Description of the parish in 1862

Map showing the location of the parish

"Auchterderran parish is bounded by Ballingry, Beath, Abbotshall, Auchtertool, Dysart, Kinglassie and Kinross-shire. It is about 5 miles long by 3 miles wide. About three quarters of the land is under cultivation and everything connected with agriculture has made great progress during the last 10 or 12 years. Coal and ironstone are extensively worked. At Lochgelly Station there are 4 furnaces for smelting the ore, although recently the industry has been dull. The principal village is Lochgelly, small portions of it also being in the parishes of Beath and Ballingry. There are also villages at Cardenden and Clunie. The parish church is in the hamlet of Auchterderran; there is a chapel of ease in Lochgelly where there are also a Free Church and a UP Church. In the same village are a number of Roman Catholics who meet fortnightly in Littlejohn’s Hall. A small number of Mormons also worship in the same place." edited from Westwood's Directory for the counties of Fife & Kinross published 1862.

Towns and Villages


Places in Auchterderran parish, with links to online historical and modern maps.

Please read the main Fife pages if you have not already done so.

Archives and Libraries

A separate Records Page page gives details of the records for this parish held by Scottish archives.

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


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 Lochgelly (Stenlake Publishing) contains many photographs and full descriptions.


There are 3 cemeteries in Auchterderran parish:

1. Auchterderran Churchyard, Woodend Road, Cardenden (grid ref. NT 214961, GPS: 56.15038 -3.266295 Google map):

2. Bowhill Cemetery, Main Street, Cardenden (grid ref. NT 215957, GPS: 56.148332 -3.265029 Google map):

3. Lochgelly Cemetery, Auchterderran Road, Lochgelly (grid ref. NT 196944, GPS: 56.135516 -3.295246 Google map):

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Parish / district reference number for 1841 - 1901 censuses: 405

The 1841 return can be searched on theFreeCEN website.

The 1851 census has been indexed and published 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
Auchterderran 1042699 1042252 103825 103986 203516 208747
(Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

Further information on the main Fife page.

Church History

In addition to the parish church at Auchterderran, other churches include a Free Church, another Established Church and a United Presbyterian Church in Lochgelly.

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

The New Statistical Account (written in 1836) gives this information:

The 1865 Ecclesiastical Directory lists the parish church, another Established Church in Lochgelly, the United Presbyterian Church in Lochgelly, and the Free Church in Lochgelly.

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

Details of church history here.

Church Records

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: 405

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

Auchterderran OPR Births / baptisms Proclamations / marriages Deaths / burials / mortcloths
405/1 1664-1819 1681-1819  
405/2 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.  blank Dec. 1667 - Aug. 1684. Leaf at Sept. 1690 destroyed. No entries March 1696 - May 1697. Irregular about 1783 - 1793. Separate Record for Children of Dissenters at Lochgelly 1769 - 1805, the portion of which prior to 1779 is almost illegible.
M.  blank May 1684 - Oct. 1697, from which date till 1760 the entries are mixed with B. for the same period. M. 1760 - 1790 occur on occasional pages of Record of B. Separate Record from No. 1791. The entries for 1793 are Contracts (exc. one M.). Only two entries Oct. 1795 - Feb. 1798. From 1797 - 1806 incl., the entries are chiefly Contracts, with the fact of Marriage sometimes added 1798 - 1800.

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:

1040148 Items 2 - 3 Baptisms, 1664-1667, 1684-1854; Marriages, 1681-1771, 1783-1819; Baptisms (Lochgelly), 1769-1805; Marriages, 1820-1854; Family Register, 1820-1854.
(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.

Further information on the main Fife page.

Kirk Session records are held at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh. Details of church records here.

Heritors' Records (HR236) are at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh. Details of records here.

Other Churches :

Records for other churches are mostly held at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh.

The LDS have filmed some records which may be consulted at LDS Family History Centres.

Details of church records here.

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

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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
Auchterderran 405 1855 1908
Auchterderran 405/1 1909 1971
Auchterderran 427 1972 2002
Fife 427 2003  
Lochgelly 405/2 1909 1971
Lochgelly 429 1972 2002
Fife 429 2003  

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

Description & Travel

Auchterderran church Ordnance Survey Grid Reference GPS Post code Lat. 569'0"N
NT 214960 56.150187
KY5 0NE Lon. 316'0"W

Surrounding parishes: Ballingry, Kinglassie, Dysart, Kirkcaldy, Abbotshall, Auchtertool, Beath, Portmoak (Kinross-shire).


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.

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There is a list of places in Auchterderran 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.

Historical Geography

On 15th May 1891, the following subjects were transferred from the parish of Ballingry to the parish of Auchterderran: Brigghills Farm (part) and Spittal Farm (part).

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

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.


Historic maps: Present-day maps:

Military History

War memorials can be seen at the Scottish War Memorials Project.

Names, Geographical

There is an index to the Ordnance Survey Object Name Books for this parish here.


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 (for Auchterderran) and 28 (for Lochgelly).


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.

The Scottish Mining website has extensive information about mining in Fife in general and in this parish in particular.

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Poorhouses, 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 Dunfermline Carnegie Library. Details of records here.

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


Year Population
1755 1143
1801 1045
1851 3210
1901 8626  * boundary changed
1951 17602

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 Auchterderran 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 Dunfermline (SC21) or 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.


School Board records and / or school logbooks are held at the Fife Council Archive Centre. Details of records here.

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

School Board School Accommodation for scholars Average attendance
Auchterderran Auchterderran 403 228
Lochgelly Lochgelly 1019 853


"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


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

Town Records

Towns were usually referred to as Burghs in Scotland.

The more recent archives of the former Burgh of Lochgelly are held by the Local History Department, Dunfermline Carnegie Library, with a few at the Fife Archives Centre. Details of records here.

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