Place:Gretna, Dumfriesshire, Scotland

Alt namesGraitneysource: Family History Library Catalog
Coordinates54.983°N 3.067°W
Located inDumfriesshire, Scotland     ( - 1975)
See alsoDumfries and Galloway Region, Scotlandregional administration 1975-1996
Dumfries and Galloway, Scotlandunitary Council Area since 1996
source: Family History Library Catalog

Parish code for Gretna (or Graitney): 17

Gretna is a coastal parish bordering England and located in the former county of Dumfriesshire. Both county and parish ceased to exist following the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1974. The parish had an area of 31.9km2 (12.3 sq. miles) and had Dornock, Half-Morton and Kirkpatrick-Fleming as its neighbouring Scottish parishes.

The parish included the village of Gretna Green and the following other settlements: Browhouses, Gretna Village, Old Graitney, Quintinshill, Redkirk, and Springfield.

From Wikipedia:

"Gretna's principal claim to fame arose in 1753 when an Act of Parliament, Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act, was passed in England, which provided, among other things, that if both parties to a marriage were not at least 21 years old, consent to the marriage had to be given by the parents. This Act did not apply in Scotland, which allowed boys to marry at 14 and girls at 12, with or without parental consent. In addition, the Act required procedures that gave notice of an impending marriage to the community. As a result, many elopers fled England, and the first Scottish village they reached was often Gretna. With the construction of a new highway, Gretna Green became easier to reach, and Gretna's appeal as an elopement destination waned."

Gretna is now located in the Dumfries and Galloway Council Area, some 7 miles (11 km) east of Annan and 11 miles (18 km) south of Langholm.


Research Tips

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 Dumfriesshire

  • The FreeCen Project has transcriptions of the whole of Dumfriesshire online for the 1841 through 1871 censuses inclusive.
  • Land tax rolls 1645-1831 are at Scotland's Places where there is a subscription to view. In 2013 the charge is £15 for 3 months use. Some of the other resources of this organization, such as their Ordnance Survey Index (currently under construction) may also be of use. See their Resources page.
  • The Gretna Parish Registers for the Church of Scotland provide records of baptisms (1730-1786 and 1786-1854), marriages (1730-1854) and burials (no records retained). See the FamilySearch Wiki article on Gretna for other church denominations.

Further Sources of Reference

Please note and respect the copyright warnings on these websites.

  • GENUKI article on Gretna. These articles often include a bibliography.
  • The Gazetteer for Scotland article on the parish of Gretna. The tabs on the right provide more information, and a map of the parish within its surrounding area, with small settlements highlighted and linked to more information.
  • The FamilySearch Wiki article on Gretna provides direct reference to FamilySearch holdings on many topics with respect to the parish.
  • 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.