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Wigtownshire Death Records

A Brief Explanation

Old Parochial Records - OPRs

The keeping of Burial Registers was one of the earliest and least observed duties of the parish priest, and the priests of Wigtownshire were no exception. For the general benefit of readers, this is the list of Wigtownshire parishes and the nominal coverage of their burial registers. Remember that just because a year is within the range, it does not follow that all, or even any, burials for that year are actually recorded in that parish. For example, my reference source lists the baptism coverage for Glasserton as 1700-1854: however for the period 1790-1812 only a few irregular entries were made, as the Rev Dr Laing appears to have kept no registers during the final 20 years of his incumbency. In addition there does not appear to be any other OPR or cemetery burial register held outside the statutory OPR holdings, or amongst registers for other denominations deposited at the NAS.

In addition to the MI listings, if the deceased was wealthy or owned land, then the sassine registers, wills, Service of Heirs, and the register of deeds may have something of value.

Alex Bell, April 2003

Certain other record transcriptions are also to be found in our main OPR entries, which may be accessed from the home page.


Nominal dates of coverage of Wigtonshire OPR burial registers
Parish # Parish Dates
885 Glasserton none
886 Inch 1843-1847
887 Kirkcolm 1794-1854
888 Kirkcowan none
889 Kirkinner none
890 Kirkmaiden 1716-1854
891 Leswalt 1729-1843
892 Mochrum none
893 New Luce 1730-1819, 1822-1854
894 Old Luce 1732-1854
895 Penninghame none
896 Portpatrick 1783-1818
897 Sorbie 1706-1716, 1813, 1818
898 Stoneykirk 1778-1797 , 1839-1854
899 Stranraer none
900 Whithorn none
901 Wigtown none


1855 Death Records

1855 was the first year of mandatory Civil Registration in Scotland, and it was the only year to contain so much data for each death. All the Wigtownshire deaths have been recorded in this index with the possible exception of those late entries which did not make it into the Registry books before they closed December 31, 1855. This would occur when the death was not registered until after Jan 1, 1856, and thus would appear in the 1856 register.

Meg Greenwood, March 2003

Information on an 1855 Death Certificate:

Rarely an Informant could not or did not answer a question, you may then find a section of the certificate is blank or says "Unknown". It also seems a few Registrars unfortunately weren't consistent with recording the data as instructed.

Post 1855 Death Records

Less information is available in death certificates after 1855.

The information on these certificates are only as good as the informant's knowledge. Imagine your nephew trying to fill out your death certificate!



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