Wamphray, Dumfriesshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Dumfriesshire, Scotland Gotoarrow.png Wamphray

Parish #853

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



WAMPHRAY, a parish, in the county of Dumfries, 9 miles (S. E. by S.) from the town of Moffat. This place derives its name, in the Gaelic signifying "the deep glen in the forest," from the situation of its church in a sequestered and thickly-wooded vale on the south side of the Water of Wamphray. The church, situated nearly in the centre of the parish, is a neat substantial structure, erected in 1834, and containing sufficient accommodation for the parishioners. There is also a place of worship for members of the Relief.[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 http://edina.ac.uk/stat-acc-scot/.  Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for Wamphray. 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 Wamphray. 

Below is information for any known surname indexes:


Years Surname Index            
1841 941.48/W1 X22 1841
1851 941.48/T4 X2m 1851
1881 6086550 ( 3 fiche)

The 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.

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: 1709-1854 1067972
Marriages: 1751-1838 1067972
Deaths: 1751-1854 1067972

Condition of Original Registers—

Births: There is only one entry, 1709, prior to 1717. Births are intermixed with other records until 1729. There are no entries December 1733–July 1750, March 1758–1772. There are numerous irregular entries 1772–1794. After the 1819 entries there are two pages of entries for 1760–1808.
Marriages: Proclamation fees are intermixed with other matters until 1758. There are no entries August 1758–June 1806, after which marriages are recorded.
Deaths: Mortcloth Dues are intermixed with proclamation fees and other matters until 1758. There are no entries June 1758–February 1807, after which burials are recorded.
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 Book                      1717–1846
Kirk Session Minute Book     1750–1924
Cash Book                           1846–1884
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/1530.

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.


Wamphray Relief, later United Presbyterian Church

This congregation is situated in the village of Gateside in the parish of Wamphray. Wamphray was among the earliest formed congregations of the Relief Church and originated in the high moderatism and general unacceptability of the ministers of Wamphray and Johnston, contiguous parishes in the district. The persons forming it are known to have worshiped many years in the open air, but the date of their organization as a congregation has not been ascertained. A church was built in 1777. The church was rebuilt in 1850.
Membership: 1834, 9 families.
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.

The extent of records is unknown.

For the Free Church, See Johnstone

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

Wamphray 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 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-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. 588-608. Adapted. Date accessed: 21 March 2014.

Return to the Dumfriesshire parish list.