Description of the parish in 1862

Map showing the location of the parish

"Carnock parish is bounded by Saline, Dunfermline, Torryburn and Culross. It is about 3 miles square. The ground is hilly but highly cultivated. There are 4 villages in the parish: Gowkhall, Carnock, Oakley and Cairneyhill. The village of Oakley has sprung up in the last 15 years, chiefly owing to the Forth Iron Works there. The Stirling & Dunfermline Railway was made to pass contiguous, and at the present time these works yield the principal traffic source for the line. The ore and fuel are raised at the works and there are 7 blast furnaces for the operation of smelting, but there have never been more than 6 in blast at one time. A large number of the inhabitants are employed as miners, or in connection with the iron works, or in agriculture. There are a number of weavers in Cairneyhill but owing to the introduction of machinery in the larger towns, their numbers are decreasing. In addition to the parish church, there is a Free Church at Carnock and a UP Church at Cairneyhill. " edited from Westwood's Directory for the counties of Fife & Kinross published 1862.

Towns and Villages


Places in Carnock 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.

There is a chapter about Carnock in Mercer's History of Dunfermline, published 1828, is at Google Books.


There are 2 cemeteries in Carnock parish:

1. Carnock Churchyard / Cemetery, Main Street, Carnock (grid ref. NT 041891, GPS: 56.085184 -3.54212 Google map):

2. Cairneyhill Churchyard, behind church, Main Street, Cairneyhill (grid ref. NT 051865, GPS: 56.060533 -3.525057 Google map):

The pre-1855 monumental inscriptions are listed in Fifeshire Monumental Inscriptions (pre-1855) vol. 2 The western parishes by John Fowler Mitchell & Sheila Mitchell, published by the Scottish Genealogy Society. ISBN 0901061972


Parish / district reference number for 1841 - 1901 censuses: 414

The 1841 return 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
Carnock 1042700 1042253 103826 103988 203518 208749
(Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

Further information on the main Fife page.

Return to top of page

Church History

In addition to the parish church, other churches include a Free Church at Carnock, a United Presbyterian Church at Cairneyhill and a Roman Catholic Church at Oakley.

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

The New Statistical Account (written in 1843) gives this information:

The 1865 Ecclesiastical Directory lists the parish church, the Roman Catholic Church at Oakley, the United Presbyterian Church at Cairneyhill, and the Free Church at Carnock.

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: 414

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

Carnock OPR Births / baptisms Proclamations / marriages Deaths / burials / mortcloths
414/1 1652-1756 1642-1721 1653-1721
414/2 1753-1819 1780-1819 1753-1819
414/3 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.  Duplicate of Record 1652 -1679. Blank Jan. 1694 - Jan. 1706. Exc. Dec. 1660 - Feb. 1679 in one Record, and 1706 - 1713, Mothers' names seldom recorded till 1752.
M.  Duplicate of  Record 1652 - 1678. No entry for 1691. Blank March 1694 - March 1700, from which date till Aug. 1721 only entries of fees paid by persons when contracted. Blank Aug. 1721 - Oct. 1780. Proclamations and Marriages after 1780.
D.  Deaths and Burials prior to 1678. Duplicate of Record 1653 - 1678. Blank Nov. 1688 - Dec. 1699. Transcribed entries of Mortcloth Dues 1699 - 1721. Blank Aug. 1721 - Dec. 1753, after which Burials.

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:

1040153 Items 3 - 4 Baptisms, 1652-1792; Marriages, 1652-1694, 1700-1721; Burials, 1654-1688; Mortcloth dues (burial records), 1699-1721; Session book (includes Marriage proclamations and some baptisms and Mortcloth dues after 1650), 1642-1661.
1040154 Items 1 - 2 Baptisms, 1792-1854; Marriages, 1780-1854; Burials, 1753-1854.
(Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

Lists of Male Heads of Families, circa 1834, gathered as a result of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland's 1834 Veto Act have been transcribed for some parishes by Old Scottish Genealogy and Family History.

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. Some Kirk Session material is to be found in the OPR records (414/1). Details of church records here.

Heritors' Records (HR15) are at the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh. Details of records here.

Other Churches :

Most records of other churches are held by the National Records of Scotland, Edinburgh.

Indexes to some pre-1855 baptisms have been published by Fife Family History Society.

Details of church records and indexes here.

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

Return to top of page

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
Carnock 414 1855 1967
Dunfermline 424 1968 1971
Dunfermline 432 1972 2002
Fife 432 2003  

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

Court Records

Fife Family History Society have transcribed a list of Carnock Jurors, 1851 on the Records pages of their website.

Description & Travel

Carnock town centre Ordnance Survey Grid Reference GPS Post code Lat. 565'4"N
NT 043890 56.084191
KY12 9JG Lon. 332'24"W

Surrounding parishes: Culross, Saline, Dunfermline, Torryburn.

Return to top of page


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.


There is a list of places in Carnock 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

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.

Return to top of page


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.

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. Details of records here.

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


Year Population
1755 583
1801 860
1851 3191
1901 1349
1951 4334

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 Carnock may be found in either the Stirling Commissariot (CC21), 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) Sheriff Court.

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

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


School Board records and 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
Carnock Cairneyhill 107 46


"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.

Return to top of page