Langholm, Dumfriesshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Dumfriesshire, Scotland Gotoarrow.png Langholm

Parish #839

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



LANGHOLM, a burgh of barony and a parish, in the county of Dumfries containing the village of New Langholm, 18 miles (N. E. by N.) from Annan, and 20½ (N.) from Carlisle. This place derives its name from the level lands, or holms, here, on the river Esk; and appears to have been indebted for its origin to the erection of an ancient border fortress by the powerful family of the Armstrongs, of which fortress the ruins are still in tolerable preservation. The town is situated on the east bank of the Esk. The church, erected in 1703, has been twice rebuilt, the last time in 1779; it is a plain structure containing 800 sittings, but is in bad repair, and difficult of access. A more spacious edifice, on a more eligible site, is now in progress of erection. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church, Burghers, and the Relief.[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 Langholm. 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[low quality link] for a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Langholm.

Below is information for any known surname indexes:


Years Surname Index           
1841 941.48/L2 X22d 1841 A-Y
1851 941.48/L2 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
1067966 item 4
Births: 1820-1844 1067967 item 1
Marriages: 1668-1854 1067967 item 1
Deaths: 1668-1854 1067967 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.
Births: There are no entries May 1687–October 1729 except for three in 1690, and four irregular 1687–1696. Mothers' names are not recorded until 1729.
Marriages: There are no entries April 1687–May 1704, July 1750–May 1760, October 1790–February 1792, and June 1799–January 1801 except one 1759.
Deaths: There are no death entries July 1675–February 1719. From 1794–1816, the entries usually contain only the name of the deceased and the date of burial.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.

A coomputer printout for the baptism and marriage portions of these registers is available on fiche 6901394 (baptisms, two fiche) and 6901395 (marriages).

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 1743–1929
Presbytery Registers 1744–1910 (It contains a list of ministers' widows, etc.)
Note: Available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH2/235.

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.

Langholm Associate, later North United Presbyterian Church

In 1780, at a meeting for Christian fellowship, there was adopted a resolution to withdraw from the Establishment and connect themselves with the Secession. This was accordingly done by a successful application for supply of sermon to the Associate Burgher Presbytery of Edinburgh, 1781. In 1782, the people commenced building a place of worship for themselves, but the work proceeded very slowly. In 1786 a passing stranger, seeing it in an unfinished state, handed over a sum of money sufficient for the completion of the undertaking, and departed. By the next year the little sanctuary was finished, and occupied. A staff of elders was ordained in 1787. A second church was built in 1822 and a third in 1866–1867.
Membership: 1835, 400 from within the parish plus others from without. Membership includes the number of those attending the Relief church.
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.

Langholm Relief, later South United Presbyterian Church

About the year 1798, the minister of the parish of Canonbie, which adjoins that of Langholm, became incapacitated and an unacceptable preacher was appointed as his assistant. Several of the parishioners withdrew from the Established Church, and they connected themselves with the Relief congregation in Waterbeck, They applied for and obtained supply of sermon at Canonbie in 1800, from the Relief Presbytery of Dumfries, After delays, they turned their attention to the town of Langholm, 6 miles distant, as a place where they might possibly obtain their object. A Church was built in 1807. In 1830, a new minister was ordained over the Relief congregation of Waterbeck, and soon after took up the cause of Langholm. The congregation rallied again, and in a few years obtained another pastor.
Membership: See the Associate church above. No breakdown of the individual numbers is available.
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.

Langholm Free Church

This congregation dates from the Disruption. A small wooden structure served at first as a place of worship. Church and manse were built in 1845; the church bearing the inscription, "Free Protesting Church."
Membership: 1848, 140; 1900, 216.
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 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

Langholm 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.


Gilchrist's Memorials of Langholm Parish, transcription of churchyard memorial inscriptions (includes Wauchope, Langholm, and Staplegordon churchyards), is available on  FHL film 918947, item 9.The work, compiled in 1968, provides data for deaths occuring prior to 1855 (only).

Hearth Tax List

FHL 559526 includes 1690s hearth tax list for Langholm.


The National Library of Scotland offers internet access to digitized maps.

Local Societies, Publications, Resources

The Langholm Archive Group works to put Langholm's local history on the web. Web resources include a newspaper index 1848-1887 [as of October 2014], 1864 Ordnance Survey maps, McFarlane's 1726 history of Langholm and Ewes, and other items of historical and genealogical interest.

The Dumfries and Galloway Family History Society is the local genealogical society. The library holds the society's newsletter beginning 1988, call number 941.4 D25d.

The Dumfries and Galloway Archives offers on-line access to "historical indexes," indexes to a number of record sets, many with genealogical significance, including stent rolls, court indictments, chmberlains accounts, town council minutes, and kirk and presbytery minutes. An email contact is avaialable for assitance with research in their holdings.


  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 137-157. Adapted. Date accessed: 20 March 2014.

Return to the Dumfriesshire parish list.