Marnoch, Banffshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Parish #161

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


History[edit | edit source]

MARNOCH, a parish, in the county of Banff, 8½ miles (S. W. by S.) from Banff; containing the village of Aberchirder. This parish was originally called Aberchirder, a name taken, as is supposed, from the estate of Sir David Aberkerder, Thane of Aberkerder, who lived about the year 1400. The term now applied to the parish is derived from Saint Marnoch. The church is a very plain building, erected in the earlier part of the present century. There are places of worship for members of the Free Church, Episcopalians, Baptists, the United Secession, and Roman Catholics.[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 your parish of interest. Also available at the Family History Library.


Census Records[edit | edit source]

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 Marnoch as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:


Years Fmily History Library Film Number Surname Index              
1841 1042648
1851 1042107 941.24 X22s v. 1
1861 103810
1871 103969
1881 203441 6086520 (set of 3 Fiche)
1891 208657

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[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]


Years Covered Family History Library Film Numbers
Births: 1676-1819, 1829-1854 0990988
Marriages: 1672-1686, 1773-1854 0990988
Deaths: 1713-1818, 1822-1832 0990988

Condition of Original Registers[edit | edit source]

Index: For an index to these records, see Scotland’s People website, a pay-for-view website. The Scottish Church Records Index is also still available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  Some recordsmay be indexed in the International Genealogical Index.
Births: The register was regularly kept.
Marriages: No entries exist for July 1686–July 1773, except 35 entries of proclamation fees, 1750–1772, inclusive.
Deaths: Mortcloth Dues; no entries exist for 1818–1822.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session Records[edit | edit source]

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 1842–1896
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, records CH2/1491.

Nonconformist Church Records[edit | edit source]

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.


Aberchirder Secession Church[edit | edit source]

This congregation began when some dissatisfied members of the Established Church, combined with a few Seceders in the district. The first supply of sermon was afforded by the United Associate Presbytery of Stewartfield in 1825. In 1839 the congregation was organized and built a church. By 1842 about 12 families attended.
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.

Session Minutes 1850–1857
Other post-1855 records
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1493.

Marnoch Free Church
[edit | edit source]

No history is available.

Baptismal Register 1843–1851
Marriage Register 1843–1850
Minutes 1841–1920
Deacons’ Court Minutes 1843–1872
Other post-1855 records
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1492.

Marnoch Baptist Church, Aberchirder
[edit | edit source]

This church was founded 1806–1807 as one of the small Scotch Baptist Churches emerging from the preaching of James Watt. About eight families in the parish were attending the Baptist church in 1842.
Source: History of the Baptists in Scotland, by Geo. Yuille. Glasgow: Baptist Union of Scotland, 1926, Contains list of ministers; Family History Library British Book 941 K2hi.

Extent of the records is unknown. Write to:
The Baptist Union of Scotland
12 Aytoun Road
Glasgow G41 5RT

Roman Catholic Church
[edit | edit source]

Since there was no Catholic church building in the parish until 1879, the 10 families who in 1842 were attending Catholic services would likely have attended at Portsoy in the parish of Fordyce. See that parish for records.

Episcopal Church
[edit | edit source]

Since there was no Episcopal church building in the area until 1876, the six families who in 1842 were attending Episcopal services would likely have attended at Portsoy in the parish of Fordyce. See that parish for records.

Civil Registration Records[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]

Marnoch was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Moray until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Banff. 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 Banff and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Moray.
The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Banff. Look in the library catalog
 for the 'Place-names' of Banff and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'

Read more about Scotland Probate Records.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 499-514. Adapted. Date accessed: 26 June 2014.

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