Map of Renfrewshire


"RENFREWSHIRE, maritime Co., in SW. of Scotland, bounded N. by the river Clyde and Dumbartonshire, E. by Lanarkshire, S. by Ayrshire, and W. by the Firth of Clyde; greatest length, NW. and SE., 31 miles; greatest breadth, NE. and SW., 14 miles; area, 156,785 ac., pop. 263,374. The principal streams, all flowing to the Clyde, are the Black Cart, the White Cart, and the Gryfe. The surface in the S. and SW. parts of the Co. is hilly, and somewhat bleak and moorish; it thence undulates to the banks of the Clyde, along which there is some rich and low lying land. Coal, ironstone, and limestone are abundant; copper ore occurs near Gourock and Lochwinnoch. The principal industries, besides mining and agriculture, are the mfr. of cotton and thread, sugar-refining, and shipbuilding. The Co. comprises 20 pars. with parts of 4 others, the parl. and police burghs of Greenock (1 member), Paisley (1 member), and Port Glasgow and Renfrew (part of the Kilmarnock Burghs), the police burghs (suburban of Glasgow) of Crosshill, Kinning Park, Pollokshields, and Pollokshields East, and the police burghs of Gourock, Johnstone, and Pollokshaws. For parliamentary purposes the Co. is divided into 2 divisions -viz., Eastern and Western -each returning 1 member. The representation of the county was increased from 1 to 2 members in 1885."

[Bartholemew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887]



See Monumental inscriptions (pre-1855) in Renfrewshire, Volumes 1 and 2, compiled by John Fowler Mitchell & Sheila Mitchell, and published in Edinburgh in 1969 by the Scottish Genealogy Society.

Burial and cremation records for the locations listed below are held at Greenock Crematorium, where genealogical searches can be carried out (a charge is levied for this service).

The minimum information required to carry out a search is a name along with the month & year of death.

Records date back to:

To make an appointment to access records and for all enquiries please contact:

Burial Grounds Officer
Greenock Crematorium
1 South Street
Greenock PA16 8UG

Records for the locations listed below are held at the Watt Library Union Street Greenock Tel. (01475) 715628


There has been a census every 10 years since 1801 (excluding 1941) but only those pages after 1841 (with a few exceptions) carry details of named residents. Census pages for 1841-1901 can be consulted at the General Register Office in Edinburgh and copies on microfilm may be consulted in LDS Family History Centres around the world. LDS centres also carry microfiche indexes to the 1881 census pages. The National Records of Scotland has a page giving information on the family records that they hold. Computerized indexes for 1881, 1891 and 1901 are available at the General Register Office in Edinburgh and the 1881, 1891 and 1901 indexes are also now searchable on-line, for a fee, at the ScotlandsPeople web site.

Church Records

For information on records for a particular parish, please see that parish's page (where available).

Civil Registration

Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths began in Scotland on 1st January 1855. For details of these and other records held at the General Register Office in Edinburgh, see the GRO tutorial. The National Records of Scotland has a page giving information on the Family Records that they hold.

Many of these records, as well as those in the Old Parish Registers, are now searchable on-line, for a fee, at the ScotlandsPeople web site. The database covers the years 1553-1900 (Births, Christenings and Marriages) and 1855-1925 (Deaths).

Court Records

Records of testaments, inventories etc. are held at the National Records of Scotland.

See also Selections from the judicial records of Renfrewshire: illustrative of the administration of the laws of the county, and manners and condition of the inhabitants, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries ... by William Hector, published at Paisley in 1876 by J & J. Cook.



There is also an electronic mailing list for those with an interest in this county. To subscribe to SCT-RENFREW-L or to its digest form SCT-RENFREW-D, send an email message to either or Leave the subject field blank and put "subscribe" in the body of the message omitting the quotation marks. To post to both SCT-RENFREW-L and SCT-RENFREW-D, messages should be sent to Messages will appear in both lists.

Renfrewshire researchers should also visit the Renfrewshire GenWeb Page on the ScotlandGenWeb Project.

Monumental Inscriptions - see Cemeteries

Military Records


The Renfrewshire Family History Society was established in March 1999.

The Glasgow & West of Scotland FHS also covers this county.

See also the full GENUKI listing of Scottish family history societies.


For a social and economic record of the parishes of Renfrewshire, together with masses of statistical material, see Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, which was compiled in the 1790s. Follow-up works to this were the New Statistical Account (also known as the Second Statistical Account) which was prepared in the 1830s and 1840s; and more recently the Third Statistical Account which has been prepared since the Second World War.

Thanks to a joint venture between the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh the First and Second Statistical Accounts can now be accessed on-line by selecting the following link - The Statistical Accounts of Scotland, 1791-1799 and 1845.

These records give a fascinating glimpse into our ancestors daily lives. The local Church of Scotland ministers were asked to describe their parishes, for example, what the land was like; what crops were grown; what the predominant language spoken in the parish was; the health of the parishioners etc. Please bear in mind that some ministers had better descriptive powers than others. Nevertheless, you will learn a great deal about their lives. There are no individual names mentioned unless they were major landowners. So this is not a document to search for names.

The account was reprinted in facsimile form in 1973 by EP Publishing Limited of Wakefield, England and volume 7 deals with Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire.

This county is maintained by **Job vacancy**.