Moffat, Dumfriesshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Dumfriesshire, Scotland Gotoarrow.png Moffat

Parish #842

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



MOFFAT, a parish, partly in the county of Lanark, but chiefly in that of Dumfries; 21 miles (N. N. E.) from Dumfries, and 52 (S. by W.) from Edinburgh. This place's name is of doubtful etymology. The town, standing near the opening of the vale of Annan, is on an elevated site 300 feet above the level of the sea. The church, a handsome structure, and beautifully situated, contains about 1000 sittings. There are places of worship for Burghers and members of the Free Church.[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 edina.($)  Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for Moffat. 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 Moffat.

Below is information for any known surname indexes:


Years Surname Index       
1841 941.48/M1 X22d 1841 v. 1-2
1851 941.48/M1 X2m 1851
1881 6086550 ( 3 fiche)

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: 1723-1719 1067968 item 4-5
1819-1854 1067969 item 1-4
Marriages: 1709-1727 1067968 item 4-5
1727-1854 1067969 item 1-4
Deaths: 1709-1727 1067968 item 4-5
1727-1735, 1825-1853 1067968 item 1-4

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. Some of these records may be indexed and searchable on 
Births: There are duplicate entries for July 1737–July 1762. No entries, except two, October 1776–January 1779 and the record is incomplete until January 1791.
Marriages: Marriages are intermixed with other matters. They are chiefly proclamations prior to 1732. After 1732 marriages are regular and irregular. There are no entries January 1781–October 1783.
Deaths: Deaths are Mortcloth Dues intermixed with proclamations, etc.
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:

Session Minutes           1843–1862
Cash Book                   1749–1766, 1802–1843
Book of Discipline         1820–1843
Collection Book            1825–1843
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/1523.

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.


Moffat United Presbyterian Church

A few persons resident in the vicinity of Moffat traveled up Annandale to Cousten, to hear the Rev. Ralph Erskine and the Rev. James Fisher preach there in 1739, and were then induced to connect themselves with the Seceders, and become part of the congregation of Ecclefechan at its formation. When the congregation of Biggar began, a portion of the Seceders in and about Moffat connected themselves with it. From this circumstance the Rev. Mr. Low, of Biggar, was led to preach occasionally in Moffat, at which times the members of the Secession congregation of Ecclefechan and those of Biggar, resident in the district, were brought together, and perceiving that they were sufficiently numerous to maintain ordinances among themselves, they applied for and obtained supply of sermon from the Associate Burgher Presbytery of Edinburgh, 1780. They worshiped in the open air until 1790, when they took possession of a church they had built for themselves. A new church was opened in 1862.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618. More details are given in the source.

Minutes          1846–1960
Other post–     1855 records
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1544.

Moffat Free Church

This congregation was formed in August, 1843. A church was built and opened in July 1844. The manse was erected in 1850, and enlarged in 1884. A new church was built in 1892. The stained–glass window in this church commemorates Dr. Welsh, Moderator of the Disruption Assembly of the Church of Scotland, a native of the parish. From about 1870, with the growth of the town there was an increase of membership. After 1885 the members coming from the country became fewer.
Membership: 1848, 401; 1900, 343.
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 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

Moffat 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-names' 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-names' of Dumfries 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. 255-272. Adapted. Date accessed: 20 March 2014.

Return to the Dumfriesshire parish.