Peterculter, Aberdeenshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #231

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

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

FHL Film Number
Surname Indexes
6086502 (12 fiche)

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 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

Record Type Years Covered FHL Film Number
Births: 1643-1854 0993352
Marriages: 1785-1854 0993352
Deaths: 1647-1750 0993352

1785-1850 0993352


Condition 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 International Genealogical Index.
Births: There are no entries March 1660–November 1661. They are blank December 1664–June 1674, and April 1679–September 1682. Records are defective for 1699, also 1727–1731, inclusive. Appendix of irregular entries 1798–1825 occur after the record for 1820. Mothers’ names are recorded after 1784.
Marriages: Transcribed entries of proclamations prior to 1818, when record of marriages commences.
Deaths: Burials until 1650 and no entries May 1648–September 1649. Records are blank September 1650–March 1701. Mortcloth Dues from latter date to 1818. There is only one entry October 1730–January 1733 and no entries for 1748. Records are blank November 1750–January 1785, except one entry. At January 1818, a record of deaths and burials commences.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.
Monumental Inscriptions: FHL Book 941.25/P2 V3j.

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 1674–1863
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/764.

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.

Peterculter Free Church

The minister of the parish and many of his people “came out” in 1843. A church was erected within three months after the Disruption, and called Coutlaw Kirk. A manse also was provided. The church was vacated in 1895, but services continued to be held in it three times a year. The old manse was sold and a new one built with the proceeds. Peterculter church, manse, hall, and stables were all erected in 1895. The Free churches of Cults, Kingswells, and Drumoak were built for congregations, which formed part of Peterculter congregation at Coutlaw Kirk.
Membership: 1848, 332; 1900, 323.
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.

Minutes 1844–1889
Deacon’s Court Minutes 1846–1880
Communion Roll 1851–1858
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/610.

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

Peterculter was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Aberdeen until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Aberdeen. 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-names' of Aberdeen and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Aberden.

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

Read more about Scotland Probate Records.

Return to Aberdeenshire parish list.