"ELGINSHIRE (or Morayshire), maritime county [map shows location], in NE. of Scotland; is bounded N. by the Moray Firth, E. and SE. by Banff, SW. by Inverness, and W. by Nairn; coast-line, 30 miles; 304,606 ac.; pop. 43,788. Along the sea-coast the surface is mostly low and sandy; inland it consists of fertile valleys, divided by low hills, which gradually rise to the mountains on the S. border. In the S. a large portion of the surface is still covered by forest. The principal rivers are the Spey, Lossie, and Findhorn; the Spey and the Findhorn have salmon and grilse, and in the lochs there is abundance of trout; large quantities of haddock, cod, and ling are caught in the Moray Firth. In the lower part of the Co. farming and stock-raising are prosecuted with great success. The principal crops are wheat, oats, potatoes, and turnips. Granite occurs in the S., and red sandstone in the N. There are large quarries of freestone and a few slate quarries; whisky is distilled; and there is some ship-building at the mouth of the Spey; but otherwise the industries, besides agriculture and fishing, are unimportant. Corn, timber, salmon, and whisky are the chief exports. The Co. comprises 15 pars. and 7 parts, the parl. and royal burgh of Elgin (part of Elgin Burghs -1 member), and the parl. and royal burgh of Forres (part of Inverness Burghs). It unites with the co. of Nairn in returning 1 member to Parliament.

Bartholemew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887


Morayshire Towns and Parishes

For Morayshire townships unconnected to parishes, see the list of Miscellaneous places mentioned in the 1868 gazetteer.

For Morayshire places mentioned in the 1868 gazetteer, see Where is it in Morayshire?

Note that some Morayshire parishes are also partly in Inverness-shire or in Banffshire. In these cases, to avoid duplication, readers are directed to the Inverness-shire or Banffshire pages.


Archives & Libraries

Local Heritage Centre
Old East End School
Institution Road
Moray IV30 1RP

Tel: 01343 569011

Genealogical records include all monumental (gravestone) inscriptions in Moray, legible when surveyed in 1978-79, with an index and a plan of each graveyard showing the location of each stone.



  • "The Moray Book"
    edited by Donald Omand
    Published Edinburgh, 1976
  • "The north-east: the shires of Banff, Moray, Nairn, with Easter Inverness and Easter Ross"
    Nigel Tranter
    Published 1974, London (Hodder & Stoughton)




General advice on census records and indexes can be found on our Scotland Census page.


Church Records

General advice on parish registers can be found on our Scotland Church Records page. 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 records and indexes to them, see our GRO tutorial and our Scotland Civil Registration page.


Court Records

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



See the entry for Morayshire in the 1868 gazetteer.


Military Records

  • Rolls of Honour and War Memorials (monuments) are one good resource for family historians, but need to be addressed with some caution - it should not be assumed that they are either complete or accurate. Memorials (and Rolls of Honour) were created at the local parish level after asking the local inhabitants whose names should appear. Thus:

    - Some names may have been omitted, for a variety of reasons.
    - Some names may appear on more than one memorial.
    - Some names may be misspelled, or given names transposed.
    - Some people may be listed as killed in action, but were not.
    - Some people may be listed who were not in the service at all.
    - Some people may have been confused with others of a similar name.

    - A Roll of Honour may sometimes list the names of all who served, not just those who died.
    - Some of the original records may have been incorrect, for a variety of reasons.
    - Some (more recent) research may be incorrect.


The Aberdeen & North East Scotland FHS covers this county.

Moray Burial Ground Research Group aims to survey each of about 140 burial grounds in Moray, which also includes part of the old county of Banff. The website has indexes to some burial grounds - it is advisable to read the descriptions before searching.



For a social and economic record of the parishes of Moray, together with masses of statistical material, see Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland which was compiled in the 1790s. The account was reprinted in facsimile form in 1982 by EP Publishing Limited of Wakefield, England and volume 16 deals with Orkney and Shetland.

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.