Elie, Fife, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Fife Gotoarrow.png Elie

Parish #427

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


ELIE, a parish, and burgh of barony, in the district of St. Andrew's, county of Fife, 3 miles (S. S. E.) from Colinsburgh. This place is supposed to have derived its name from the marshy nature of the soil previously to the modern improvements in agriculture, and a portion of land bordering on the loch of Kilconquhar still retains that character. The church, which was substantially repaired in 1831, is a neat and well-arranged edifice, adapted for a congregation of 600 persons, and is situated in the centre of the village.[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

 Satistical Accounts of Scotland. Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for Elie. 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 Elie as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Year FHL Film Number Surname Indexes
1841     1042701 book 941.33 X22s; films 1145982-3; CD-ROM no. 1075
1851 1042267 941.33 X22f
1861 0103829 CD-ROM no. 2524
1871 0103990 None
1881 0203523 6086574 (set of 8 fiche)
1891 0208756 None

The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on Scotlands People. 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: 1639-1681, 1701-1724, 1732-1820 1040110 items 4-5
1820-1855 1040111 item 1
Marriages: 1639-1684, 1701-1718, 1732-1820 1040110 items 4-5
1820-1855 1040111 item 1
Deaths: 1736-1760, 1783-1808 (burials) 1040110 items 4-5
1822-1855 1040111 item 1
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 also be indexed in other FamilySearch collections for Scotland.  Type in Scotland in the search box to finde those records.
Births: There are no entries, except for one, May 1681– April 1701 and September 1724–May 1732.
Marriages: There are no marriage entries June 1674–January 1678, except for 12 entries of contracts, September 1682–October 1684. There are no entries December 1678–April 1701 and November 1718–June 1732.
Deaths: Deaths and burials; on the margin of many entries are short notes indicating the time and manner of death, etc., of the parties. There are no entries November 1760–November 1783, from which date the entries are engrossed on alternate pages of the register of baptisms. Many of the entries after 1783 contain interesting information respecting the parties deceased, in addition to the time and place of death and burial.
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:

There are no known pre-1855 records for this parish.

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.

Elie Free Church

In response to a petition from Free Church residents, this congregation was organized in June 1844. The church was erected that year. Adherents from St. Monance worshiped here until 1872, when a preaching station was established as a result of work carried on by the Elie congregation. A new church was erected in 1887. Elie later became a fashionable health resort.
Membership: 1848, 140; 1900, 193.
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.

The extent of pre-1855 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

Elie 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 Scotlands People. 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 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. 392-411. Adapted. Date accessed: 25 April 2014.

[Return to the Fife parish list.]