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Help and advice for Ceres

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Ceres

Description of the parish in 1862

"Ceres parish, containing the villages of Ceres, Pitscottie, Craigrothie, Chance Inn and Baldinnie, is bounded by St Andrews, Cameron, Kemback, Largo, Scoonie, Kettle and Cults. It measures about 7 miles by 4 miles. Fully one half of the land is highly cultivated. There is plenty of limestone, which is extensively worked, and coal is found at Ladeddie. The village of Ceres is 2.5 miles south of Cupar on the road to Largo. The hand-loom weaving of linen has long been carried on here and in Craigrothie, but is now in decline. One bleachfield remains, and there are spinning mills at Tarvit Mill and Pitscottie.In the rural areas, the inhabitants are employed in agriculture, and in mining limestone and coal. Ceres village has a parish church, a Free Church and 2 United Presbyterian Churches (East & West). The latter was the earliest seceeding congregation in the centre of Fife, a number of its members living 10 to 15 miles distant." edited from Westwood's Directory for the counties of Fife & Kinross, published 1862.

Archives and Libraries

The ScotlandsPlaces website lets users search across national databases by geographical location. It includes, amongst other material,

  • catalogue entries for maps and plans held by the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh; some maps and plans can be viewed
  • photos and details of historical buildings and archaeological sites recorded by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, Edinburgh
  • 17th and 18th century tax rolls
  • Ordnance Survey [place] Name Books
  • an opportunity to transcribe thousands of historic documents

Bibliography

A very good description is to be found in the relevant chapter in History of the County of Fife: From the Earliest Period to the Present Time by John M Leighton, published 1840, online at Google Books.

Local resident John Deacon has written a very informative booklet about Craigrothie: Craigrothie - Walking with History, 2001.

Cemeteries

There are 2 cemeteries and 1 family mausoleum in Ceres parish:

1. Ceres Old Churchyard, Main Street, Ceres (grid ref. NO 399116, GPS: 56.293727 -2.971183 Google map):

  • The pre-1855 monumental inscriptions are listed in Fifeshire Monumental Inscriptions (pre-1855) vol. 3 The north east parishes by John Fowler Mitchell & Sheila Mitchell, published by the Scottish Genealogy Society. ISBN 0901061999
  • Some stones are recorded in Graveyard Monuments in East, North and Central Fife, John di Folco, published in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 1969-70, vol. 102, pages 205-236, which deals largely with stones dated pre-1707. It can be downloaded from ARCHway.
  • A CD with photographs of the stones and transcriptions is available from Scottish Monumental Inscriptions or from The Parish Chest.

2. Ceres Cemetery, St Andrews Road, Ceres (grid ref. NO 400115, GPS: 56.293403 -2.970193 Google map):

  • The current lair registers (dating from 1886) are administered by Fife Council, Bereavement Services East, County Buildings, St Catherine Street, Cupar, KY15 4TA. Tel. 01334 659336. Fax 01334 412896.
  • A CD with photographs of the stones and transcriptions is available from Scottish Monumental Inscriptions or from The Parish Chest.

3. Wemyss Mausoleum, Wemysshall Road, Ceres, in the grounds of Hill of Tarvit House (grid ref. NO 377114, GPS: 56.291203 -3.007006, Google map):

  • This mausoleum is not Council-maintained.
  • It was a burial ground for the Wemyss family, former owners of Wemyss Hall (in Cupar parish).
  • There is a photograph of the site here.
  • A CD with photographs of the stones and transcriptions is available from Scottish Monumental Inscriptions or from The Parish Chest.

War graves can be seen at the Scottish Wargraves Project and war memorials can be seen at the Scottish War Memorials Project.

Census

The original 1841 census returns were lost in transit to Edinburgh.

Parish / district reference number for 1851 - 1901 censuses: 415

The 1851 returns can be searched on the FreeCEN website.

The 1851 census has been indexed by the Tay Valley Family History Society.

Some census records on microfilm may be consulted in LDS Family Search Centres around the world.

LDS Library Film Numbers:

  1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891
Ceres - 1042253 103826 103988 203518 208749
(Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

Further information on the main Fife page.

Churches

You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Ceres area that are recorded in the GENUKI church database. This will also help identify other churches in nearby townships and/or parishes. You also have the option to see the location of the churches marked on a map.

Church History

The Old Statistical Account (written in the 1790s) gives this information about Dissenters:

  • Established Church - 481 families
  • Associate Congregation of Antiburgher Seceders - 80 families; have a meeting house in Ceres built in 1744; congregation includes residents of other nearby parishes
  • Presbytery of Relief - 25 families
  • Burgher Seceders - 1 family
  • Scotch Episcopal Church - 1 family
  • Anabaptists - 1 family
  • "Persons of different opinions live peaceably and happily together, and the feuds and animosities, which formerly prevailed on that account, are now unknown."

The New Statistical Account (written in 1837) gives this information:

  • Two meeting houses in the village of Ceres: 1 for the Associate Congregation of Antiburgher Seceders, 1 for the Presbytery of Relief
  • Each has a settled clergyman and a regular congregation.
  • About 86 families in this parish attached to the Relief Church, about the same number to the Secession.

The 1865 Ecclesiastical Directory lists the parish church, 2 United Presbyterian churches (East and West) and the Free Church.

Information and pictures of the churches at the Scottish Churches website.

Details of church history:

  • Ceres Church
    The rectory of Ceres formerly belonged to the collegiate church of St Mary and the kirk session records ministry from 1560, in the person of Patrick Coustun. The present day parish church was erected in 1806 on the site of its predecessor. The former Ceres and Strathkinness United Free Church was united with this charge in 1929 on the union of the United Free Church of Scotland and the Church of Scotland. In 1983 Ceres established a link with Springfield and the two charges later united in 1989, under the name of Ceres and Springfield. The kirk session formerly sat within the Presbytery of Cupar and presently falls under the jurisdiction of the Presbytery of St Andrews.
  • Ceres Associate Congregation / Ceres West Church / Ceres St Andrews Road United Presbyterian Church
    Ceres Associate Congregation (an Antiburgher congregation) was first established in 1740 and the first minister of the congregation, William Campbell, was ordained in September 1742. It is thought that services must have initially taken place in the open air as no place of worship had yet been erected in 1742, however a stone within the old church is recorded to have borne the date 1744. At some point the congregation's name became Ceres West, probably after the start of the Relief Church congregation at Ceres in 1798, which was Ceres East. There was a significant reduction in the size of the congregation from the late 18th century because of the existence of Ceres East, and because there was an Antiburgher congregation at nearby Cupar. The congregation obtained a new church in St Andrew's Road in 1877. By the 1870s there were moves to unite the two Ceres congregations (both now United Presbyterian Church charges), and this took place in 1885. At the union in 1900 of the United Presbyterians and the Free Church of Scotland, the charge became the Ceres St Andrew's Road, United Free Church, and in 1913 a union was established with Ceres South, under the name of Ceres U.F. Further union followed soon after in 1917 with Strathkinness to form the charge of Ceres and Strathkinness U.F.
  • Ceres Relief Congregation / Ceres East Church (United Presbyterian)
    The Relief Church congregation began at Ceres in 1798 as Ceres East. By the 1870s there were moves to unite the two Ceres congregations (both now United Presbyterian Church charges), and this took place in 1885.
  • Ceres Free Church / Ceres South United Free Church / Ceres and Strathkinness United Free Church
    The congregation of Ceres Free Church was formed at the Disruption of 1843. In the beginning public worship was held in a temporary wooden building, but a church to house the congregation was erected soon after the establishment of the charge. Following the union of the United Presbyterian Church and the Free Church of Scotland in 1900, Ceres Free Church became Ceres South, United Free Church and in 1913 a union was established with Ceres St Andrew's Road, under the name of Ceres U.F. Further union followed soon after in 1917 with Strathkinness to form the charge of Ceres and Strathkinness U.F. After the union of the United Free Church and the Church of Scotland in 1929, the designation became Ceres Church of Scotland.

Church Records

Data provided by the  Scottish Archive Network (SCAN)

The Parish Church (Established Church, Church of Scotland):

The original Old Parish Registers (of baptisms / births, proclamations / marriages, and deaths / burials) of the Church of Scotland, which cover the years up to 1854, are held in the National Records of Scotland in Edinburgh, and they can all be consulted there at the National Records of Scotland. The baptisms / births, proclamations / marriages and deaths / burials indexes can be searched at the ScotlandsPeople website. Copies of the register entries may be purchased.

Parish reference number: 415

The Old Parish Registers (OPRs) span the following dates (although there are gaps within these ranges):

Ceres OPR Births / baptisms Proclamations / marriages Deaths / burials / mortcloths
415/1 1620-1700 1620-1700 1620-1655
415/2 1700-1763 1700-1763 1707-1763
415/3 1763-1819 1763-1819 1763-1819
415/4 1820-1854 1820-1854 1820-1854
Register of Neglected Entries      
(Data supplied by the National Records of Scotland)
 

The Detailed List of the Old Parochial Registers of Scotland, published 1872, provides this information about the content of the OPRs, including the gaps within them:

B.  M.  and D.  (Burials) intermixed till 1644, and recorded in parallel cols. of the same pp. from 1645 - 1817, after which three separate Records are kept. Blank Jan. 1644 - March 1645, and Dec. 1646 - March 1649. Margins of leaves 1642 - 1680 much wasted, rendering many entries of M. imperfect, and some altogether illegible. Blank in Record of Burials May 1655 - Jan. 1708. After Jan. 1817, Deaths.

Copies of the registers on microfilm may be consulted in some local libraries and at LDS Family Search Centres around the world. The indexes to baptisms / births and proclamations / marriages can also be searched on the LDS Family Search website or on the IGI on microfiche in local libraries.

LDS Library Film Numbers:

1040154 Items 3 - 4 Baptisms, 1620-1727; Marriages, 1620-1727; Burials, 1620-1655, 1708-1727.
1040155 Items 1 - 3 Baptisms, Marriages, Burials, 1727-1854.
(Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

Deaths / burials are listed on Fife Family History Society's  Pre-1855 Fife Deaths CD.

Some of the OPR entries can be searched on the FreeREG site.

Further information on the main Fife page.

Kirk Session records are held at the Special Collections Dept. of St Andrews University Library, with digital copies at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh. Some Kirk Session material is to be found in the OPR records (415/1).

Heritors' Records (HR386) are at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh.

At the Special Collections Dept. of St Andrews University Library, with digital copies of the earlier volumes at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • CH2/65
    Ceres Kirk Session
    Minutes, 1644-1697, 1700-1717, 1740-1849, 1889-1902 and 1912-1921; Cash book, 1700-1710, 1740-1757, 1783-1801 and 1819-1851; Poor's fund accounts, 1835-1844; Baptismal register, 1856-1861 and 1910; Proclamation register, 1856-1953; Communion roll, 1870-1881, 1885-1896, 1906-1912 and 1920-1922; Congregation roll, 1878; Poor's committee minutes, 1843-1846; Parochial board minutes, 1844-1857 and 1885-1904.

Included in the Old Parochial Registers on microfilm and at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh but not online:

  • 415/1
    Ceres Kirk Session
    Collections c.1626-44

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • HR/386
    Ceres parish heritors' records
    Minutes, 1828-1930; Poor Fund accounts,1828-1839, 1843-1845; Cash book, 1845-1930; Ledger, 1911-1927; Assessments 1828-1887; Papers relating to division of church, 1810, 1829; Correspondence, 1868-1905; List of lairs, c 1891; Valuations, 1829,1852, undated; Plans of church, 1883.

Other Churches:

At the Special Collections Dept. of St Andrews University Library:

  • CH3/54
    Ceres Associate Congregation / Ceres West Church / Ceres St Andrews Road United Presbyterian Church
    Session minutes, 1738-1748 and 1781-1885; Accounts, 1738-1771; Manager's minutes, 1885-1913; Account book, 1771-1798, 1783-1833 and 1899-1913; Baptismal register, 1738-1806, 1808, 1836-1837 and 1858-1891; Communion roll, 1858-1913.
    A transcript of the Associate Congregation baptisms 1738-1806, 1808, 1836-1837, has been published by the Fife Family History Society Baptismal Registers No. 2, It is also available on CD and on the Records pages of their website.
    The LDS have filmed the following records which may be consulted at LDS Family History Centres.
    304670 Item 6 Ceres Associate Congregation Baptisms, 1738-1806, 1808, 1836-1837 CH3/54 St Andrews University Library
    1482999 Ceres Associate Congregation Session minutes, 1738-1748 (includes account, 1738-1771), 1781-1863. Baptisms, 1738-1806, 1808, 1836-1837, 1858-1891.
    (Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)
  • CH3/55
    Ceres Free Church / Ceres South United Free Church / Ceres and Strathkinness United Free Church
    Session minutes, 1844-1903 and 1913-1929; Communion roll, 1852-1867 and 1871-1903; Deacon's court minutes, 1846-1909; Congregational board minutes, 1913-1929; Account book, 1847-1876, 1880-1913 and 1918-1929; Member's contributions, 1918-1929; Baptismal register, 1877-1894.
    The LDS have filmed the following records which may be consulted at LDS Family History Centres.
    1484199 Items 2-6 Ceres Free Church Session minutes, 1844-1903 Communion roll, 1852-1903 Deacons' court minutes, 1846-1909 Deacons' court account book, 1847-1876 CH3/55/1-2, 4, 6, 11-12 St Andrews University Library
    1485042 Item 1 Ceres Free Church Baptismal register, 1877-1894
    (Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

The Ceres page of the LDS Family Search Research Wiki has more information about church history and records.

Civil Registration

Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths began in Scotland on 1st January 1855. Full information on the main Fife page.

Registration districts covering this parish:

Registration district number start date end date
Ceres 415 1855 1967
Cupar 420 1968 1971
Cupar 417 1972 2002
Fife 417 2003  

Registration districts did not necessarily coincide exactly with parishes. In the 20th century especially, there were frequent changes in registration districts.

Description and Travel

Ceres town centre Ordnance Survey Grid Reference GPS Post code Lat. 56°17'36"N
NO 399116 56.293017
-2.972580
KY15 5ND Lon. 2°58'18"W

Surrounding parishes: Kemback, Cameron, St Andrews, Cupar, Cults, Largo, Kilconquhar, Scoonie, Kettle.

You can see pictures of Ceres which are provided by:

Directories

The parish entry in Pigot's National Commercial Directory for the whole of Scotland, 1837, is online at Google Books.

Westwood's Parochial Directory for the Counties of Fife and Kinross for 1862 and 1866 are online at Google Books. On the Records pages of the Fife Family History Society website there is a transcription of the 1862 edition.

Gazetteers

There is a list of places in Ceres parish, with links to online historical and modern maps.

Several old gazetteers are available. They all contain descriptions of the parish and many are also worth searching for entries of places within the parish.

  • David Webster's Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, published 1819, online at Google Books.
  • Fullarton's Topographical, Statistical and Historical Gazetteer of Scotland, published 1842, online at Google Books.
  • Samuel Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, published 1846, online at British History Online.
  • Barbieri's Descriptive and Historical Gazetteer of the Counties of Fife, Kinross and Clackmannan, published 1857, is at Google Books (some pages out of order).
  • Frances Groome's Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland (1882-4) and John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles (1887), are on A Vision of Britain (click on "Historical places and writing").
  • Frances Groome's Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland(1892-6) on Electric Scotland

Historical Geography

A Vision of Britain provides historical descriptions, population & housing statistics, historic boundaries and maps.

You can see the administrative areas in which Ceres has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.

Land and Property

Details of historic buildings and archaeological sites in this parish held by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, Edinburgh, are catalogued at ScotlandsPlaces. In the results, click RCAHMS. Unfortunately, not all entries have digital images.

Maps

Historic maps:

Present-day maps:

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference NO399116 (Lat/Lon: 56.293069, -2.972588), Ceres which are provided by:

Obituaries

Andrew Campbell has produced Fife Deaths from Newspapers 1822-1854 - a compilation of deaths recorded in local newspapers. Copies of this index are held by the Fife libraries and the Family History Societies.

Fife Deaths Abroad 1855-1900 - a compilation of overseas deaths recorded in Fife newspapers - has been produced by Andrew Campbell of Fife Family History Society. The Society have re-published it in their Publications Series, 26.

Occupations

The parish is included in Andrew Campbell's compilation of Fife Shopkeepers and Traders 1820-1870 taken from newspapers and directories. It is available in most Fife reference libraries, in the libraries of the family history societies, and at the Manuscript Department of the Special Collections Department of St Andrews University Library. It is also available as Fife Traders and Shopkeepers on CD from Fife Family History Society.

Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.

The relief of paupers after 1845 was carried out by the Parochial Board and later by the Parish Council. Their records are at the Fife Council Archive Centre and the Special Collections Dept. of St. Andrews University Library. See Public Records below.

The workhouses.org.uk website has some information about the Ceres almshouses.

Population

Year Population
1755 2540
1801 2352
1851 2833
1901 1545
1951 1376

There is a page with census statistics from 1755 to 1961 here.

See also A Vision of Britain and Histpop for population statistics.

Probate Records

Probate records are 'Confirmations' in Scotland.

Prior to 1824, wills, testaments & inventories of residents of Ceres may be found in either the St Andrews Commissariot (CC20) or the Edinburgh Commissariot (CC8) records. From 1824, commissary business has been conducted by the Sheriff Court of Fife at Cupar (SC20).

Indexes and finding aids are given on the main Fife page.

Local sources worth searching for deeds include St Andrews Commissary Court and Cupar Sheriff Court.

Public Records

Parochial Boards and their successors, Parish Councils, administered many local functions including poor relief.

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:

  • FCC/6/15
    Ceres Parochial Board / Parish Council
    Minute books, 1846-1930.

At the Special Collections Dept. of St Andrews University Library:

  • CH2/65
    Ceres Parochial Board
    Parochial board minutes, 1844-1857 and 1885-1904.

Schools

School Board Records and / or school logbooks are held at the Fife Council Archive Centre. Ceres records:

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:

  • Ceres School
    Log books, 1863-1870, 1873-1991; Admissions Registers, 1929-2004; School Board Minutes 1873-1919.
  • Papers of John Trotter of Ceres, Schoolmaster
    Diaries and notebooks, 1851-1870; his schoolmaster's certificate and testimonials, 1844-1870; list of pupils at Ceres School, c.1867 and programme for a reunion for former pupils in 1938.
  • Craigrothie School
    Log books, 1909-1964.

Entries less than 50 years old may contain sensitive personal information and are not on open access. If you are a former pupil you are entitled to see your own entry. Please contact the Archivist for further details.

Education statistics for Fife schools in 1891-2 list the following board schools in the parish:

School Board School Accommodation for scholars Average attendance
Ceres Bridgend Infant School 72 41
Ceres 179 133
Craigrothie 108 66

Statistics

"Statistical accounts" giving fascinating insights into the local topography and history, social and economic conditions, and even the daily lives of people, were written by the parish ministers in the 1790s and the 1840s. For more information see the main Fife pages

Taxation

The hearth tax, clock & watch tax, male servants tax, female servants tax, and farm horse tax are all on ScotlandsPlaces.

See also the Early Taxation Records page.