Rathen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland Genealogy
This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Rathen. To learn more about how to use these records to search for your ancestors, go to the Scotland: Research Strategies.
RATHEN, a parish, in the district of Deer, county of Aberdeen, 4 miles (S.) from Fraserburgh; containing the villages of Cairnbulg, Charleston, and Inverallochy. This place, which is of some antiquity, originally included the greater portion of the adjacent parish of Strichen, and a considerable part of the parish of Fraserburgh. The church, a very ancient structure of unknown date, was repaired in 1767; it contains 684 sittings, but is very inadequate to the wants of the population, and a church has therefore been erected for the accommodation of the inhabitants of Cairnbulg and Inverallochy.
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 http://edina.ac.uk/stat-acc-scot/. Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for your parish of interest. 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 census records.
Here is a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Rathen, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:
|| FHL Film Number
|| Surname Indexes|
|| 6086502 (12 fiche)|
The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. 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.
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|
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: After the record for 1819, there are five leaves containing irregular entries 1786–1819. Mothers’ names are not recorded until 1773, and often omitted until 1786.
Marriages: There is no entry July 1722–October 1723. Records are blank November 1727–January 1742, and March 1771–June 1773. No entry March 1800–May 1801. There is only one entry June 1803–January1805 and records are blank January 1807–June 1811.
Deaths: Records are Mortcloth dues prior to 1778. They are blank January 1778–October 1783. Burials after latter date are blank, January 1807–June 1811.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.
Monumental Inscriptions: FHL Book 941.25/R2 V3s.
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:
No pre-1855 Records.
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 List.
Rathen Free Church
The minister and the majority of the congregation of Inverallochy “quoad sacra” church “came out” in 1843. They were joined by members and adherents from the parishes of Lonmay and Rathen. Church and manse were erected shortly after the Disruption. The growth of the fishing villages, Cairnbulg, Inverallochy, and St. Combs, balanced in some measure the decrease in population due to emigration, and the movement of young people to the large towns. The adherents in the congregation were about equal in number to the members.
Membership: 1848, 206; 1900, 194.
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.
There are no known pre-1855 Records.
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.
Rathen was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Aberdeen until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Aberdeen. Probate records for 1513- 1901 are indexed online at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. 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 Aberdeen and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Aberdeen.
The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Aberdeen. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Aberdeen 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. 499-514. Adapted. Date accessed: 19 June 2014.
Return to Aberdeenshire parish list.