Torryburn, Fife, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #458

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


Torryburn consists of the united parishes of Torrie (a very ancient parish) and Crombie (once attached to the Abbey of Culross), which were joined sometime after 1586. It includes the lands of Inzievar and Oakley which at one time belonged, quoad civilia, to the parish of Saline but were cut off by the intervening parish of Carnock. Torrie or Torry is said to mean the ‘kings’s height’ in Gaelic, and the parish church is situated by the side of the burn of Torrie. The parish forms the south-west corner of the county of Fife. It is about five miles in length and from one to two in breadth, comprising an area of five or six square miles. The surface is beautifully varied. Across the Firth of Forth, which bounds the parish on the south, the castle and part of the city of Edinburgh can be seen.

The villages are Torryburn, Torrie or Newmill, Crombie, and Crombie Point. The nearest market-town is Dunfermline, 3 miles to the east of the parish boundary. There is a fair held annually at the west end of Torryburn village on the second Wednesday of July, but little business is now transacted. There are working collieries in the parish and there were salt works in the 18th century. As early as 1632, there was a school in the parish. In 1655, there were as many as four schools, as was still the case in 1841. In 1697 there was a time of great scarcity all over the country and there were 114 burials recorded in the parish register, it is said due in consequence of unwholesome food.

The population has gone up and down over the centuries, with the high points being around 1670 and 1770 when it was about 1800 (and the collieries were flourishing). Here is a list of other times: in 1640, 1250; in 1755, 1635; and in 1841, 1435. The parish register is not complete, parents not infrequently neglecting to have the names of their children inserted in it; others are altogether indifferent about religious ordinances and, in consequence, their children are unbaptized.

The parish church was rebuilt in 1800 and is located at the east end of the village of Torryburn. It is too small for the population. There are no Seceding or Dissenting places of worship in the parish and the majority of the people profess to adhere to the Established Church. In 1836, the number professing to belong to other denominations was 160 of which 126 were United Secession, 17 Relief Church, 10 Original Burghers, 3 Reformed Presbyterians, and 2 Episcopalians. They likely attend services in Dunfermline.

The above is an extract of the account written in 1841 and revised in 1843.

Source:  The New Statistical Account of Scotland for Fife, FHL book 941 B4sa, 2nd series, vol. 9.

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 you are interested in. 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 Torryburn as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:

Year FHL Film Numbers Surname Index
1841      1042704 book 941.33 X22s; films 1145982-3; CD-ROM no. 1075
1851 1042272 941.33 X22f
1861 0103832 CD-ROM no. 2524
1871 0103995 None
1881 0203531 6086574 (8 fiche)
1891 0208768 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 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: 1663-1819 1040182 items 3-5
1819-1854 1040387 items 1-3
Marriages: 1629-1665 (proclamations), 1702-1819 1040182 items 3-5
1819-1843 1040387 items 1-3
Deaths: 1768-1816 (Mortcloth dues) 1040182 items 3-5
1696-1854 1040387 items 1-3

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: The first page of vol. 2 contains entries 1688–1695 of children of Seceders, most of them baptized in other parishes. A few interpolated entries occur after 1783, this record appears to have been regularly kept.
Marriages: There are four entries 1675–1681. There are no entries November 1665–January 1702 and October 1710–December 1711. After 1723 the record is one of persons who gave up their names to be proclaimed. The date of marriage, however, is frequently not added to the entries after 1800.
Deaths: Mortcloth Dues with no entries November 1817–December 1820.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. FHL British Book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session Records

The Kirk session was the court of the parish. The session was made up of he 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:

Records—                      FHL Film Number
Baptisms 1629–1641        0304666 item 11
Deaths 1696–1773            0304666 item 11
Minutes, 1671–1689, 1695–1955
Accounts 1768–1852
Burial Ground Register 1793–1853
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/355.

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.

Torryburn Free Church

The minister of Torryburn and four fifths of the congregation came out in 1843. They worshiped for a time in a shed fitted up by the proprietor. The church was built in 1843 and the manse a few years later. Both were renovated in 1869 when the earthen floor of the church was replaced by one of wood.
Membership: 1848, 243; 1900, 98.
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.

Records—                                                                  FHL Film Number
Session Minutes 1843–1888                                         1886481 items 2–6
Deacon’s Court Minutes, with Accounts 1843–1855               "              "
Account Book 1843–1857                                                    "              "
Communion Rolls 1858–1875                                               "              "
Baptisms 1874–1924                                                           "              "

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

Torryburn was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Stirling 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 Stirling.

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.]