Rathven, Banffshire, Scotland Genealogy

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Rathven (#164)

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

History[edit | edit source]

RATHVEN, a parish, in the county of Banff, 3½ miles (W. by S.) from Cullen; comprising the villages of Findochty, Porteasie, Portgordon, and Portnockie, the late quoad sacra parish of Buckie, and part of that of Enzie. The Gaelic terms Rath, Bheann, the former signifying "a circle of stones," and the latter "a hill," appear to have given name to this place, one of its most prominent features being the eminence called Binhill, which overhangs the south-eastern part of the locality, and is covered with cairns. The church, conveniently situated in a central position, contains 1000 sittings. There is a chapel at Enzie, to which a district in the western extremity of the parish annexed as a quoad sacra parish. A second chapel was built in the parish, at the village of Buckie, in the year 1835. The eastern extremity of Rathven, containing the village of Portnockie, has been long annexed quoad sacra to Cullen: a chapel was lately built at the village. There are also two episcopal chapels; the one at Buckie, with 200 sittings; and the other at Arradoul, built about the year 1788, containing 211 sittings. The members of the Free Church have a place of worship; and the Roman Catholic population, amounting to about 1500 persons, possess a chapel at Buckie, and another at Presholm, the latter built in 1788.[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 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 Rathven as well as the library numbers for any surname indexes available:


Years Family History Library Film Number Surname Index            
1841 1042649
1851 1042107 941.24 X22s v. 5
1861 103810
1871 103970
1881 203442 6086520 (set of 3 Fiche)
1891 208658

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[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]


Event Type Years Covered Family History Library Film Number
Births: 1716-1819 0991192
1820-1854 0991193
Marriages: 1710-1819 0991192
1820-1854 0991193
Deaths: 1724-1756, 1784-1790 0991192
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 records may be indexed in International Genealogical Index. 
Births: The regular record was interrupted January 1758–July 1761. There are seven pages of irregular entries 1737–1769 entered after January 1758. Irregular entries are frequent 1763–1815.
Marriages: There are no entries November 1758–July 1761 and April 1765–1766.
Deaths: Burials; no entries exist December 1756–January 1784.
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:

Minutes 1716–1736, 1746–1756, 1799–1895
Accounts 1799–1862
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, records CH2/308.

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.

Buckie Free Church[edit | edit source]

In 1843 the minister of the quoad sacra parish of Buckie left the Established Church. In 1846 they had to leave the church building but built their own church in 1847. In 1859 several in the congregation seceded to form a congregation of the United Presbyterian Church.
Membership: 1848, 495; 1900, 546.
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.

Extent of records is unknown.

Episcopal Churches
[edit | edit source]

There were chapels at Buckie and Arradoul, built in 1788. The 1851 census report notes a total of about 500 people attending services in four places of worship within the county. No other history is available. See also Banff, Fordyce, and Keith parishes.

For more information, contact the minister at:
All Saints House
14 Cluny Square
Buckie AB56 1HA

Roman Catholic Churches
[edit | edit source]

Roman Catholic churches existed at Preshome, Buckie, and Tynet near Auchinhalrig. The Chapel of the Craigs at Preshome was destroyed in 1746. St. Margaret of the Craigs existed 1765–1788, but apparently there are no records. The chapel at Preshome was dedicated to St. Gregory in 1788. A congregation at Buckie was founded about 1818, and a chapel was built in 1839, dedicated to St. Peter in 1857. The congregation at Tynet existed from about 1755, but there are no early records. The Catholic population of the parish in 1851 was about 1500.
Source: Catholic Missions and Registers, 1700–1880, Scotland by Michael Gandy, pub. 1993. Family History Library book Ref. 942 K23gm, vol. 6.

Births 1787–1968
Marriages 1805–1969
Deaths 1794–1829
Note: Available online for a fee, at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, Edinburgh, record MP/31

Births 1808–1919
Marriages 1808–1919
Deaths 1808–1928
Note: Available online for a fee, at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, Edinburgh, record MP/36

Births 1818–1860
Also Births 1844–1895
Note:  Available online for a fee, at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk, Edinburgh, record MP/16


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]

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

Return to the Banffshire parish list.