Kirriemuir, Angus, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Angus Gotoarrow.png Kirriemuir

Parish #299

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


KIRRIEMUIR, a burgh of barony, market-town, and parish, in the county of Forfar; containing the village of Northmuir, 6 miles (W. N. W.) from Forfar, and 20 (N. by W.) from Dundee. This place derives its name, which is of disputed origin, most probably from its local appearance and position, which would equally justify its appellation, in the Gaelic signifying "a large hollow," or, as is supposed by some, "a wide district." The parish, which is situated to the north of the vale of Strathmore, is divided into two extensive districts by an intervening portion of the parish of Kingoldrum. The church, a neat plain edifice, was erected in 1787, and is adapted for a congregation of 1240 persons. There is also a church at South Kirriemuir, to which a district was annexed. It contains 1021 sittings. There are in the town and parish an episcopal chapel, and places of worship for members of the Free Church, the Original Constitutional Synod, the United Secession, and the Relief 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 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 Kirriemuir, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Family History Library 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 Family History Library Film Number
Births: 1716-1854 0993443
Marriages: 1821-1854 0993443
Deaths: 1830-1854 0993443


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 early pages of the original record are much wasted; but there is a copy of the portion prior to March 1791, which is continued as the principal record. The record is defective 1793–1794.
Marriages: For marriages prior to 1821, see Kirk Sessions below.
Deaths: There are no records prior to 1830.
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:

Register of Marriages 1805–1814
Minutes and Accounts 1716–1744, 1783–1850
Accounts 1762–1782, 1850–1854
Minutes 1835–1903
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/1302.

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.

General Statement:
The New Statistical Account of Scotland, dated December 1833, FHL book 941 B4sa Ser. 2, vol. 11 pt. 2, states that at that time there were within the parish one meeting place for Original Seceders, one for United Seceders, one Relief church, one for Independents, and one for Episcopalians. About 300 persons each attended the Original Secession and United Secession churches, about 40 persons attended the Relief church, and a few families attended the Independent church. The number of Episcopalians is not specified. Other churches would have come into being after 1833.

Seceding Churches

First United Presbyterian Church

When the Rev. Mr. Henderson was asked to preach in the area, the result was that a number of persons immediately left the Established Church and connected themselves with the General Associate, Anti-burger congregation of Dumbarrow. The distance between Kirriemuir and Dunbarrow being too great to travel every Sabbath, they applied for and obtained supply of sermon in 1772. The first church was built I 1773, and a second built in1853. In 1806, the minister, Mr. Aitken, broke with the Anti-burgher Synod and helped to form the Synod of Original Seceders. The larger part of his congregation sided with him. Mr. Aitken remained the minister of the Original Seceder congregation until his death in 1834. It is not known what became of that congregation after his death. The remaining members of the General Associate Synod eventually obtained a new minister.
A published history of this congregation is available on Family History Library film #1419467.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Family History Library Film #477618. More details may be given in the source.

The extent of records is unknown.

First Relief Presbyterian Church, extinct

This congregation originated with a number of persons resident in the parish, who were dissatisfied with the ministrations of the parochial incumbent. They applied to the Relief Presbytery of Perth to be taken under their inspection as a forming congregation, which was allowed in 1792. They were organized in 1793, and built a place of worship the same year. The first minister resigned the following year under investigation of charges concerning his teachings, and the congregation never rallied under the second minister. The minister eventually resigned, the congregation dispersed and the church building was sold to the Independents. Attempts to reorganize the congregation occurred in 1802 and 1812, but without success until a third attempt in 1828. See Bank Street Relief Church
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Family History Library Film #477618. More details may be given in the source.

The extent of records is unknown.

Bank Street United Presbyterian Church

When a probationer of the Relief Church came to preach at Kirriemuir, the few remaining persons who had been connected with the First Relief congregation were glad that a preacher had come to them, and found a place for him to address them on the Sabbath. The attendance was so large as to encourage them to apply at once for regular supply of sermon, which was granted in 1828. They were organized as a congregation in 1829. In 1830 they hired the place of worship built by the First Relief congregation, which was then unoccupied, the Independent congregation which had purchased it having broken up and dispersed. This soon was too small for the rapidly–growing congregation, and they purchased a building on Bank Street.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Family History Library Film #477618. More details may be given in the source.

The extent of records is unknown.

Kirriemuir North Free Church

In June 1843, the adherents of the Free Church here, who had rented the Old Relief church, were recognized as a congregation. A church was built in 1846, and the manse some years later. The church was renovated in 1895.
Membership: 1848, 310; 1900, 294.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Family History Library Film #918572. More details may be given in the source.

The extent of records is unknown.

Kirriemuir South Free Church

The minister and congregation of the South Church came out in 1843, retaining possession of the church for a short time. Then they found hospitality in some of the Dissenting churches, until they entered their own church in the spring of 1844.
Membership: 1848, 639; 1900, 250.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914.Family History Library Film #918572. More details may be given in the source.

Baptismal Register 1849–1855, 1860, 1869–1960
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/899, See also Tannadice

Dissenting Churches

Kirriemuir Independent Congregational Church

This congregation was formed by certain members of the Relief Church who, on that body giving up their cause in Kirriemuir, had associated themselves with the Congregational Church in Dundee. In 1804, a pastor was selected for the small church which had just been formed. When a subsequent pastor left in 1829, the membership was so reduced that the church ceased.
Source: A History of Scottish Congregationalism, by Harry Escott, pub. 1960. Family History Library British Book 941 K2es. Source contains a list 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 2BQ

Kirriemuir 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 Anglican see, and Episcopacy was strong in this part of Scotland. However, after the Presbyterian Revolution, and particularly after the 1715 and 1745 rebellions, adherents to the Episcopalian church were greatly persecuted and membership dwindled. From the early–19th century, membership began to recover. There has been a church at Kirriemuir since the late 16th century, and it is one of the historic charges of the church. As in Forfar, in spite of repeated attempts to oust them, the Episcopalians retained the Parish Church until 1716. An old silver chalice, bearing the inscription, Afor the use of the Church at Killamure and dated 1694, is still in use. After the repeal of the Penal Laws, a church was built in 1795. This church, destroyed by fire in 1901, was replaced by the present church, dedicated to St. Mary in 1905.
Source: Sources for Scottish Genealogy and Family History, by D.J. Steel 1970,Family History Library Ref. 942 V26ste vol. 12, pp 196–201 and 244–8; also The Scottish Episcopal Church Year Book and Directory for 1965–1966, Family History Library 941 E4e.

Christenings 1797–1854
Marriages 1840–1854
Burials 1835–1854
Note: Available from the incumbent at the church. Write to:
St. Mary’s Rectory
128 Glengate
Angus DD8 4JG

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

Kirriemuir 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 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 librarycatalog for the 'Place-names' of Angus and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of At.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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