Abbotshall, Fife, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #399            

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


This parish was separated from the parish of Kirkcaldy in 1650.  The name of Abbotshall is derived from the circumstance of one of the abbots of Dunfermline having built a house here.  The parish is mostly rural with 2631 of its 3166 acres under tillage and another 535 acres in wood.  Little livestock is raised.  There are a few mills in the parish.  The population of the parish in 1755 was 1348, in 1791 was 2136, and in 1831 was 4206.  The principal town or village is Linktown.  A church was built in 1674 and the present church in 1788 (a new church is in the course of erection to supply this parish and the neighbouring parish of Kinghorn).  Besides the Established Church, there is one dissenting or Seceding chapel now in connection with the United Associate Synod.  There were Cameronians in the parish and there are some Baptists, Independents, and Episcopalians.  A very few individuals attend a Relief meeting at Dysart and is it believed there are two or three individuals of the Roman Catholic persuasion, natives of the sister isle [Ireland].  There are six schools in the parish (one parochial) attended by an average of 500 children.  There is no library in the parish but there is one in Kirkcaldy. 

The above is an extract of the account written in April 1836.

Source:  The New Statistical Account of Scotland for FifeFamily Hstory Library book 941 B4sa, 2nd series, vol. 9, pt. 1; film 990222Item 2; fiche 6026716(set of 13).  

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 Abbotshall. Also available at the Family History Library.

Abbotshall was incorporated into the burgh of Kirkcaldy in 1876 but remained a distinct area for a time.

Census Records

A census record 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 Abbotshall parish as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Year Family History Library Film Number Surname Index
1841 1042699 book 941.33 X22s vol. 1-6
1851 1042251 fiche 6203962
1861 0103825 CD-ROM #2524
1871 0103986 none
1881 0203527 fiche 6086574 (8 fiche)
1891 0208761 & 0208762 none

Note:  The 1881 and 1891 censuses of Abbotshall are listed in the Family History Library Catalog under the parish and burgh of Kirkcaldy. 

The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on  To use it, you must register on the website 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 to 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

Event Type Years Covered Family History Library Film Number
Births: 1650-1819 1040142items 2-4
1816-1855 w/index 0993525
Marriages: 1650-1762, 1764-1819 1040143 items 1-5
1819-1855 w/index 0993525
Deaths: 1750-1860 1040143 items 1-5

Condition of Original Registers—

Index: For an index to these records, see the Scottish Church Records Index available on computer at the Family History Library and family history centers. Some records may be indexed in the
Births: There is one entry for October 1662–February. 1884. The record is tabulated, 1692–1705. There are irregular entries 1763 and eleven pages at the end of the record for 1806 which contain such entries dated 1784–1808. There are frequent irregular entries after 1807.
Marriages: From 1710–1744 marriage entries occur among births for the same time period. Separate record of marriage begins again June 1741. There are no entries June 1762–January 1764. After the record for1806 there are four pages containing clandestine marriages, 1784–1807.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. Family History Library British Book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session Records

The Kirk session was the court of the parish. The Kirk session was made up of he 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, 1793-1812  --  Family History Library book 941.33 B4f, no. 21

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.

Abbotshall United Presbyterian Church

This congregation originated when the minister of the parish was deposed in 1737 on consequence of espousing dissenter principles. This church was also known as Linktown.
See also the history of the Bethelfield Associate Burgher Church at Kirkcaldy parish.
Source: The (New) Statistical Account of Fife, Scotland for 1835, Family History Library book 941 B4sa, Series 2, vol. 9 pt. 1.

The extent of pre-1855 records is unknown.

Abbotshall Free Church

The minister of the parish, together with a substantial congregation, came out in 1843, and formed this congregation.

Membership: 1848, 330; 1900, 385.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D. pub. 1914. Film#918572. More details may be given in the source, including ministers.

Minutes 1843–1901
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1142.

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

Abbotshall 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 Fife at Cupar.  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' of Fife and the subject of 'Probate records.'  Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariot of St. Andrews.

The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Fife.  Look in the library catalog for the 'Place' of Fife and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'

Read more about Scotland Probate Records.


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