Halfmorton, Dumfriesshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Dumfriesshire, Scotland Gotoarrow.png Halfmorton

Parish  #828

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



HALFMORTON, a parish, in the county of Dumfries, 6 miles (N. W.) from Longtown. This place derives its name from its having formed part of the ancient parish of Morton, of which, on its suppression in the early part of the 17th century, one-half was merged in the parish of Canobie, and the other, named Halfmorton. The only approximation to a village is the small hamlet of Chapelknowe, in which the church is situated. The church, a plain structure built in 1744, and containing 212 sittings, was enlarged. There is a place of worship in connexion with the Free Church.[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 edina.($)  Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for Halfmorton. 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 Scotland Census Records.

Click here for a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Halfmorton.

Below is information for any known surname indexes:


Years Surname Index       
1841 941.48/H4 X22d 1841
1851 941.48/H4 X2m 1851
1881 6086550 ( 3 fiche)

The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on scotlandspeople.($)  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 Scotland Church Records.

Here are the pre-1855 records that exist for this parish.


Established Church—Old Parochial Registers

Years Covered FHL Film Number
Births: 1787-1854 1067963 item 3-4
Marriages: 1840-1850 1067963 item 3-4
Deaths: 1839-1852 1067963 item 3-4
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.

Births: There are no entries August 1790–June 1792; only one entry for 1798 and two entries August 1799–April 1801. This record is more or less incomplete throughout.
Marriages: Except for one entry dated February 1805 on page one of the register of births, there are no entries prior to 1840.
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:

None available

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.

Chapelknowe United Presbyterian Church

This congregation derives its name from its place of worship, being erected on a knoll apart from any town or village. The church is in the parish of Half Morton, Eskdale. The parish of Half Morton was formerly an appendage to that of Langholm. When so annexed, the General Assembly enacted that the minister should hold both benefices on condition of his preaching every fourth Sabbath in Half Morton. The condition in course of time was forgotten, though the benefices continued conjoined. For twelve years previous to 1833 there was no public worship maintained in this place by the Established Church. The Associate burgher Presbytery of Selkirk, on petition by some of the inhabitants, afforded supply of sermon in 1810. A Church was built, 1822.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618. More details are given in the source.

The extent of records is unknown. No records are deposited at a record office or library.

Half Morton and Gretna Free Church

The minister of Half Morton parish "came out" in 1843. For a time he had to reside in Annan, ten miles off. The church and manse were built in 1843–1844. In 1846 work was begun at Gretna. On the settlement of a minister at Half Morton in 1849 the Assembly placed the parish of Gretna also under his charge. From 1856 a regular mission was conducted at Gretna. The church at Gretna was built in 1894.
Membership: 1848, 110; 1900, 141.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Film #918572. More details are given in the source.

The extent of the records is unknown. No records are deposited at a record office or library.

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

Halfmorton was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Dumfries until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Dumfries.  Probate records for 1513- 1901 are indexed online at scotlandspeople.($)   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 Dumfries and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Dumfries.

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Dumfries. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Dumfries 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. 527-539. Adapted. Date accessed: 20 March 2014.

Return to the Dumfriesshire parish list.