Closeburn, Dumfriesshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Dumfriesshire Gotoarrow.png Closeburn

Parish #816

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


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 Closeburn. 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 Scotland Census Records.

Click here for a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Closeburn. 

Below is information for any known surname indexes:

Years Surname Index       
1841 941.48/C2 X22
1851 941.48/C2 X2m 1851
1861 ---
1871 ---
1881 6086550 ( 3 fiche)
1891 ---

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.

Church Records

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: 1765-1854 1067957 item 3-4
Marriages: 1766-1817, 1823-1829 1067957 item 3-4
Deaths: 1765-1815, 1830-1847 1067957 item 3-4

For earlier records, see the Kirk Session records below.

Condition of Original Registers—

Index: For an index to these records, see the Scottish Church Records Index on computer at the Family History Library and family history center.Some of these records may be indexed and searchable on
Births: There are 312 numbered entries. The register commencing on January 1777 appears to record births only. There are no witnesses' names added to the entries.
Marriages: There is no record, except six entries for June 1776–November 1767, until January 1777. There are no entries for July 1797–August 1807 and December 1814–September 1823 except one for 1817. The record ends 1829 except two entries dated 1848–1853.
Deaths: The first existing entry is numbered 75. There are no entries 1778–January 1791 and May 1815–1830.
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, and they may not be indexed in the Old Parochial Registers index.

Here is a list of the surviving Kirk session records for this parish:

Record Type Coverage Dates FHL Call Number
Minutes 1780–1831, with gaps ---
Poors' Fund Accounts 1718–1753, 1780–1800 ---
Baptisms 1726–1754, 1812–1829 Book 941.48/C2 K2m
Marriages 1726–1742, 1748–1753 same
Deaths 1737–1741, 1748–1753 same
Proclamations 1807–1814, 1823–1829 ---

Note: Originals available at the Scottish National Archives, Edinburgh, record CH2/1233.

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.

Closeburn Free Church

The congregation was formed at the Disruption. It became a sanctioned charge in 1844. A site was obtained and a church was erected in 1844. Owing to trouble arising in this connection, in 1850 it was reduced to a preaching station, but in 1851 it was sanctioned again. The shutting of the line works, and the decrease of the population told adversely on the congregation.
Membership: 1854, 200; 1900, 158.
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.

The extent of the 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.

Probate Records

Closeburn 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' 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.

Return to the Dumfriesshire parish list.