"Forfarshire, a maritime county on the east side of Scotland, extending from the river North Esk to the Firth of Tay. It is bounded on the north-west and north by Aberdeenshire; on the north-east by Kincardineshire; on the east and south-east by the North Sea; on the south by the Firth of Tay; and on the south-west and west by Perthshire. In the NW. are the Braes of Angus, a group of spurs of the Grampians, intersected by romantic glens; in the SW., 8 miles from and parallel to the Firth of Tay, are the Sidlaw Hills; between the Braes of Angus and the Sidlaw Hills is the fertile valley of Strathmore (Great Valley) or Howe of Angus; from the Sidlaw Hills to the coast on the E. and S. the land is level and highly cultivated. From Dundee to Arbroath the coast consists of sand; from Arbroath to Lunan Bay it is formed of sandstone cliffs, culminating in the Red Head. The chief rivers are the Isla, a tributary of the Tay, and the North Esk and South Esk, which flow SE. to the North Sea. Its form - with the exception of an indentation on the north-east, another indentation on the south-west, and a projection on the north-west, all about 5 or 6 miles deep - is very nearly circular. The country lies between latitude 56 degrees 27' and 56 degrees 57' north, and between longitude 2 degrees 25' and 3 degrees 25' from the meridian of Greenwich. Its medium extent, from the north to south is 28.5 miles, and from east to west 29 miles, of 69.5 to a degree; its superficial area is 889 square miles or 568,750 acres. The county consists of four parallel and very distinctive districts - the Grampian, the Strathmore, the Sidlaw and the maritime."
Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland, edited by John Marius Wilson, 1868.
See a detailed list of local and more distant relevant archives and libraries for Angus genealogical research.
"A bibliography of the County of Angus"
Published 1975, Forfar
"Exploring Scottish History"
Michael Cox (ed)
Scottish Library Association & Scottish Local History Forum, 1992
Angus District Council Holdings, pp 19 - 25
"The eastern counties: Aberdeenshire, Angus and Kincardineshire"
Published 1972, London (Hodder & Stoughton)
"Angus Castle Trails"
Peter & Doris Drahoney
Finavon: Finavon Print & Design, 2000
"General view of the County of Angus, or Forfarshire"
"Epitaphs and Inscriptions from burial grounds & old buildings in the North East of Scotland"
Edinburgh: Douglas black, 1879
"The history and traditions of the land of the Lindsays in Angus and the Mearns with notices of Alyth and Meigle"
Edinburgh: Sutherland & Knox, 1853
"Pre-1855 gravestones in Angus. 3 vols"
Alison Mitchell (Ed.)
Edinburgh: Scottish Genealogy Society
"Statistical Account of Scotland, 1791-1799"
(There is a chapter for every parish in Angus)
"Angus or Forfarshire. 5 vols plus index"
Dundee: Charles Alexander, 1880
There has been a census in Britain, every ten years since 1801, excluding 1941. The latest that is currently available is 1911. Scottish census returns are held at New Register House, Edinburgh and copies on microfilm may be consulted there or at local libraries, family history societies and LDS Family History Centres around the world. The 1881 and 1891 census returns have been indexed and are available in New Register House and in a number of family history societies. Also, a large number of census records for Angus are being indexed by the Tay Valley Family History Society and these will be noted on individual parish pages. LDS Church microfilm numbers for each census will be noted on each parish page.
Details of histories of individual churches will be found among written parish histories. (Details given on parish pages).
"Scotland Reformed; The Reformation in Angus & The Mearns"
Edinburgh, 1989. ISBN 0 85976 261 0
The Parish Records kept by the congregations of churches record the births/baptisms, banns/marriages and deaths/burials of the parishioners. The Established Church of Scotland church records are held at New Register House, Edinburgh, while a great number of non-conformist church records can be found at the National Archives of Scotland or in the churches themselves. The Kirk Session Records of a parish consist of the minister of the parish and the elders of the congregation, recording the happenings of the parish. It looks after the general well being of the congregation and, particularly in centuries past, parochial discipline. Most Kirk Session records are held in the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh and can be fascinating reading. For records of individual congregations and parishes, please see the relevant parish pages. A number of non-conformist churches have existed in Angus and details of the following religions in Angus are listed on separate pages:
Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths began in Scotland on 1st January 1855. These records and others are held at the General Register Office for Scotland, Edinburgh. Microfilm numbers for Registers of Births, Deaths and Marriages in Angus 1855-1875, 1881 and 1891 which have been filmed by the LDS Church can be found on the Civil Registration page. Online Indexes of records up to 1897 and some other indexes can be found at Scots Origins - for a fee!!!
Records of testaments, inventories etc. are held at the National Archives of Scotland. Details of those and other records which may be of interest to family historians can be found in the Forfar Sheriff Court (SC47) listing and the Dundee Sheriff Court (SC45) listing.
- The transcription of the section for Angus from the National Gazetteer (1868) provided by Colin Hinson.
Tay Valley Family History Society, based in Dundee was formed in 1980 to promote family history in the former counties of Angus, Perth, Fife and Kinross.
See the Scotland section of our mailing lists page for asking questions about and discussing Angus genealogy.
Researchers may be interested in the Angus Genweb pages.
The history of Angus has been described in a number of books written in the last 100 or so years. The following books are perhaps the best in describing the history of the county of Angus. Since the majority of these have been out of print for a number of years, where possible, Genealogical Society of Utah film numbers are given, and microfilm/fiche copies can be ordered at any LDS Family History Centre world-wide.
"The History and Traditions of the Lands of The Lindsays in Angus & Mearns ...."
Edinburgh, 1853. GSU No 0277723
"Memorials of Angus & Mearns: An Account Historical, Antiquarian and Traditionary"
Andrew Jervise, ed & corr by James Gammack
Edinburgh, 1885, GSU No 1696585, items 4 & 5
"Historic Scenes in Forfarshire"
Edinburgh, 1876, GSU No 0253109
"Angus or Forfarshire, The Land & People, Description & History" 5 vols
Dundee, 1880-1885, GSU No (vol 1-2) 0253037, (vol 3) 0253038, (vol 4-5) 0253039
From the beginning of the fifteenth century until the middle of the nineteenth century, title to a piece of heritable property could only be secured by receiving a 'sasine' in it, and it is the Registers of Sasines that one finds the registering of transactions of heritable property titles. There are three different types of Registers of Sasines - the General, Particular and Burgh. Generally transactions conducted in Royal Burghs were not recorded in the General or Particular Registers. The General Register could contain transactions from any part of the country and indexes are available for these, while the particular were concerned with sheriffdoms. Angus is covered in the Particular Register of Sasines of the Sheriffdom of Forfar. The Registers of Sasines are held in the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh.
Sheriffdom of Forfar (RS33-RS35) covers 1620-1621, 1631-1632, 1637-1658 and 1660-1869
Index to Particular Register of Sasines, For Sheriffdom of Forfar, 1620-1700, Edinburgh, 1965.
Index to Particular Register of Sasines, For Sheriffdom of Forfar, 1701-1780, Edinburgh, 1989 (6 fiche).
Both available from the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh to buy.
Burgh Registers are available for:
Arbroath (B4), 1693-1941, indexed 1693-1941;
Brechin (B8), 1648-1707 and 1748-1946;
Dundee (B19), 1639-1812, in Dundee City Archives, 1809-1928, in SRO, indexed 1863-1928;
Forfar (B26), 1680-1699, 1709-1935, indexed 1809-1914
Montrose (B51), 1670-1944.
A number of newspapers have existed in Angus and details of these can be found on the Newspapers page.
- Abertay Historical Society
- Forfar & District Historical Society
- Friends of Dundee City Archives
- Tay Valley Family History Society
- Aberdeen & North East Scotland Family History Society
For a social and economic record of the parishes of Angus, together with masses of statistical material, it is best to look at the three Statistical Accounts of Scotland:
"The (Old) Statistical Account of Scotland, Vol 13, Angus, 1791-1799,"
edited by Sir John Sinclair
(republished 1976 by EP Publishing, Wakefield, England)
"The New Statistical Account of Scotland, 1843, Vol 11, Forfar - Kincardine"
(Blackwood, Edinburgh 1845)
"The Third Statistical Account of Scotland, The County of Angus"
edited by William Allen Illsley, compiled during the 1950's-1970's.
(The Herald Press, Arbroath, 1977).
Government Taxes have been levied a number of times throughout history in Scotland and the UK. The following records are to be found at the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh. Each vary in the information given. Details of taxation records available for Angus can be found on the Taxation Records page.