Report problems or contribute information

 
1 Introduction 2 Message details 3 Upload file 4 Submitted

Help and advice for Wemyss

If you have found a problem on this page then please report it on the following form. We will then do our best to fix it. If you are wanting advice then the best place to ask is on the area's specific email lists. All the information that we have is in the web pages, so please do not ask us to supply something that is not there. We are not able to offer a research service.

If you wish to report a problem, or contribute information, then do use the following form to tell us about it.

We are in the process of upgrading the site to implement a content management system.

Wemyss

Description of the parish in 1862

"Wemyss, on the south shore of the county, derives its name from the Celtic Wamh meaning caves, a number of which may be found in the rocks on the seashore. The parish is bounded by Markinch, Scoonie, Kennoway and Dysart. It measures about 6 miles by 1.5. The parish is in excellent cultivation, producing great quantities of potatoes and turnips. Ochre and ironstone are found, but the principal mineral is coal of which from 50000 to 60000 tons are produced annually. The manufactures of the parish consist mainly of ducks, dowlas, sheetings, huckabacks, diaper and canvas. There are 8 villages in the parish: West Wemyss, East Wemyss, Buckhaven (one of the largest fishing villages in Fife), Methil (with a fine harbour), Kirkland (with extensive spinning, weaving and bleaching works), Coaltown of Wemyss, East Newtown of Wemyss and Methilhill (which last 3 are all mining villages. The parish church is at East Wemyss, with a chapel of ease at West Wemyss. There is a Free Church at East Wemyss and a UP Church at Buckhaven. " edited from Westwood's Directory for the counties of Fife & Kinross published 1862.

Archives and Libraries

Methil Library. There is a collection of genealogy and local history materials in their Family History Room.

The Methil Heritage Centre has a very interesting collection of information about Leven, Methil and surrounding areas.

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.

Old Wemyss and Methil- No More! (Stenlake Publishing) contain many photographs and full descriptions.

Cemeteries

There are 4 cemeteries in Wemyss parish:

1. St Mary's by the Sea Churchyard, Main Street, East Wemyss (grid ref. NT 340967, GPS: 56.159097 -3.063762 Google map:

  • Pre-1855 monumental inscriptions are in Mitchell & Mitchell (see below).
  • Another listing of the stones has been published by the Fife Family History Society in their Publication 19, Monumental Inscriptions.
  • Some inscriptions are included in the Anstruther Mortsafe records (see below).
  • A CD with photographs of the stones and transcriptions is available from Scottish Monumental Inscriptions or from The Parish Chest.

2. MacDuff / East Wemyss Cemetery, Main Road, East Wemyss (grid ref. NT 342972, GPS: 56.16206 -3.061844 Google map):

  • One pre-1855 monumental inscription is in Mitchell & Mitchell (see below) - listed as 'Wemyss Cemetery'.
  • Some inscriptions are included in the Anstruther Mortsafe records (see below).
  • The current lair registers (dating from 1865) are administered by Fife Council, Bereavement Services Central, Kirkcaldy Crematorium, Rosemount Avenue, Kirkcaldy, KY2 6HQ. Tel. 01592 260277. Fax 01592 203438.
  • Two CDs with photographs of the stones and transcriptions are available from Scottish Monumental Inscriptions or from The Parish Chest.

3. West Wemyss Churchyard (St Adrians), Main Street, West Wemyss (grid ref. NT 328947, GPS: 56.141464 -3.08379 Google map):

  • Pre-1855 monumental inscriptions are in Mitchell & Mitchell (see below).
  • The current lair registers (dating from 1889) are administered by Fife Council, Bereavement Services Central, Kirkcaldy Crematorium, Rosemount Avenue, Kirkcaldy, KY2 6HQ. Tel. 01592 260277. Fax 01592 203438.
  • A CD with photographs of the stones and transcriptions is available from Scottish Monumental Inscriptions or from The Parish Chest.

4. Methilmill Cemetery, Holly Bank, Methilhill (grid ref. NO 359007, GPS: 56.192918 -3.033211 Google map):

  • Pre-1855 monumental inscriptions are in Mitchell & Mitchell (see below).
  • Some inscriptions are included in the Anstruther Mortsafe records (see below).
  • A CD with photographs of the stones and transcriptions is available from Scottish Monumental Inscriptions or from The Parish Chest.
  • The current lair registers (dating from 1903) are administered by Fife Council, Bereavement Services Central, Kirkcaldy Crematorium, Rosemount Avenue, Kirkcaldy, KY2 6HQ. Tel. 01592 260277. Fax 01592 203438.

The pre-1855 monumental inscriptions are listed in "Fifeshire Monumental Inscriptions (pre-1855) vol. 1 South east parishes" by John Fowler Mitchell & Sheila Mitchell, published by the Scottish Genealogy Society. ISBN 0901061948

Transcripts of many of the older stones were made by an unknown hand in the 1870s. They are recorded in the Minute Book of the Anstruther Mortsafe Society, 1830-1874, held by the Special Collections Dept. of St Andrews University Library. They are included in Publication 38, Monumental Notes part 2, published by the Fife Family History Society.

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

Census

Parish / district reference number for 1841 - 1901 censuses: 459

The 1841 and 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
Wemyss 1042704, 1042705 1042273 103832 103995 203532 208768
(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 Wemyss 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

In addition to the Parish Church (St Mary's), other churches include: East Wemyss Free; Innerleven & Methil (Dubbieside) Antiburgher (UP); Methil East Free; Buckhaven St Michael's; Buckhaven St Andrew's Free; Buckhaven St David's Burgher (UP); and Buckhaven Muiredge UP.

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

  • "There are but few dissenters in the parish.
  • There is a Burgher meeting house at Buckhaven but no minister.
  • Those of the Antiburgher persuasion have places of worship in the parishes of Dysart and Markinch.
  • About 24 join the Presbytery of Relief.
  • 6 of the Episcopalian persuasion"

The New Statistical Account (written in 1838) gives this information:

  • There is a Dissenting meeting house in association with the United Associate Synod situated on the links of Buckhaven. The present minister is the Rev. Robert Pollock.
  • Number of persons, from a census in early 1836:
    • East Wemyss - 809 Establishment, 26 other denominations, 2 no denomination
    • Buckhaven - 550 Establishment, 910 other denominations, 15 no denomination
    • Methil - 298 Establishment, 178 other denominations, 32 no denomination
    • Kirkland - 216 Establishment, 316 other denominations, 11 no denomination
    • West Wemyss - 865 Establishment, 48 other denominations, 26 no denomination
    • West Coaltown - 297 Establishment, 2 other denominations, 0 no denomination
    • East Coaltown - 123 Establishment, 39 other denominations, 0 no denomination
    • Country parts - 322 Establishment, 130 other denominations, 0 no denomination

The 1865 Ecclesiastical Directory lists the parish church, Established Churches at Methil and West Wemyss, the United Presbyterian Church at Buckhaven, and the Free Church.

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

Details of church history:

  • Wemyss Church (St Mary's by the Sea):

The church of Wemyss was dedicated to St Mary and pre-reformation it belonged to the Holy Trinity at Edinburgh. Ministry here is recorded from 1585 in the person of James Tullos. The old charge of Wemyss, which in later years was termed Wemyss St Mary's-by-the-sea, was united in 1976 with the congregation of Wemyss St Adrian's, under the name of Wemyss. The present day church, which still sits on the site of the original church is though to date back in part to pre-reformation years. The kirk session sits within the Presbytery of Kirkcaldy.

  • East Wemyss Free Church:

The congregation of East Wemyss Free Church, which sat in the Free Presbytery of Kirkcaldy, was established in June 1843, the year of the Disruption. Worship initially took place in the open air, or during bad weather in a hall above stables, until 1846 when their church was opened. Following the 1900 union of the United Presbyterian Church and the Free Church of Scotland, East Wemyss Free Church became East Wemyss United Free Church and upon the 1929 union between the United Free Church of Scotland and the Church of Scotland, East Wemyss U.F. was renamed East Wemyss St George's Church of Scotland. A new church and halls were dedicated on the 18 December 1937. In 1973 East Wemyss St George's established a union with the congregation of West Wemyss St Adrian's, under the name of Wemyss St Adrian's and St George's, and further union followed in 1976 with Wemyss St Mary's-by-the-sea, under the name of Wemyss Church of Scotland. The united congregation remains active today, presently under the jurisdiction of the Presbytery of Kirkcaldy.

  • Buckhaven, Chapel of Ease, later St Michael's, Kirk Session:

Buckhaven Chapel of Ease was built in 1902, and a number of years thereafter in 1913 Buckhaven parish was disjoined from Wemyss, Methil and Milton of Balgonie and erected quoad sacra. Following the 1929 union of the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church, Buckhaven was termed Buckhaven St Michael's and in 1972 Buckhaven St Michael's united with the charges of Buckhaven St Andrew's and Buckhaven St David's, under the name of Buckhaven. The kirk session, which remains active today, sits within the Presbytery of Kirkcaldy.

  • Buckhaven United Associate Congregation (Burgher), United Presbyterian, United Free and St David's Church of Scotland:

In June 1792 a group of residents of Buckhaven applied to the Burgher Presbytery of Dunfermline with a request for sermon. Prior to this time the majority of the group had attended service in Kennoway, which sat three and a half miles from Buckhaven. Partly as a consequence of the unsatisfactory distance the Buckhaven Secession church adherents had to travel to attend church, sermon was granted and on 21 July 1794 the congregation of Buckhaven Burgher Church was officially formed. It seems apparent from church records of the time that the church of the congregation was in the process of being constructed in 1794. David Teller, the first minister of the congregation was ordained in 1796. In 1847 the congregation became part of the United Presbyterian Church and in 1869 a new church was opened at a cost of over £2600. Following the union of the United Presbyterian Church and the Free Church of Scotland in 1900, Buckhaven U.P. was renamed Buckhaven St David's United Free Church and upon the 1929 union between the United Free Church of Scotland and the Free Church of Scotland, Buckhaven St David's U.F. became Buckhaven St David's Church of Scotland. In 1939 Buckhaven St David's was united with the congregation of Buckhaven Muiredge, continuing under the name of Buckhaven St David's, and further union followed in 1972 with Buckhaven St Andrew's and also with Buckhaven St Michael's, to form the session of Buckhaven Church of Scotland. Buckhaven Church of Scotland remains active today, presently under the jurisdiction of the Presbytery of Kirkcaldy.

  • Buckhaven Free Church ( St Andrew's United Free and Church of Scotland):

In 1866, in response to a request from Free Church residents living in the district, a Free Church mission station was established in Buckhaven and the charge was later sanctioned in 1875. Buckhaven Free Church sat within the Free Presbytery of Kirkcaldy. Following the union of the United Presbyterian Church and the United Free Church of Scotland in 1929, Buckhaven Free Church was renamed Buckhaven St Andrew's United Free Church and upon the 1929 union between the United Free Church of Scotland and the Church of Scotland, Buckhaven St Andrew's United Free Church became Buckhaven St Andrew's Church of Scotland. In 1972 the congregation of Buckhaven Church of Scotland was formed by the triple union of Buckhaven St Andrew's, Buckhaven St David's, and Buckhaven St Michael's, and this united congregation remains active today, under the jurisdiction of the Presbytery of Kirkcaldy.

  • Buckhaven Muiredge United Presbyterian Church Kirk Session, United Free, Church of Scotland:

Buckhaven, Muiredge United Presbyterian Church was established as an extension church in Buckhaven by the Presbytery of Kirkcaldy in 1882. The church was opened in 1885. It passed successively to the United Free Church, as Buckhaven Muiredge, and to the Church of Scotland. The Church of Scotland charge, which was in the presbytery of Kirkcaldy and the synod of Fife, united with Buckhaven St David's under that name in 1939.

  • Methil Free Church (later United Free and East Church of Scotland):

Following the Disruption of 1843 the quoad sacra parish church congregation of Methil ceased to exist and for many years mission work was carried out here by the Free Church of Leven. In 1852 a Free Church mission station was formally established in Methil and in 1894 the charge was sanctioned. A brick church was later erected to house the congregation. In 1900, upon the union of the Free Church and the United Presbyterians, Methil Free Church became Methil United Free Church and following the 1929 union between the United Free Church and the Church of Scotland, Methil U.F. was renamed Methil East Church of Scotland. The congregation of Methil East, which sat within the Presbytery of Kirkcaldy, was united in 1934 with the charge of Innerleven to form the session of Innerleven East. After this local union the united congregation worshipped in the Methil East church until a new church was erected in 1941, the East church was later converted for use as a church hall.

  • Innerleven (Dubbieside) Associate Congregation (later United Free):

On the 16th May 1728 several Praying Societies in and around Leven acceded to the Associate Presbytery and worshipped together at Abbotshall until 1743, when they were transferred to Ceres. In 1768 members of this Associate congregation, who were resident in Innerleven, petitioned the Presbytery requesting that sermon be provided at Innerleven on account of the distance they were required to travel to attend worship at Ceres. It was agreed that four services per year would be supplied however the petitioners were dissatisfied with this compromise and consequently left the presbytery to take their own course of action. The exact steps taken are unknown due to a lack of authoritative records, however it is recorded that Innerleven (Dubbieside) had established their own session by 1781, and the first minister of the congregation was ordained in 1789. In 1900, upon the union of the Free Church and the United Presbyterians, the congregation of Innerleven Associate became Innerleven United Free Church and following the 1929 union between the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church, Innerleven U.F. became Innerleven Church of Scotland. In 1934 Innerleven was joined with the congregation of Methil East to form the session of Innerleven East and following this local union the congregation continued to worship in the Methil East church until a new church was erected in Methilhaven Road in 1941. The former Innerleven church was sold and the Methil East building was later converted for use as church halls. The sessions of Innerleven Associate Congregation, U.F and Church of Scotland all fell under the jurisdiction of the Presbytery of Kirkcaldy.

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: 459

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

Wemyss OPR Births / baptisms Proclamations / marriages Deaths / burials / mortcloths
459/1 1660-1691    
459/2 1692-1734    
459/3 1735-1779    
459/4 1779-1819 1779-1819  
459/5   1662-1779 1707-1819
459/6 1820-1854 1820-1854 1820-1854
(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.  This Register appears tohave been originally kept with great care and regularity, but it has subsequently suffered much from damp and neglect, and the corners of the leaves 1660 - 1667, 1698 - 1718, and 1729 - 1733 have been more or less destroyed - at the last date apparently by mice. The original is wanting March - Sept. 1744, but there are four leaves of transcribed entries Sept. 1743 - Sept. 1744, which embrace the missing entries. There are also three leaves of transcribed entries May 1771 - Oct. 1771, and July 1774 - Feb. 1775, the originals of which have been lost.
M.  Record originally kept with care, but has since suffered much from damp. Greater part of leaf Oct. 1678 - May 1679 destroyed. Four leaves of transcribed entries May 1744 - Oct. 1746, of which the originals are lost. Between 1775 and 1783, date of Marriage seldom given, but date of 'Booking' only.
D.  (Mortcloth Dues.)

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:

1040184 Items 1-2 Marriages 1662-1779, 1820-1854; Mortcloth dues (burial records) 1707-1854; Baptisms 1820-1855
1040183 Baptisms 1692-1820; Marriages 1779-1819
1040387 Item 4 Baptisms 1660-1691
(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.

The Presbytrie Book of Kirkcaldie, the record of the proceedings of the Presbytery of Kirkcaldy (which includes references to this parish), from 15 April 1630 - 14 September 1653, is available through the web archive.

There are no known records of the Heritors of the parish.

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • CH2/365
    Wemyss Kirk Session
    Minutes, 1645-1867; Cash (collections, etc), 1707-1843.

Other Churches:

At the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh:

  • CH3/424
    East Wemyss Free Church
    Session minutes, 1855-1887; Communion roll, 1850-1871; Deacon's Roll, 1843-1900.
  • CH2/1390
    Buckhaven, Chapel of Ease, later St Michael's, Kirk Session
    Volume containing minutes of managers, local trustees, finance committee and congregational board, 1903-1938; Congregational board minutes, 1938-1972; Mission accounts, 1912-1929; Cash book, 1930-1972; Formula book, 1913-1971; Property register, 1956-1969; Proclamation register, 1912-1972; Communion roll (Wemyss parish, Buckhaven section), 1894-1922 and 1941-1972; Supplementary roll, 1954-1966; Baptismal register, 1903-1972.
  • CH3/454
    Buckhaven United Associate Congregation (Burgher), United Presbyterian, United Free and St David's Church of Scotland
    Minutes, 1846-1972; Accounts, 1826-1853; Manager's Minutes, 1824-1826, 1839-1919 and 1925-1972; Cash book, 1796-1805 and 1864-1890; Building fund bank book, 1867-1870; Subscriptions to repairs of church and manse, n.d.; New hall committee minutes, 1954-1960; Seat letting book, 1948-1954; Property register, 1966-1980; Proclamation register, 1945-1958; Marriage register, 1947-1972; Communion roll, 1890-1895, 1910, 1937-1941 and 1946-1951; Additional notes, 1936-1937 and 1943; Miscellaneous papers, 19 and 20 cent; Baptismal register, 1953-1972.
  • CH3/581
    Buckhaven Free Church ( St Andrew's United Free and Church of Scotland)
    Minutes, 1866-1944; Baptisms, 1922-1926 and 1931-1972; Deacon's Court minutes, 1910-1972; Communion roll, 1924-1961; Proclamation register, 1961-1972; Property register, 1956-1973; Cash book, 1913-1949 and 1961-1970.
  • CH3/1376
    Buckhaven Muiredge United Presbyterian Church Kirk Session, United Free, Church of Scotland
    Minutes, 1886-1924; Managers' minutes, 1903-1939; Communion rolls, 1886-1939; Cash books, 1885-1901; Subscriptions for new church, 1866-1870 and undated; Papers relative to a proposed union with St Andrew's, 1918; Baptisms, 1886-1938; Non-communicants roll, 1897-1937; Proclamations, 1932-1946; The Man's Own Paper (edited by Professor Main, Glasgow University, for the Scottish Young Men's Guilds, printed, 1928).
  • CH3/232
    Methil Free Church (later United Free and East Church of Scotland)
    Session minutes, 1893-1934; Deacon's Court minutes, 1893-1934; Communion roll, 1893-1930; Sunday School accounts, 1899-1934
  • CH3/174
    Innerleven (Dubbieside) Associate Congregation (later United Free)
    Session minutes, 1828-1834; Accounts, 1776-1841; Manager's accounts, 1840-1880; Librarian's book, 1839-1840; Congregational minutes, 1864-1866 and 1880-1902; Communion roll, 1882-1912.
At the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, USA, but available on microfilm at LDS Family History Centres around the world:
  • Microfilm no. 104156 Item 7
    Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, West Wemyss Branch
    Record of members, 1841-1847.

The Wemyss 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
Wemyss 459 1855 1873
Wemyss 459/1 1874 1971
Wemyss 425 1972 1979
Buckhaven 459/2 1874 1971
Buckhaven 424 1972 2002
Fife 424 2003  

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

Court Records

Buckhaven Police Court Minute Books (from 1928) are held by Fife Council Archives.

Description and Travel

East Wemyss town centre Ordnance Survey Grid Reference GPS Post code Lat. 56°9'35"N
NT 338968 56.159259
-3.067410
KY1 4RA Lon. 3°4'3"W

Surrounding parishes: Markinch, Dysart, Scoonie.

You can see pictures of Wemyss 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 Wemyss 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

The parish of Markinch had a detached portion situated at Dubbieside (or Innerleven). On 15th May 1891 it was transferred from the parish of Markinch to the parish of Wemyss. It comprised Innerleven, Innerleven Acres and Haugh Lands, and a large number of small properties, chiefly urban, in the police burgh of Buckhaven Methil and Innerleven.

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

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

History

Notices from the Local Records of Dysart, a compilation from various sources covering both parish and burgh matters from 1534 to 1697, published in 1853, is available online at the Internet Archive. It includes references to matters in this parish.

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 NT338968 (Lat/Lon: 56.159308, -3.067422), Wemyss which are provided by:

Medical Records

Hospital records (mostly of an administrative nature) are held by the Fife Council Archive Centre. The following hospitals are included: Randolph Wemyss Memorial Hospital 1912-1948. Patient records are closed for 100 years.

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, 30.

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.

There is a series of articles about many Fife family businesses in Fife Family History Society's Journal, New Series 9.

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. See Public Records below.

Peter Higginbotham's website has a lot of information about Dysart combination poorhouse.

Population

Year Population  
1755 3041  
1801 3264  
1851 5647  
1901 15031  * boundary changed
1951 28463  

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 Wemyss may be found in either the St Andrews Commissariot (CC20) or the Edinburgh Commissariot (CC8) records. From 1824 to 1960, commissary business was conducted by the Sheriff Court of Fife at Cupar (SC20). From 1960, it has been conducted at Kirkcaldy (SC23) Sheriff Court.

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/6/56
    Wemyss Parochial Board / Parish Council
    Minute books, 1845-1930.

Schools

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

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:

  • Buckhaven High School
    Log books, 1901-1927.
  • Denbeath Primary School
    Log books, 1908-1992; admissions registers, 1933-1966.
  • Buckhaven Links School
    Log books, 1873-1882.
  • Buckhaven Primary School
    Log books, 1920-1939.
  • Buckhaven Infant School
    Log books, 1923-1945.
  • Buckhaven Subscription School
    Log books, 1863-1901.
  • Coaltown of Wemyss School
    Log books, 1870-1963.
  • Coaltown of Wemyss Infant School
    Log books, 1901-1928.
  • Aberhill Public School
    Log books, 1912-1932.
  • Aberhill Junior School
    Log books, 1932-1947.
  • Aberhill Primary School
    Log books, 1947-1976.
  • Methil Public School
    Log books, 1893-1926.
  • Methil Public School Infants
    Log books, 1893-1923.
  • Wemyss Public School
    Log books, 1863-1908.
  • Wemyss Infants School
    Log books, 1925-1938.
  • East Wemyss Primary School
    Log books, 1892-1925, 1938-1988; admissions registers, 1918-2001.
  • West Wemyss Dorothy Public School
    Log books, 1874-1923, 1957-1981.
  • West Wemyss Dorothy Infant School
    Log books, 1891-1920.
  • Wemyss School Board
    Minute Books 1873-1918.
  • Wemyss School Management Committee
    Minutes, 1931-1948.

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
Wemyss    Buckhaven 728 611
Kirkland Cross Roads 538 462
Wemyss 299 194
Coaltown 148 102
West Wemyss, Dorothy 326 193

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.

Town Records

Towns were usually referred to as Burghs in Scotland.

At the Fife Council Archive Centre, Kirkcaldy:

  • B/BM
    Buckhaven and Methil Burgh records
    Town council minutes, 1891-1975; police court case registers, 1928-1975; Licensing Court registers, 1904-1961; abstract of accounts, 1903-1972 (with gaps); Town Chamberlain's letter books, 1962-1972; plans of town council housing schemes, 1919-1971; correspondence files relating to redevelopment and industrial development schemes for Buckhaven and Lower Methil, 1959-1975; Braehead School magazine, 1964-1967.