Liff, Benvie & Invergowrie, Angus, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Angus Gotoarrow.png Liff, Benvie & Invergowrie

Parish #301

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


LIFF and BENVIE, a parish, chiefly in the county of Forfar, but partly in the county of Perth; containing the villages of Benvie, Dargie, Invergowrie, Liff, Muirhead, and part of Lochee, and the hamlet of Backmuir, 5 miles (W. N. W.) from Dundee. The word Liff is a North British or Pictish term signifying "a flood" or "inundation," but the reason of its application to the first-named of these two ancient parishes is not known: the name of Benvie is supposed to be derived from the Celtic term beinn buidhe, "the yellow hill or mount." The parishes were united in November, 1758; but that of Liff, long before this, had received considerable augmentations. The parish of INVERGOWRIE had been annexed to it before the middle of the seventeenth century; and the parish of Logie, including the lands of Balgay and Blackness, had been united to it quoad civilia a short time after that period. The church, rebuilt in 1831, is beautifully situated in the park of Lord Gray, who liberally granted to the heritors sufficient ground for the site and precincts: seats are provided for 750 persons. A church was erected at Lochee about the year 1830, and contains nearly 1200 sittings. There are also places of worship for members of the Free Church and the United Associate Synod.[1]

With Fowlis Wester, Invergowrie, and Logie. Logie and Invergowrie have been joined to Liff since the mid seventeenth century. Liff and Benvie were united in 1758.

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 Liff, Benvie, & Invergowrie, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

FHL Film Number
Surname Indexes
941.31 X22a 1851 no. 303
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 FHL Film Number
Births: Liff - 1650-1691 0993484

Benvie - 1655-1677 0993484

both - 1696-1819 0993484

both - 1820-1854 0993485
Marriages: Liff - 1651-1694 0993484

Benvie - 1633-1660 0993484

both - 1704-1772 0993484

both - 1811-1854 0993485
Deaths: Liff - 1726-1766 0993484

Benvie - 1750-1753- mortcloth dues 0993484

both - 1783-1790 0993484

both - 1767-1835 0993485


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: Liff births are intermixed with marriages and other matters prior to 1655. 1655–1664 births are recorded in parallel columns with marriages. The records are blank, except for four entries 1691, May 1690–May 1696; also January 1703–September 1704, and February 1717–April 1718. After 1773, the record appears to be substantially a duplicate of the previous record September 1704–March 1721.
Fowlis and Benvie birth records consist only of period from April 1655 to August 1658.
There are fragments of six pages for Benvie 1667–1677.
Marriages: Liff marriages are intermixed with births and other matters prior to 1655. 1655–1664 marriages are recorded in parallel columns with births. Records are blank 1660–1664, 1694–1704, except three pages containing entries June 1737–February 1739, and May 1769–October 1772, March 1721–August 1811. Fowlis and Benvie marriage records consist only for the period November 1655 to August 1660, except for January 1657–January 1660 which is blank. Benvie marriage records only for 1633–1642, which is also mixed up with other matters.
Burials: Benvie burials are Mortcloth Dues 1750–1753.
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:

Minutes 1667–1669; Benvie; 1671–1677, 1681–1689; Liff; 1786–1892
Minutes and Accounts 1673–1690. Liff; 1704–1721, 1726–1736, 1750
Note: Available at the Dundee City Archive and Record Centre, Dundee, Scotland, record CH2/497.

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.

Liff United Presbyterian Church

Ten persons residing in the parish of Liff petitioned the Associate Presbytery to be taken under their inspection, which was granted, 1739. They afterwards helped to form the congregation of School Wynd, Dundee, with which the survivors and their families remained connected until 1785, when, along with other persons of the same communion who had settled in the place, they were disjoined from it, and formed into a separate congregation, with its seat in Liff.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618. More details may be given in the source.

The extent of records is unknown.

Liff Free Church, later Lundie and Muirhead of Liff Church

A congregation of those who adhered to the Free Church was formed here at the Disruption. They met at first for worship in a tent. The church was built in 1843, and the manse in 1844. The manse was considerably altered and enlarged in 1890. The population greatly declined throughout the district served by this congregation.
Membership: 1848, 246; 1900, 156.
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 1843–1983
Communion Rolls 1843–1964
Other post–1855 records
Note: Available at the Dundee City Archive and Record Centre, Dundee, Scotland, record CH3/1348.

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

Liff, Benvie & Invergowrie 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 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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