FreeCEN Scotland — Kincardineshire

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The 1841 and 1851 census for Kincardineshire is transcribed, online and searchable. This is entirely due to the sterling efforts of the volunteers including transcribers Brandy, Carol, Cath, Don, Isobel, Joan and Peter; and checkers Joan, Margaret and Peter.

We regret that the project is on hold indefinitely. We borrowed our media from the Family Search Record Services and they will no longer lend to outside projects. If you have a question about any of our transcriptions, please contact me, Rena Mitchell.

Project summary

Last edited on 6th Mar 2015

The 19 parishes of Kincardineshire are numbered from 250 to 268. Banchory-Devenick was located partly in the county of Aberdeen — we have transcribed the whole parish.

Population estimates for parishes in 1841 and 1851
Parish Population transcribed
No. Name 1841 1851
Total records transcribed: 33,515 34,943
250 Arbuthnot 1,015 1,002
251 Banchory-Devenick (KCD) 2,736 3,077
Banchory-Devenick (ABD)
252 Banchory-Ternan 2,239 2,462
253 Benholm 1,647 1,641
254 Bervie 1,322 1,460
255 Dunnottar, incl. Prison 1,874 1,949
256 Durris 1,108 962
257 Fettercairn 1,800 1,741
258 Fetteresso: Landward 3,149 3,500
Fetteresso: Stonehaven 2,062 2,218
259 Fordoun 2,327 2,387
260 Garvock 446 457
261 Glenbervie 1,293 1,239
262 Kinneff & Catterline 1,030 1,069
263 Laurencekirk 1,908 2,125
264 Maryculter, incl. College 991 1,055
265 Marykirk 2,385 2,232
266 Nigg 1,642 1,841
267 St Cyrus 1,598 1,579
268 Strachan 942 947

Kincardineshire — an 1846 description

KINCARDINESHIRE, or The Mearns, a maritime county, in the east of Scotland, bounded on the north-west by the river Dee and part of Aberdeenshire, on the east and south-east by the the German Ocean, and on the south-west by the county of Forfar. It lies between 56° 46' and 57° 7' (N. Lat.) and 2° 1' and 2° 45' (W. Lon.), and is about thirty-two miles in length, and twenty-four in extreme breadth; comprising an area of 380 square miles, or 243,444 acres; 7620 houses, of which 7304 are inhabited; and containing a population of 33,075, of whom 15,829 are males, and 17,246 females.

The county is supposed by some to have derived the name Mearns, which is proper only to a particular portion of it, from Mernia, brother of Kenneth II., but, with greater probability, others deduce it from the Vernicones, by whom the district was inhabited in the the time of Ptolemy. Few events of historical importance are recorded, though it is conjectured that the battle between the Caledonians under Galgacus and the Romans under Agricola took place here.

Church & state

Prior to the Reformation, the county was included partly within the archdiocese of St. Andrew's, and partly within the dioceses of Aberdeen and Brechin; it is at present chiefly in the synod of Angus and Mearns, and comprises the presbytery of Fordoun, in that synod, and part of the presbyteries of Kincardine O'Neil and Aberdeen, in the synod of Aberdeen.

For civil government it is undivided, and for session purposes is associated with the counties of Aberdeen and Banff, in the former of which the courts are held; it contains Stonehaven, which is the county town, and the towns and villages of Bervie, Gourdon, Johnshaven, Laurencekirk, Fettercairn, and Auchinblae. Under the act of the 2nd of William IV., the county returns one member to the imperial parliament. The number of parishes is nineteen.


The surface near the coast is tolerably level, though varying in elevation. The Grampians occupy the central, western, and northern parts of the county; and from their base the land subsides towards the south-east, into what is generally called the Howe of the Mearns, forming a continuation of the vale of Strathmore, and between which and the sea there is a tract of swelling ground. The Howe is a beautiful tract of champaign country, about fifty square miles in extent, richly cultivated, embellished with plantations, and defended from the colder winds by the Grampians, and by the hills of Garvock and Arbuthnott, which are from 500 to 800 feet high.

The principal mountains are, the Strath Fenella, detached from the Grampian range by a narrow vale from which it takes its name, and about 1500 feet in height; Cairn-a-Mount, which is 2500 feet; the hill of Fare, 1800 feet; Clachnabane, which has an elevation of 2370 feet, and is crowned with a mass of rock, rising perpendicularly almost one hundred feet above the main surface, and resembling an old fortress; and Mount Battoch, the highest point of the Grampian range in the county, and which has an elevation of 3465 feet.

The principal river is the Dee, which has its source in Aberdeenshire, and, after intersecting this county for about eight miles in a course from west to east, forms its northern boundary for fourteen miles, and falls into the sea at Aberdeen. The other rivers are, the North Esk, which rises in the sequestered vale of Glen-Esk, on the confines of Forfarshire, and, after forming the boundary between the Mearns and that county for above ten miles, falls into the sea three miles to the north of Montrose; the Bervie; the Cowie; and several smaller streams. The chief lakes are, Drum, which is partly in the county of Aberdeen, and Loch Leys; each is about three miles in circumference, and the latter has a small artificial island containing the remains of an ancient edifice of which there are no authentic notices.


About one-third of the land is arable, and in good cultivation; one-eighth capable of being cultivated with advantage, one-twelfth woodland and plantations, and the remainder rough mountain pasture. The soil varies from the most sterile to the most fertile; the district of the Howe of the Mearns is extremely rich, and the system of agriculture in a high state of improvement. Great attention is paid to the rearing of live stock. The number of cattle, which are generally the Angus black, is on an average 25,000, of which 5000 are milch-cows; and the number of sheep is about 24,000, of various breeds, but chiefly the black-faced.

There are no minerals of any importance: limestone is quarried in some places, and there is an abundance of granite in the northern, and of red sandstone in the southern, section of the county. Various gems are found in the mountains and in the rocks, of which the principal are the topaz or Cairngorm.

The seats are, Arbuthnott House, Dunnottar, Fetteresso, Fettercairn, Crathes, Blackhall, Kirkton Hill, Tilquhilly, Inch Marlo, Thornton, Drumtochty Castle, Durris, Ury, Glenbervie, Muchalls, Mount Cyrus, Inglismaldie, Lauriston, Fasque, Johnston, and others.

The manufactures are neither important nor extensive; they are chiefly of canvass and coarse linens, with some trifling branches of the cotton manufacture. At Laurencekirk, the highly-esteemed snuff-boxes of wood are made.

Roads, rents & remains

Facility of communication is afforded by good roads in various directions, of which some are turnpike; and a road over the Grampian hills has been made, and is kept in good repair. The rateable annual value of real property in the county is £134,341, including £3858 for fisheries. There are numerous remains of antiquity, of which the chief are those of Kincardine Castle, once a royal residence, and of Dunnottar Castle, the ancient seat of the Keiths, earls-marischal of Scotland, romantically situated on the summit of a lofty rock boldly projecting into the sea.

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, by Samuel Lewis (1846), as seen on