and was originally an elegant structure in the later English style, of which it was one of the most beautiful specimens in the country. It underwent much mutilation, however, in the time of the Covenanters, who, in their zeal for the demolition of idolatrous monuments, in 1645 destroyed most of its richest details. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship.[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 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.

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 Dairsie as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Year FHL Film Number Surname Indexes
1841      Missing None
1851 FHL 1042254 941.33 X22f
1861 FHL 0103827 CD-ROM no. 2524
1871 FHL 0101989 None
1881 FHL 0203619 6086574 (set of 8 fiche)
FHL 0208751

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 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: 1645-1854 FHL 1040127 items 1-2
Marriages: 1666-1854 FHL 1040127 items 1-2
Deaths: 1727-1854 FHL 1040127 items 1-2

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. Records may be indexed in the FamilySearch
Births: There are no entries March 1656–January 1666 and December 1675– February 1699, except two for 1694–1695. There is a duplicate of record 1727–1765 and a modern transcript beginning February 1705, which is continued after 1770 as the principal register. Mother's names are not recorded until 1774.
Marriages: There are no entries, except one for 1695 November 1675, November 1675–November 1727, November 1749–January 1753, November 1763–November 1783, November 1794–November 1804, 1809, and November 1812–May 1815.
Deaths: There are no deaths or burials 1729–1734, December 1739–July 1744, December 1753–September 1755, November 1769–October 1783, and September 1794–February 1803.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. FHL 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 1648–1676; 1701–1804; 1837–1924
Collections and Disbursements 1704–1769; 1772–1823
Heritor's Records 1779–1810
Scroll Session Minutes and Accounts 1728–1773; 1779–1813
Note: Available at St. Andrews University Library, St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland, record CH2/427.

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.

Dairsie Free Church

The parish minister and a large majority of his congregation came out in 1843. A church was erected on a site and opened in October 1843. Up until then worship was conducted in the open air, or in a joiner's shop. A school was built in 1845 and maintained until the passing of the Education Act in 1872. The manse was erected in 1846. The church was renovated in 1876. . The estate of Craigfoodie on which the buildings were erected was bequeathed in 1876 to the Free Church, the congregation being a perpetual charge.
Membership: 1848, 243; 1900, 107.
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 list of ministers.

Session Minutes 1846–1915
Deacon’s Court Minutes 1847–1899
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh Record CH/355.


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

Dairsie 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 Fife at Cupar. 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 Catalog/frameset_fhlc.asp

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 Fife. 

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Fife. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place' of Fife 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. 259-280. Adapted. Date accessed: 25 April 2014.

[Return to the Fife parish list.]