- source: Family History Library Catalog
- the text in this section is partly based on an article in Wikipedia
Kirkcudbrightshire or, formally, "the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright" (Siorrachd Chille Chuithbheirt in Gaelic) was a county in the southwest of Scotland until Scottish counties were abolished in 1975. It was then merged with its neighbouring counties of Dumfriesshire and Wigtownshire to become the Dumfries and Galloway Region. In 1996 there was another reorganization of local administration structure in Scotland. This caused very little change in the southwest. The Region is now a unitary authority with the name Dumfries and Galloway Counci Area.
The term "Galloway" is used when Kirkcudbrightshire and its western neighbour Wigtownshire are described together.
The county is called The Stewartry by its inhabitants and forms the Stewartry committee area of Dumfries and Galloway Council, represented by eight Stewartry councillors. Local administration of the district today is overseen by the Stewartry Area Manager, based in the county town of Kirkcudbright.
Kirkcudbrightshire continues to be used administratively for property registration. References to past censuses, civil registration (or vital statistics records) prior to 1975, and the Old Parish Registers (pre 1855) always quote "Kirkcudbrightshire" in preference to any other title..
Kirkcudbrightshire is bounded on the north and north-west by Ayrshire, on the west and southwest by Wigtownshire, on the south and southeast by the Irish Sea and the Solway Firth, and on the east and northeast by Dumfriesshire. It included the small islands of Hestan and Little Ross. It had an area of 897.6 sq. miles (2,323km2).
Today the economy is dependent on agriculture and tourism. The land is hilly and in parts mountainous. Rainfall is higher than the British average. As a result the county is better suited to growing grass than grain crops. Galloway cattle, a beef breed, is native to the region.
- the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia
The country west of the Nith was originally peopled by a tribe of Celts called Novantae, who long retained their independence.
After Agricola's invasion in 79 AD the country nominally formed part of the Roman province of Britannia, but the evidence is against there ever having been a prolonged effective Roman occupation. Details of the Roman Temporary Marching Camp at Shawhead, Irongray Parish, is at
After the retreat of the Romans, the fate of the Novantae is unknown but by the 6th century Galloway was part of the Brythonic kingdom of Rheged.
By the 7th century much of Galloway became part of the English kingdom of Northumbria.
Sources for Old Parish Registers Records, Vital Records and Censuses
- Scotland's People This is a pay website providing vital statistics and census data for all of Scotland with original images. There is a description at Scotland under Genealogical Resources.
Notes for Kirkcudbrightshire
- The Dumfries and Galloway Family History Society website may point to material of interest to the general researcher. Amongst their publications are indexes for the 1841 census. These are prepared as small booklets, one for each parish, and are alphabetically indexed transcriptions. Obtainable from the D & G FHS, address at website.
- The FreeCen Project has a searchable (not browsable) transcription of the whole of Kirkcudbrightshire online for the 1841 census.
- The Stewartry of Kirkcudbright Monumental Inscriptions pre-1855 by Alison Mitchell, published by the Scottish Genealogical Society. A series of 7 small volumes of transcriptions of gravestones from all the cemeteries in the former county. Obtainable from the Scottish Genealogical Society, Edinburgh, Scotland EH1 2JL.
- More publications and websites dealing with individual parishes may be listed in the Research Tips for the parishes concerned.
Further Sources of Reference
Please note and respect the copyright warnings on these websites.
- GENUKI article on Kirkcudbrightshire. These articles often include a bibliography.
- The Gazetteer for Scotland article on the county of Kirkcudbrightshire. The tabs on the right provide more information, and a 19th century map of the county, expandable to show relatively small settlements, each of which is highlighted and linked to more information.
- The FamilySearch Wiki article on Kirkcudbrightshire provides direct reference to FamilySearch holdings on many topics with respect to the county.
- The National Library of Scotland have a website devoted to maps from the 1600s right up to the present. Comparisons of modern-day and old maps of the same place can be made. From the home page click on "Find by place" and then follow the instructions on the next page. Once you are viewing the place you want, use the slider <----> at the top of the map to compare the layout of roads and the place names of smaller areas, perhaps even farms, with the landscape today. The website takes some getting used to. The One-inch 2nd edition, Scotland, 1898-1904 OS is a series of maps with the parishes delineated. Each of these maps cover an area of 18 x 24 miles and will zoom to comfortable reading size with a couple of mouse clicks on the map itself. Unfortunately, they are not geo-referenced, and it is necessary to go to the OS One Inch 1885-1900 series to locate places by latitude and longitude.
- The Statistical Accounts for Scotland In the 1790s and again in the 1830s, the ministers of the all the parishes of the Church of Scotland were asked to provide a description of their parish to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. The original account request included 160 questions to be answered. These accounts are available in print in 20 volumes and are also online where it is freely available to browse. The browsing portal is below the viewing area of most computer screens. Scroll down to "For non-subscribers" and click on "Browse scanned pages". This brings you to another page on which one can enter the name of the parish in which you are interested.
- Excerpts from The Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885 are provided by Scottish Places. Selections from Groome and other gazetteers from the 19th century are also found on GENUKI.