Kirkcaldy

Description of the parish in 1852

Map showing the location of the parish

" Kirkcaldy is a royal burgh and a populous thriving seaport. From the narrow dimensions on which the town stands, the inhabitants have had to build their houses in a continuous line along the shore giving rise to the name “the lang toun of Kirkcaldy”. The number of vessels belonging to the port at present is 74 with an aggregate burthen of 9956 tons. The principal imports are flax and grain. Vessels from here have been employed in the Davis Strait whale fishery for many years, and 2 vessels are at present so engaged. The trade of Kirkcaldy is similar to that of Dundee - spinning flax and weaving coarse linen goods. There is also a large floorcloth manufactory, brewing, ironfounding, machine making, and a considerable corn and meal trade. As well as the parish church, there are a free church and chapels for united presbyterians, baptists and independents. " edited from Slater's Directory published 1852.

Towns and Villages

Much of the present-day town of Kirkcaldy (other parts were in Dysart, Abbotshall and Kinghorn parishes)

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


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

Archives, Libraries & Museums

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

Kirkcaldy Galleries has a large collection of genealogy and local history materials.

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

The National Collection of Aerial Photography website has photographs of Kirkcaldy taken in the 1940s.

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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 Dysart and East Kirkcaldy and Old Kirkcaldy - Central, North & West (Stenlake Publishing) contain many photographs and full descriptions.

Business and Commerce Records

Wemyss ware pottery was made in Kirkcaldy from 1882 and continues to be made in Fife although now it is produced in Ceres [click on 'About us' then 'History'].

Cemeteries

There are 3 cemeteries and a crematorium in Kirkcaldy parish. There are others in the town, in Abbotshall and Dysart parishes.

1. Kirkcaldy Old Kirk Churchyard, Kirk Wynd, Kirkcaldy (grid ref. NT 281917; GPS: 56.112620 -3.157782): 2. Bennochy Cemetery, BalsusneyRoad, Kirkcaldy (grid ref. NT 275919; GPS: 56.114326 -3.167483 ): 3. Hayfield Cemetery, Hayfield Road, Kirkcaldy (grid ref. NT 277933; GPS: 56.126932 -3.164647): 4. Kirkcaldy Crematorium, Dunnikier Park, Dunnikier Way, Kirkcaldy (grid ref. NT 274939; GPS: 56.132276 -3.169636):

Kirkcaldy Central Library has a large collection of transcripts, indexes and manuscript volumes of Kirkcaldy burials.

A selection of  interesting inscriptions and photographs are included in the booklet Guide to Kirkcaldy Graveyards, published by Kirkcaldy Civic Society, 1996 (ISBN 1946294038).

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: 442 (see also Civil Registration). The ScotlandsPeople website has a street index to the 1911 census.

Part of 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
Kirkcaldy - 1042269 103830,
index to streets on 104116
103993,
index to streets on 104117
203526, 203527,
index to streets on 203392
208760, 208761, 208762,
index to streets on 208606
Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Further information on the main Fife page.

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Church History

There is more information about some churches on the Dysart and Abbotshall pages. An authoritative book is Kirkcaldy's Churches, 1999, Kirkcaldy Civic Society, ISBN 0946294178, available from Fife Family History Society.

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

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

A census of Religious Worship and Education was taken in 1851 at the same time as the census of population. A table of statistics about the churches in Fife at this time is available here. The statistics for the separate burghs were also given. Those for Kirkcaldy are as follows:

Kirkcaldy (Parliamentary Burgh): Population of Parishes 13779, Population of Burgh 10475:

Religious Denomination Number of Places of Worship Number of Sittings Number of Attendants at Public Worship on Sunday March 30 1851 (including Sunday Scholars)
Free Appropriated Total Morning Afternoon Evening
Established Church 3 324 2005 2329 1378 1467  
United Presbyterian Church 3 50 500 2370 1140 1307  
Free Church 4 2190   2190 1450 1668  
Episcopal Church 1 120 180 300 80 85  
Independents or Congregationalists 1 480   480 130 161 159
Baptists 2 360   360 169 222  
Isolated Congregations 2 60   210 57 74  
Roman Catholics 1 300   300      
Total 17 3884 2685 8539 4404 4984 159
The number of sittings was not returned for 1 of the Free Churches.
Returns are altogether wanting for 2 other churches: Established Church 1, United Presbyterian Church 1.

Source: Census of Great Britain, 1851, Religious worship and education. Scotland. Report and tables. British Parliamentary Papers 1854 LIX (1764).

The 1865 Ecclesiastical Directory lists the parish church, 2 other Established Churches (Port Brae and Pathhead), 4 Free Churches (Abbotshall, Dunnikier, Invertiel and Pathhead), 2 United Presbyterian Churches (Bethelfield and the Union Church), the Episcopal Church (St. Peter's), 2 Baptist Churches (Rose Street and White's Causeway), the Congregational Church and a United Original Seceders Church.

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 General Register Office for Scotland in Edinburgh, and they can all be consulted there at the ScotlandsPeople Centre. 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: 442

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

Kirkcaldy OPR Births / baptisms Proclamations / marriages Deaths / burials / mortcloths
442/1 1614-1691 1615-1688  
442/2 1696-1743 1732-1743 1732-1743
442/3 1743-1783 1743-1783 1743-1783
442/4 1783-1819 1783-1819  
442/5 1820-1854    
442/6   1820-1854  
Register of Neglected Entries 1842-1851    
Data supplied by General Register Office for 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 Jan. 1630 - March 1638, March 1662 - Nov. 1673, April 1691 - April 1696 and Nov. 1730 - Jan. 1732, from which date to 1743, B. M. and D. are entered in parallel cols. of the same Record. This last portion not carefully kept. Separate Record of B. after 1743. Indices to B. and M. 1743 - 1783.
M.  blank Jan. 1666 - Nov. 1673, Aug. 1688 - Jan. 1732. Record 1733 - 1739 incl. is one of persons contracted for Marriage. Not carefully kept 1732 - 1743.
D.  Deaths prior to 1752; after that date, Deaths and Burials. From 1732 - 1752 entries recorded in cols. of the Register of M. Separate Record after 1752.
[Vol. 442/3 contains an index to B. 1743 - 1783 (surname plus abbreviated form of father's forename, followed by full first name of child); and an index to M. 1743 - 1783 (parties' surnames and forenames, bridegroom's first). Vol. 442/5 contains an index to B. 1839 - 1854 (surname plus abbreviated form of father's forename, followed by full first name of child). Vol. 442/6 contains an index to M 1841 - 1854 (both parties' surnames, bridegroom's first; entry number as well as page number.)

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:

1040186 Baptisms, 1614-1630, 1638-1662, 1673-1783; Marriages, 1615-1666, 1673-1688, 1732-1783; Burials, 1732-1752.
1040187 Items 1 - 4 Burials, 1752-1783; Baptisms, 1783-1854; Baptisms (supplement), 1820-1854; Marriages, 1783-1867; Neglected entries (3 baptisms), 1842-1851.
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 (Kirkcaldy Old - CH2/636) are at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh. Details of records here.

Heritors' Records (HR239) are at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh. Details of records here.

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

LDS Library Film Numbers:

1068235 Item 1 Parish Church of Kirkcaldy Blotter registers: Baptisms, 1750-1769; Births, 1790-1795. Original records: MR21/1 General Register Office for Scotland
Data provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Dysart and Abbotshall parishes also had parish churches. 

Other Churches :

Some churches are covered on the Dysart and Abbotshall pages.

Records of many other churches are held by the National Archives of Scotland.

Some of the pre-1855 baptism and marriage registers have been transcribed and published.

Details of church records, transcriptions and indexes here.

The Kirkcaldy 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
Kirkcaldy burgh 442/1 1855 1855
Kirkcaldy landward 442/2 1855 1855
Kirkcaldy 442 1856 1874
Kirkcaldy and Abbotshall 442 1875 1919
Dysart 426 1901 1930
Kirkcaldy 442 1920 1971
Kirkcaldy 421 1972 2002
Fife 421 2003  

Registration districts did not necessarily coincide exactly with parishes. In the 20th century especially, there were frequent changes in registration districts. Kirkcaldy registration district included part of Abbotshall parish until 1874, thereafter the whole of Abbotshall parish was included. Kirkcaldy registration district also included part of Kinghorn parish.

Court Records

Dean of Guild Court records, Licensing Court records and Burgh Court records are held by Fife Council Archives. A full list is held by Kirkcaldy Central Library.

Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court records are held by the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh (SC23). They include a Register of Decrees (from 1880), sequestrations (from 1880), small debt court (from 1837), Prime Gilt Box records for Kirkcaldy (1673-1871), and Commissary Court records (from 1960).

On the Records pages of the Fife Family History Society website there is an index to Kirkcaldy Burgh Register of Deeds (1716-1884).

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Description & Travel

Kirkcaldy town centre Ordnance Survey Grid Reference GPS Post code Lat. 566'38"N
NT 278914 56.109880
-3.162524
KY1 1XN Lon. 39'45"W

Kirkcaldy Civic Society provide lots of information about the town.

Surrounding parishes: Abbotshall, Dysart, Auchterderran.

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.

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Gazetteers

There is a list of places in Kirkcaldy 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.

Genealogy

A page of information about some local ship-owning families is available on the Records pages of the Fife Family History Society.

Historical Geography

On 15th May 1891, two detached parts of Abbotshall (both surrounded by Kirkcaldy parish) were transferred to Kirkcaldy parish. They comprised the following subjects: Smeaton, Smeaton Row and part of East Smeaton Farm.

In 1901, the parishes of Abbotshall, Dysart & Kirkcaldy, plus part of the parish of Kinghorn (Invertiel), were united to form the parish of Kirkcaldy & Dysart.

In 1930, the burgh of Dysart was combined with the burgh of Kirkcaldy.

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

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 & 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:

This British Library webpage uses small examples of historical maps of London to show the differences between maps at various scales.

Present-day maps:
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Medical Records

Hospital records (mostly of an administrative nature) are held by the Fife Council Archive Centre. The following hospitals are included: Kirkcaldy Cottage Hospital 1891-1948. Patient records are closed for 100 years.

Military History

The Register of the Fife Fallen in the Great War, vol 1: Kirkcaldy & Dysart Fallen, 1914-1919 has been published and is available from the Fife Family History Society and the Tay Valley Family History Society.

The Kirkcaldy [Boer] War Album with photographs of over 200 Fife men 1900-1902 is online at Ancestry.co.uk.

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

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, 29.

Occupations

A list of Kirkcaldy shoemakers, 1718 - 1854, extracted from the Kirkcaldy Shoemakers' Accounts Book , held by Kirkcaldy Museum, has been published by the Fife Family History Society in Publication 13 - Trade Incorporation Records.

A list of Kirkcaldy wrights, 1753 - 1845, extracted from a list of members of the Kirkcaldy Wright Incorporation Benefit Society , held by Kirkcaldy Central Library, has been published by the Fife Family History Society in Publication 14 - Trade Incorporation Records.

Records of Kirkcaldy Burgh Police Officers are held at the Fife Council Archive Centre.

Sailors on board ships registered at Kirkcaldy in 1851 are listed on CD: Scotland South-East Seamen Crew Lists, 1851 available from Family History Indexes.

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 10.

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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. Details of records here.

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

Population

Year Population
1755 2296
1801 3248
1851 5719
1901 14175  * boundary changed
1951 50519  * boundary changed

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

Prior to 1824, wills, testaments & inventories of residents of Kirkcaldy 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, Cupar Sheriff Court and Kirkcaldy Burgh Register of Deeds.

Schools

School Board records and / or school logbooks are held at the Fife Council Archive Centre. Details of records here. Some schools were in Dysart parish. Their records are 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
Kirkcaldy (Burgh) Burgh School 340 236
East 819 790
Linktown, Philip's 233 229
Philip's 228 158
West 930 855
Kirkcaldy (Landward & Abbotshall) Chapel 149 106

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

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Taxation

Some 18th century assessed tax records (eg window tax & inhabited house tax) are at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh. Details of records here.

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

Town Records

Most archives of the former Burghs of Dysart and Kirkcaldy are held by Fife Council Archives. They include a wealth of material: Council Minutes; Harbour Commissioners Minutes; Dysart Combination Poorhouse records (1921-1928); Kirkcaldy Combination Poorhouse records (1917-1928); Trade Incorporation records; Parochial Board records for Abbotshall, Dysart and Kirkcaldy; harbour dues (from 1666); etc. A full list is held by Kirkcaldy Central Library.

Kirkcaldy Burgh Protocol Books, Burgh Register of Sasines (from 1539) and Registers of Deeds are held at the National Archives of Scotland (B41).

On the Records pages of the Fife Family History Society website there is an index to Kirkcaldy Burgh Register of Deeds (1673-1871).

Details of records here.

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