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Stranraer is a small parish within the burgh of the same name, much of the town today lying in the parishes of Inch and Leswalt. Located at the south end of Loch Ryan, and formally created as a burgh of barony in 1595 and as a royal burgh in 1617, it was a port and center of ship-building from very early days. Once famous for the herring fishery, it harbored early Clyde steamer services from about 1830. Sheltered in Loch Ryan from the stormy North Channel of the Irish Sea, it has been since 1866 the principal seaport for the Irish ferries, and is today the terminus of the railway which brings Irish boat trains through Ayr from Glasgow and London.
A solid tower castle, probably built by William Adair of Kinhilt, dates from around 1500, and for some time was the headquarters for the notorious sheriff of Wigton, Graham of Claverhouse, known to history as "Bloody Clavers", for his persecution of the Covenanters. From about 1820 to 1907 it provided a prison, with a pit-cell reached only through a trapdoor from the floor above. The burgh was once noted for its narrow streets, many being eleven or fourteen feet wide, and one, "Jean McMasters' Close" only a constraining three feet seven and a half inches! Today's Stranraer Museum occupies the 1776 town house or municipal building, and a Victorian mansion near the harbor was home to Sir John Ross, explorer of the Canadian Arctic and the elusive North-West Passage.
"The 'Old' (1791) and 'New' (1834-45) Statistical Accounts of Scotland provide detailed parish reports - and in the case of the 'New' county reports - for the whole of Scotland, covering a wide spectrum of subjects including agriculture, education, trades, religion and social customs." (EDINA, hosted by Edinburgh University Data Library).
This is a must read, as it contains excellent physical and social descriptions of the parish, Use the link below to access the scanned extracts. You may choose to read county reports which give a more general view of Wigton(Wigtown), or go directly to the pages devoted to your parish of interest.
|1855-1875||C118991 or M118991|
|1695-1819||C118992 or M118992|
|1819-1855||C118994 or M118994|
General information on all Wigtownshire census is more fully explained on Wigtownshire Census Records.
The 1851 Census is today available, as a full transcription,
on the Dumfries and Galloway local government's library
system web site, for Dumfries and for the two Galloway
counties of Wigtownshire and Kirkcudbright, and we are
pleased to cite their URL where you can browse it as you
wish. To access the census directly, enter:
But please do remember that these are transcriptions, and therefore, despite best efforts of the volunteers who worked on them, they are liable to introduced errors. The information should therefore always be backed up by reference to original data, using for example the LDS film of the original census.
This 1851 census has also been indexed by John Roy, by Heads of Households, and we are very happy that we are able to include his invaluable key on these pages. In a rather compact manner, it offers both an index and an overview for those who need a more rapid feel for the location of entire groups of families by surname, for instance. Also, if you intend to use the D&G census you may find it useful to refer to John Roy's index to obtain the page number, as the noted URL reference doesn't give that information..
Census references are by parish number / enumeration district number / page number, for example the first entry of the first district on the Leswalt film will be 891/1/1. The exception to this was in 1851 where the page numbers were abandoned and replaced by 'entry numbers'. Therefore, the first entry in Leswalt will have the same number as other years but the second entry, which will normally be on the same page, will read 891/1/2.
The on-line 1851 census developed by the Friends of the Dumfries Archives does not use parish numbers in the search fields, instead, you need to type in the parish name (be careful with the spelling) if you are narrowing the search down to an individual parish. Once you find a likely candidate for the family you are searching for you can start a new search by typing in the parish name and the reference number in district / household number format That will bring up all of that entry only.
|1841||1042848 and 101941|
|1851||1042557 and 103775|
|Parish Registers (Church of Scotland), 1695-1855|
|Baptisms, 1695-1855/Baptism Index, 1820- 1854/Marriages, 1712-1854/Burials, 1847, 1850/Neglected Entries, 1835-1854||1068042 Items 1-3 Another filming Vault 102358|
|Stranraer Free Presbytery Church|
|minutes 1843-1858||1886476 item 2|
|Births/christenings, A-Z 1695-1855, 2 fiches||6901374|
|Marriages, A thru Z, 1712-1854||6901410|
The following volunteers from the Sct. Wigtownshire mailing list have kindly offered to share their resources and time with other researchers. When asking for a lookup please be specific. Provide surname, forename, and other details that would make the lookup easier to perform. Blanket searches for one surname, i.e. "Please supply all Brown information", must be avoided. To view all parish lookups available, please click here.
|1841 census||Carrie Gulline and Sam Heron|
|1841 census, Stranraer-Inch||Sam Heron|
|1841 census, Stranraer Burgh only||Phil Reed and Sam Heron|
|OPRs, birth/marriages only||Meg Greenwood|
O.P.R.s refer to Old Parish Records which prior to civil registration in 1855 were ledgers in which the parish cleric entered vital information such as marriage, birth/christening, and in some cases deaths. Parish registers were kept only as well as the cleric had time and inclination to do so. In some parishes, within a particular time, the records are exact, precise and a joy to read, in other periods of time, the same parish records could have sporadic, or barely legible, entries. To read more about Old Parish Records, and see image samples, please view Old Parish Records (OPR)for Wigtownshire
Covered period between 1695-1855.
Published in 1916, Parish Lists of Wigtownshire and Minnigaff, 1684 contains nominal rolls recorded in 1684 of all persons, male or female, over the age of 12, by parish, and domocile. To read more about this index, and to find a link to the Stranraer parish roll, [click here].
To view pictures of Stranraer, please click here.