Map of Dumfriesshire

DUMFRIESSHIRE

Description in 1887, and map showing location

"DUMFRIESSHIRE, maritime Co., on S. border of Scotland; adjoins the cos. of Lanark, Peebles, and Selkirk on the N., and on the S. is washed by the Solway Firth; extends about 53 miles NW. and SE. between Ayrshire and Cumberland, and about 32 miles NE. and SW. between Roxburghshire and Kirkcudbrightshire; coast-line, about 20 miles; area, 680,217 ac., pop. 76,140, or 72 persons to each sq. mile. The surface in general is bare and hilly. The dales of the Nith, Annan, and Esk, however, are rich in beauty, and contain fine holms for pasture and some good arable land. The rivers are numerous, and yield splendid salmon and trout fishing. The coast and S. region is low and sandy; much of it is covered with morass, and lochs are numerous around Lockerbie ; but there is also much excellent corn-growing land. The Lowther or Lead Hills along the N. boundary are upwards of 2000 ft. in height, and abound in lead ore. These and the other hills round the borders are mostly smooth in outline, and afford excellent pasturage. Red sandstone is a prevailing rock, and limestone. coal, and lead, are worked."

[Bartholemew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887]

See also the entry for Dumfriesshire in the 1868 gazetteer.

INFORMATION RELATED TO ALL OF DUMFRIESSHIRE

Archives and Libraries

Local archives and libraries include:

The project is still ongoing, currently the database contains: 89,318 individual burial inscriptions taken from 20,600 monuments in 169 graveyards; 4,500 different family names (including variations) are recorded. With the exception of the most recent surveys carried out by our members these are partial graveyard records.

Information on local libraries in the county can also be found in:

Details of local archives and libraries can also be found in the source booklet published by the Dumfries & Galloway Family History Society. (see the Bibliography section below).

The Dumfries and Galloway Museums and Galleries site has a list of museums and art galleries in the region. Dumfries and Galloway Online provides similar information, as well as general tourist info.

Bibliography

Dumfries & Galloway: Some sources and places of interest for local and family history. An excellent guide published by the Dumfries & Galloway Family History Society in 1995. It gives information on libraries, museums, and places of interest.

Source material for the county and individual parishes can be found in the publication list of Dumfries & Galloway Family History Society.

Cemeteries

RootsWeb publishes an online listing of churches and churchyards in Dumfries and Galloway, and a CDROM version with more photographs is "Digital Tours of Dumfries & Galloway -- 2K2 Edition" (570 Mb) 6,500 photographs: by Sandy Pittendreigh, available as one of Dumfries and Galloway FHS publications.

Census

General advice on census records and indexes can be found on our Scotland Census page.

Church Records

For information on parish registers (baptisms, marriages and burials) for a particular parish, please see that parish's page (where available).

General advice on parish registers throughout Scotland can be found on our Scotland Church Records page. The Kirk Session records of a parish can be useful source material and are often overlooked by researchers. The Kirk Session consists of the minister of the parish together with the elders of the congregation. Its role is largely to look after the general wellbeing of the congregation and, particularly in centuries past, parochial discipline. Most Kirk Session records are held in the Scottish Record Office in Edinburgh and can be fascinating reading.

Civil Registration

Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths began in Scotland on 1st January 1855. For details of these records and indexes to them, see our GRO tutorial and our Scotland Civil Registration page.

Court Records

Records of testaments, inventories etc. are held at the Scottish Record Office, in the records of the Dumfries Commissariot Court (before 1823) and the Dumfries Sheriff Court (after 1823).

Description and Travel

The latest information on sights to see, recreation, and accommodations can be found on a site established by the Dumfries and Galloway Tourist Board.

A book which may be of interest is John Hume and Judith Anderson's Dumfries & Galloway: an illustrated architectural guide. As the title suggests, it concentrates on the architecture of the area. However it is well illustrated with hundreds of photographs and contains short descriptions and historical notes on many places.

Directories

Genealogy

The DUMFRIES-GALLOWAY mailing list has been established for those researching surnames originating in, existing in, or having emigrated from the Dumfries and Galloway area of Scotland. This includes the counties of Wigtown, Kirkcudbright, and Dumfries.

The BORDER mailing list caters for those with an interest in genealogy and history in the counties which surround the border of Scotland and England. (Berwick, Roxburgh, Selkirk, Peebles, Dumfries, Kirkcudbright, Cumberland and Northumberland)

GenWeb Dumfriesshire has useful links.

The Scotland Surnames List maintained by Graham Jaunay includes this county.

You can place a lengthy genealogy query on the Dumfriesshire Message Board.

The Scottish Page is devoted to the research of Scottish ancestry, especially that of Dumfries and Galloway. It is worth browsing down the length of the long home page, it has links to a great miscellany of useful information.

History

The border counties were for many centuries the battleground between Scotland and England. Largely as a result of this the reiving tradition arose, something which only really died out with the Union of the Crowns in 1603. For a comprehensive history of the reiving times, read George MacDonald Fraser's The Steel Bonnets: the story of the Anglo-Scottish Border Reivers, first published in 1971 and reprinted regularly since.

The Burns Howff Club website provides information about Robert Burns, his life, works and his contribution to Scottish heritage.

(Kirk Session Records - see Church Records)

Maps

You can find historic maps for the county of Dumfriesshire dated from 1846 to 1899 (scale 1:10,560) at the Old Maps web site.

Newspapers

Dumfries has had a local newspaper since 1777. The first was the Dumfries Weekly Journal, which was followed by the Dumfries Times, the Dumfries Courier, and the Dumfries Standard. These newspapers covered events in Dumfriesshire and Kirkcudbrightshire. A surname and subject index (1777 to 1925) has been compiled for these papers. The index (in book form) and the newspapers (on microfiche) are available at the Ewart Library. For a full listing of newspapers and periodicals in Dumfries and Galloway refer to The Waterloo directory of Scottish newspapers and periodicals.

Names, Geographical

Societies

The Dumfries & Galloway Family History Society covers this county. The society publishes a newsletter three times a year with interesting articles and information. There is also a section where you can place queries about your ancestors. The society has a family history research centre at 9 Glasgow Street, Dumfries.

Clan Armstrong is a society with a museum at Langholm.

Statistics

The statistical accounts are the result of a series of questions that were directed to the ministers of each parish in Scotland. These reports provide a description of the social and economic life in the parishes and much more. The Old Statistical Account was compiled in the 1790s. The New Statistical Account was compiled in the 1840s (it has been microfilmed and may be consulted in LDS Family History Centres around the world). There is also a Third Statistical Account which was prepared in the 1940s