Wigtownshire Pages: Sorbie parish info
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Sorbie Parish

map photo photo photo photo
To view the entire photogallery, [click here]

Sorbie and its small parish of sixteen square miles lie about five miles south of Wigtown, the village with its ruined kirk being on the main road to Whithorn and the byroad to Garlieston. It is gentle rolling farm land once widely known for its black Galloway cattle, from the shore inland to Dowalton Loch, but Sorbie was famed in the early 1800s for its damask, reckoned the best woven cloth in Scotland, and more recently renowned for its Clydesdale horses. The old church served the united former parishes of Cruggleton, Kirkmadrine and Sorbie, but in 1876 a new church was built near Garlieston.

A little to the east of the village is the Old Tower of Sorbie, the ruins of the former ancestral home of the Hannays, while the Garlies family, Earls of Galloway were at Galloway House, almost on the shores of Wigtown Bay. Garlieston is a small fishing port, laid out by Lord Garlies about 1760, where ships were built in the 1800s and the paddle steamer "Countess of Galloway" called on her regular passages to Liverpool. To the south are ruins of Cruggleton Castle and the restored 12th century church.

The Statistical Accounts of Scotland, 1791-1845

"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.

Parish Info

Batch Numbers

Recently a new site has been published, which considerably cuts the time involved searching the International Genealogy Index (IGI) with batch numbers.

Click here to view the entrance page, and read about the site, and batch numbers.

Click here to go directly to the IGI Batch numbers for Wigtown parishes.

1855-1875 C118971 or M118971
1700-1820 C118972 or M118972
1819-1854 C118974 or M118974


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.

2% Census Sampling of 1851: Sorbie.     Based on the 2% sampling, Mike's Genealogy site records some of the residents of Sorbie. To view, click here

LDS Film Numbers

1841 1042847 and 101941
1851 1042557 and 103775
1861 103922
1871 104113
1881 224063
1891 220462
Church Records
Parish Registers, 1700-1820
Baptisms, 1700-1820
Marriages, 1700-1721, 1794-1820
Burials, 1706-1716, 1813-1818
Neglected Birth entries, 1836, 1838 & 1840.
1068041 Items 2-3
another filming 102356
Church indexes
Births and christenings, A thru Z 1700-1854 6901696
Marriages, A thru Z, 1700-1854 6901697

Lookups for Parish Records

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 Bruce McDowall, Carrie Gulline and Darlene Vernon
1851 census Wayne Hannay
OPRs Bruce McDowall

Map Sources

Old Parish Registers

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

Parish Lists of Wigtownshire and Minnigaff, 1684

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 Sorbie parish roll, [click here].


To view pictures of Sorbie, please click here.


1755 986
1791 1,071
1801 1,091
1821 1,319
1831 1,412