- source: Family History Library Catalog
- the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia
Wigtownshire or the County of Wigtown was the most southwesterly of the traditional counties of Scotland. Its industries are agriculture and marine-based activities (fishing, transport, boat building). The county bordered the Irish Sea to the west, Ayrshire to the north, and the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright to the east. Wigtownshire includes the southernmost point in Scotland, the Mull of Galloway. Together the Stewartry, or Kirkcudbright, and Wigtownshire are referred to as Galloway.
In 1975 the traditional counties of Scotland were abolished and Wigtownshire joined with its neighbours Kirkcudbrightshire and Dumfriesshire to become the Dumfries and Galloway Region. In 1996 the Scottish Regions were reorganized into unitary authorities called Council Areas. For Dumfries and Galloway, there was no change in boundaries or name involved.
Prior to 1890 the county town had been Wigtown, but the administrative centre was moved to Stranraer—the largest town—when the original county council was established in that year. Other towns include Newton Stewart, Whithorn and Portpatrick.
The western area, the double peninsula, is known as the Rhinns of Galloway and the eastern area is knows as the Machars. These names are simply used to describe geographical regions--they have no place in government structure.
From the days of the Vikings, the western sections of Galloway were firmly aligned with the Isle of Man, and Norse and Gaelic-Norse settlement names from the 10th and 11th centuries are spread all along the coastal lands of south-western Scotland. The Isle of Man is visible from the south coast of Wigtownshire.
Wigtownshire is linked by ferries to both Dublin in the Republic of Irelaand and Belfast in Northern Ireland.
For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Wigtownshire. and other articles on the history and geography of the region.
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 Wigtownshire
- 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. There is also an extensive list of monumental inscriptions. Obtainable from the D & G FHS, (9 Glasgow Street, Dumfries, Scotland DG2 9AF), or at the Ewart Library in Dumfries, Scotland.
- The FreeCen Project has a searchable (not browsable) transcription of the whole of Wigtownshire online for the 1841, 1851 and 1861 censuses, with the 1871 census partly completed.
- "The Wigtownshire Pages" is an accumulation of links to various websites with genealogical information about Wigtownshire, including Births, Marriages and Deaths from the Wigtown Free Press, an index of a list of people from 1684, and a small website of monumental inscriptions.
- GENUKI article on Wigtownshire. These articles often include a bibliography.
- The Gazetteer for Scotland article on the county of Glasserton. The tabs on the right provide more information, and a 19th century map of the county within its surrounding area, with small settlements highlighted and linked to more information. The gazetteer has "chapters" on all the parishes and a good many settlements, even very small ones.
- The FamilySearch Wiki article on Wigtownshire provides direct reference to FamilySearch holdings on many topics with respect to the county. There is also a webpage for each of the parishes.
- 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.