Morton, Dumfriesshire, Scotland Genealogy
This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Morton. To learn more about how to use these records to search for your ancestors, go to the Scotland: Research Strategies.
- 1 History
- 2 Census Records
- 3 Church Records
- 4 Civil Registration Records
- 5 Probate Records
- 6 References
MORTON, a parish, in the county of Dumfries, 15 miles (N. W. by N.) from Dumfries containing the village of Thornhill, and part of Carronbridge. The name of Morton, which is Anglo-Saxon, signifies "the stronghold or dwelling on the moor;" and the parish appears to have been thus denominated from the old castle of Morton, a very strong place, the striking ruins of which are still to be seen upon an extensive moor at the bottom of a beautiful green hill. The church, an elegant edifice in the early Norman style, was built in 1840; it stands on an elevated spot near the village of Thornhill. There is also a dissenting meeting-house, formerly belonging to the Antiburgher persuasion, but now held by the United Associate Synod.
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.($) Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for Morton. Also available at the Family History Library.
A census is a count and description of the population, taken by the government, arranged by locality and by household. Read more about Scotland Census Records.
Click here for a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Morton.
Below is information for any known surname indexes:
|1841||941.48/M4 X22 1841|
|1851||941.48/M4 X2m 1851|
|1881||6086550 ( 3 fiche)|
The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on scotlandspeople.($) 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.
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:||1692-1854||1067969 item 5-6|
|Marriages:||1692-1854||1067969 item 5-6|
Condition of Original Records
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: Births are intermixed with marriages until 1727.
Marriages: Marriages are intermixed with births however a separate record begins February 1725. There are no entries April 1783–November 1814. The entries after 1725 indicate that the marriages were before witnesses.
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:
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.
In 1834 there were 130 families belonging to the Associate and Relief congregations, in Penpont. There were also 15 Reformed church members within the parish.
Thornhill Associate, later United Presbyterian Church
The history of this congregation has been given along with that of Moniaive, with which it was connected until 1805, when it was disjoined from it, and organized as a separate congregation. See that congregation under Glencairn parish. The first church was built 1784and the second built in 1816.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618. More details may be given including ministers.
The extent of 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.
Morton 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' of Dumfries and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'
Read more about Scotland Probate Records.
- Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 272-294. Adapted. Date accessed: 20 March 2014.
Return to the Dumfriesshire parish list.