Kinghorn, Fife, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Fife Gotoarrow.png Kinghorn

Parish #439

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


KINGHORN, a royal burgh and a parish, in the district of Kirkcaldy, county of Fife; containing the village of West Bridge, and the island of Inch-Keith, 3 miles (S. by W.) from Kirkcaldy, and 9 (N.) from Edinburgh. This place, at a very early period, was one of the residences of the Scottish kings. The town is situated on the shore of the Frith of Forth, directly opposite to the port of Leith, and on the great road from Edinburgh to Dundee. The parish church, which is near the old harbour, was rebuilt in 1774; it is a very plain structure, and contains 700 sittings. A church was built on the eastern boundary of the parish, bordering upon Abbotshall, to which a quoad sacra district was annexed, including portions of each of the two parishes. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church and the United Secession.[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 Kinghorn.  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.

Here is a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Kinghorn as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Year Family History Library  Film Number Surname Index
1841     Missing None
1851 1042268 941.33 X22f
1861 0103829 CD-ROM no. 2524
1871 0103992 None
1881 0203524 6086574 (set of 8 fiche)
1891 0208759 None

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 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

Record Type Years Covered Family History Library Film Number
Births: 1577-1581, 1601-1623, 1640-1724 1040167
1725-1854 1040168
Marriages: 1683-1724 1040167
1725-1854 1040168
Deaths: 1685, 1698-1716 1040167

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 centers.  The records may be indexed in the International Genealogical Index.
Births: There are no entries August 1581–June 1601 and April 1623–February 1640. Mother's names are recorded after June 1601.
Marriages: There are two pages of imperfect entries at 1783–1784.
Deaths: There is only one entry dated prior to June 1698.
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:

Minutes 1605–1610, 1622–1632, 1639–1647, 1716–1961
Register of Collections and Disbursements 1716–1775, 1794, 1829–1920
Communion Rolls 1848–1963
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/472.

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.

Kinghorn Free Church

In the summer of 1843 a Free Church Association was formed. Regular services were provided in November of that year, and in May 1844 a probationer was appointed to the congregation. The charge was sanctioned in 1845. The church was erected in 1846 and the manse in 1850. A succession of industrial failures retarded the progress of the congregation.
Membership: 1848, 108; 1900, 129.
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.

Session Minutes 1845–1918
Deacons Court Minutes 1846–1918
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/406.

Kinghorn United Presbyterian Church

When the parish minister of Kinghorn resigned in 1778, several parishioners were displeased with the new choice and withdrew from the Established Church and applied to the Relief Presbytery of Edinburgh to be taken under their inspection as a forming congregation, which was granted the same year. After the death of their first minister, the congregation applied in 1791 to the Associate Burgher Presbytery of Dunfermline to be taken under their inspection, which was granted. Several Seceders residing in and about the town, who had previously been connected with the Associate Congregation of Kirkcaldy, now joined the congregation. A Church was built in 1779. A new church was built in 1866.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618. More details may be given in the source, including ministers.

Session Minutes 1824–1856, 1862–1961
Trustees and Managers Minutes 1842–1960
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH/405.

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

Kinghorn 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 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.


  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 61-82. Adapted. Date accessed: 01 May 2014.

[Return to the Fife parish list.]