Edzell, Angus, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Angus Gotoarrow.png Edzell

Parish #285

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


EDZELL, a parish, partly in the county of Kingcardine, but chiefly in that of Forfar, 6 miles (N. by W.) from Brechin. This place, in old records designated Edziel, perhaps derives its name from a Gaelic term signifying "the cleft," or "dividing of the waters." The church was erected in the year 1818, at the end of the village. 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 Reports

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 Edzell, 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 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.

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: 1684-1703 0993427

1715-1854 0993427
Marriages: 1641-1703 0993427

1815-1854 0993427
Deaths: No entries none


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: Birth records prior to September 1703 are intermixed with marriages, etc., and then they are blank until March 1715. There are seven pages of irregular entries, 1753–1804, after the record for 1819. Mothers' names are recorded after 1759.
Marriages: Marriage records are blank August 1652–October 1665, January 1680–July 1684, June 1703–January 1715, and April 1719–May 1721. There is no entry for 1723 and they are blank January 1791–December 1804.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session Records

Minutes 1706–1737, 1744–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:

1773, 1837–1939
Minutes and Accounts 1772–1801
List of Male Communicants 1837–1842
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/627

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.

Edzell Free Church

The minister of the parish, with the greater part of his congregation came out in 1843. The proprietor refused a site; but William Carr, shoemaker, gave a corner of land which he held on a 99 years' tack; and there the church was erected forthwith. The manse was built in 1859, on a site given by the Earl of Dalhousie. A new church was erected in 1900. The congregation suffered through rural depopulation. It benefited, however, by the growing popularity of Edzell as a summer resort.
Membership: 1848, 360; 1900, 159.
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.

Minutes 1843–1924
Deacons Court Minutes 1844–1935
Private Registration Book, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials 1837–1875
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/543.

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

Edzell 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 Dundee. 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 Angus 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 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: 5 June 2014.

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