St. Vigeans, Angus, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Angus Gotoarrow.png St. Vigeans

Parish #319

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


VIGEAN'S, ST., a parish, in the county of Forfar; containing the villages of Auchmithie, Gowan-Bank, and Marywell, the hamlet of Colliston-Mill, the late quoad sacra district of Inverbrothock, and part of that of Ladyloan, 1 mile (N.) from Arbroath. This parish, which originally comprehended the entire barony of Aberbrothock, at present comprises only the lands of St. Vigean's proper, the ecclesiastical district of Inverbrothock, and part of Ladyloan. The church, which is situated on a rocky knoll near the stream, is an ancient structure in the Norman style of architecture, with a square tower; it was enlarged in 1827, has 825 sittings, and is in good preservation. A second church, to which was lately annexed the ecclesiastical district of Inverbrothock, was built in that portion of the parish in 1828, it is a neat structure containing 1230 sittings. At Auchmithie is a chapel of ease, built by the Countess of Northesk, in 1829. There are also places of worship for members of the Free Church, Original Seceders, and Wesleyans.[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 St.Vigeans, as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

FHL 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

Return Type
Years Covered
FHL Film Number




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: Prior to 1690 births are recorded in alternate columns with marriages. They are blank from February 1690–December 1727 except for a few irregular entries. Records were irregularly kept from 1727 to 1790. A separate register begins in 1790. There are two pages of irregular entries dated 1722–1755 after entries of September 1739; and thirteen pages of irregular entries dated 1748–1790 after entries of 1789. Mothers’ names are not recorded until December 1727.
Marriages: Prior to 1690 marriages are recorded in alternate columns with births. Records are blank from February 1690 to December 1727. There are irregular entries 1727–1789 and a separate register begins in 1790. Proclamations and contracts are recorded before 1690.
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 1665–1694, 1727–1873
Accounts 1731–1756
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/320.

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 October 1842, FHL British Book 941 B4sa Ser. 2, vol. 11 pt. 2, states that at that time there were within the parish meeting places for Methodists and the Original Constitutional Seceders. Nonconformists within the parish, including the towns of Inverbrothock and Ladyloan, numbered 553 members of the United Associate Secession church, 144 Constitutional Seceders, 386 members of the Relief church, 180 Episcopalians, 119 Methodists, 72 Congregationalists, 67 Roman Catholics, 36 Baptists, 27 Glasites, and 143 persons who professed no religion. The largest part of these numbers, were in Inverbrothock. Many of these persons would have attended church in neighboring Arbroath parish.

Seceding Churches

Colliston Free Church

This congregation was formed of those who came out of St. Vigeans Church at the Disruption. Two elders constituted the Kirk Session at Westmill of Colliston in June 1843. The church was erected in 1843–1844, the manse in 1850–1851 and a school and teacher's house shortly afterwards. The congregation suffered through the failure of the weaving trade and decrease of population.
Membership: 1848, 183; 1900, 161.
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.

The extent of records is unknown.

See Also Arbroath Parish.

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

St.Vigeans 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 library catalog  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: 6 June 2014.

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