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Wigtown Parish

map photo photo photo photo
To view the entire photogallery, [click here]

Wigtown became a Royal Burgh in the reign of King David II, probably well before 1341, maybe even 1263, although the early town site may now be lost to the bay. There was once a castle with a sheriff, though its early battles were mainly commercial to retain its "liberties" or trade monopolies, while its later ones were religious. Strongly presbyterian or covenanting kirkgoers resented central imposition of rectors on their congregation, and a very famous memorial of the times commemorates the late 1600s judicial drowning of two women who refused to toe the official line. A monument tops the hill above the town and the view on our home page from that point is very little changed even today. The massive 1863 Town Hall in the fine wide main street with its many book shops, dominates the vista over the bay to Kirkmabreck in 2001 as in 1895. Below the town, past the long closed railway, is the harbor, from which the Whitehaven steamer sailed every week in the mid 1800s, and the Liverpool steamer every two weeks.

The parish is bounded in the north by the Bishop Burn and in the south by the River Bladnoch and its outlying parts are farms typical of the rounded green Machars hills. At Torhouse in the west will be found a prehistoric stone circle of nineteen granite boulders, one of the best preserved in Britain. To the south is the village of Bladnoch, home to Scotland's most southerly whisky distillery.

The Statistical Accounts of Scotland, 1791-1845

"The 'Old' (1791) and 'New' (1834-45) Statistical Accounts of Scotland provide detailed parish reports - and in the case of the 'New' county reports - for the whole of Scotland, covering a wide spectrum of subjects including agriculture, education, trades, religion and social customs." (EDINA, hosted by Edinburgh University Data Library).

http://stat-acc-scot.edina.ac.uk/sas/sas.asp?action=public&

This is a must read, as it contains excellent physical and social descriptions of the parish, Use the link below to access the scanned extracts. You may choose to read county reports which give a more general view of Wigton(Wigtown), or go directly to the pages devoted to your parish of interest.

Parish Info

Batch Numbers

Recently a new site has been published, which considerably cuts the time involved searching the International Genealogy Index (IGI) with batch numbers.

Click here to view the entrance page, and read about the site, and batch numbers.

Click here to go directly to the IGI Batch numbers for Wigtown parishes.

1855-1875 C119011 or M119011
1706-1819 C119012 or M119012
1819-1855 C119014 or M119014

Census

General information on all Wigtownshire census is more fully explained on Wigtownshire Census Records.

The 1851 Census is today available, as a full transcription, on the Dumfries and Galloway local government's library system web site, for Dumfries and for the two Galloway counties of Wigtownshire and Kirkcudbright, and we are pleased to cite their URL where you can browse it as you wish. To access the census directly, enter:
http://www.dumgal.gov.uk/historicalindexes/census.aspx

But please do remember that these are transcriptions, and therefore, despite best efforts of the volunteers who worked on them, they are liable to introduced errors. The information should therefore always be backed up by reference to original data, using for example the LDS film of the original census.

This 1851 census has also been indexed by John Roy, by Heads of Households, and we are very happy that we are able to include his invaluable key on these pages. In a rather compact manner, it offers both an index and an overview for those who need a more rapid feel for the location of entire groups of families by surname, for instance. Also, if you intend to use the D&G census you may find it useful to refer to John Roy's index to obtain the page number, as the noted URL reference doesn't give that information..

Census references are by parish number / enumeration district number / page number, for example the first entry of the first district on the Leswalt film will be 891/1/1. The exception to this was in 1851 where the page numbers were abandoned and replaced by 'entry numbers'. Therefore, the first entry in Leswalt will have the same number as other years but the second entry, which will normally be on the same page, will read 891/1/2.

The on-line 1851 census developed by the Friends of the Dumfries Archives does not use parish numbers in the search fields, instead, you need to type in the parish name (be careful with the spelling) if you are narrowing the search down to an individual parish. Once you find a likely candidate for the family you are searching for you can start a new search by typing in the parish name and the reference number in district / household number format That will bring up all of that entry only.

LDS Film Numbers

Census
1841 1042848 and 101941
1851 1042558 and 103775
1861 103922
1871 104113
1881 224064
1891 220464
Church Records
Parish Registers (Church of Scotland), 1706-1855
Baptisms, 1706-1855
Marriages, 1707-1854, 1772-1782
Neglected Birth Entry, 1830.
1068042 Items 6-7
addtl'film Vault 102359 Item 2
Wigtown Free Church, 1844-1847
Baptisms, 1844-1847 889477 Item 1
baptisms,
1844-1858, 1875-1876
304671 Item 30
United Associate Congregation registers of Wigtown
Baptisms, 1849-1862
marriages,1849-1855
304671 Item 29
Wigtown Associated Congregation Church records, 1835-1922
Session minutes, 1849-1901. Account books, 1835-1922. Baptisms, 1849-1901 (with marriages, 1847-1855). Communion roll, 1849-1897. Vault 1886485
Church indexes
Births and christenings, A thru Z 1706-1855, 2 fiches 6901698
Marriages, A thru Z, 1707-1782 1832-1850,1 fiche 6902405

Lookups for Parish Records

The following volunteers from the Sct. Wigtownshire mailing list have kindly offered to share their resources and time with other researchers. When asking for a lookup please be specific. Provide surname, forename, and other details that would make the lookup easier to perform. Blanket searches for one surname, i.e. "Please supply all Brown information", must be avoided. To view all parish lookups available, please click here.

1841 census Bruce McDowall and Carrie Gulline
1841 census, Parish and Burgh Darlene Vernon
1851 census Bruce McDowall
MIs Janet Tenant or Wayne Hannay
OPRs Bruce McDowall

Map Sources

Old Parish Registers

O.P.R.s refer to Old Parish Records which prior to civil registration in 1855 were ledgers in which the parish cleric entered vital information such as marriage, birth/christening, and in some cases deaths. Parish registers were kept only as well as the cleric had time and inclination to do so. In some parishes, within a particular time, the records are exact, precise and a joy to read, in other periods of time, the same parish records could have sporadic, or barely legible, entries. To read more about Old Parish Records, and see image samples, please view Old Parish Records (OPR)for Wigtownshire

Covers period between 1706 and 1855.

Parish Lists of Wigtownshire and Minnigaff, 1684

Published in 1916, Parish Lists of Wigtownshire and Minnigaff, 1684 contains nominal rolls recorded in 1684 of all persons, male or female, over the age of 12, by parish, and domocile. To read more about this index, and to find a link to the Wigtown parish roll, [click here].

Photogallery

To view pictures of Wigtown, please click here.

Population

1755 1,032
1793 1,350
1821 2,042
1831 2,337