Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #424

This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Dunfermline. 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 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.

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.

Click here[low quality link] for a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Dunfermline

Here is a list of known surname indexes to the census records of Fife, including Dunfermline, and their Family History Library call numbers:

Year Surname Indexes
1851     941.33 X22f
1861 CD-ROM no. 2524
1881 FHL 6086574(set of 8 fiche)

The 1841-1901 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 indexes through the library.

Also the 1841-1911 census is being indexed on www.findmypast.co.uk.

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

Record Type Years Covered Family History Library Film Number
Births: 1561-1652 FHL 1949126 items 4-5
1652-1714, 1687-1756 FHL 1040102
1756-1797 FHL 1040103
1797-1819 FHL 1040104
1819-1849 w/partial index to fathers FHL 1040105 
1836-1854, 1821-1847 (transcripts) FHL 1040106
1833-1854 (neglected entries), index 1834-1854 FHL 1040107 items 1-3
Marriages: 1561-1652 FHL 1040126 items 4-5
1652-1710, 1687-1745 FHL 1040102
1791 (one page) FHL 1040103
1750-1814 FHL 1040104
1814-1819 FHL 1040105
1820-1848 FHL 1040106
1848-1854 FHL 1040107 items 1-3
Deaths: 1617-1643, 1653-1657 (burials) FHL 1040105
1745 FHL 1040102
1745-1755 FHL 1040103
1825-1854 FHL 1040107 items 1-3

Conditions of Original Registers—

Index: For an index to these records, see the Scottish Church Records Index available on computers at the Family History Library and family history centers.  The records may be indexed in the FamilySearch.org
Births: Births are recorded on parallel columns with marriages 1561–1745. There are no entries February 1591–July 1598. There are few entries June 1701–March 1703 and two separate records October 1687–December 1714. After 1772 a large number of entries occur on the margin of the register. The early records are beautifully kept.
Marriages: There are no entries February 1591–July 1598, June 1701–March 1703 and August 1734–May 1750. After 1750 there is a separate record of proclamations and marriages.
Deaths: There are no entries March 1657–January 1745 and June 1755–1825.
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 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:

Abbey Church

Minutes 1640–1689, 1701–1915
Cash Book 1786–1938
Collections 1803–1934
Index to Certificates Given by the Kirk session 1746–1826
Index to Sustained Certificates 1746–1826
Communion Rolls 1821–1949
List of Male Heads of Families 1834–1842
Burial Registers 1761–1857, 1866–1867
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/592.

Dunfermline North

FHL Film Number
Baptismal Register 1851–1920 0889489
Marriage Registers 1851–1902 0889489
Communion Statistics 1851–1896
New Communicants 1851–1901
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/641.

Dunfermline St. Andrew's

Minutes 1835–1843, 1851–1950
Manager’s Minutes 1832–1888
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/1321.

Nonconformist Church Records

For a list of nonconformist churches and their records, click here.

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

Dunfermline 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 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' of Fife and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Fife. 

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.

[Return to the Fife parish list.]