Aberlady, East Lothian, Scotland GenealogyEdit This Page
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This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Aberlady. To learn more about how to use these records to search for your ancestors, go to the Scotland: Research Strategies.
ABERLADY, a parish, in the county of Haddington, 4 miles (N. W.) from Haddington. This place is situated on the Frith of Forth, and near the mouth of the small river Peffer, supposed to have been anciently called the Leddie, from which circumstance the name Aberlady is said to have been derived. The parish is bounded on the north and north-west by the Frith. The church, rebuilt in 1773, is a neat and substantial edifice, adapted for a congregation of 525 persons.
The New Statistical Account of Scotland (pub. 1834-45) offers uniquely rich and detailed parish reports for the whole of Scotland, covering a vast range of topics including history, agriculture, education, trades, religion and social customs. The reports, written by the parish ministers, are available online at http://edina.ac.uk/stat-acc-scot/. Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for your parish of interest. Also available at the Family History Library.
A census is a count and description of the population, taken by the government, arranged by locality and by household. Read more about census records.
The 1901 census of Scotland is indexed on www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. To use it, you must register and pay a small access fee. All available censuses, 1841-1901, are indexed on this website. It may be easier for you to pay to use the website rather than access the separate indexes through the library.
The Established Church of Scotland was Presbyterian. Read more about Scotland Church Records.
Here are the pre-1855 records that exist for this parish.
Established Church—Old Parochial Registers
|Event Type||Years Covered||FHL Fillm History|
|Births:||1632-1747, 1751-1854||1067793 item 3-7|
1067793 item 3-7
|Deaths;||1632-1637, 1697-1764||1067793 item 3-7|
Condition of Original Registers—
Indexed: For an index to these records, see the Scottish Church Records Index on computer at the Family History Library and family history centers. Some records may be indexed in the International Genealogical Index.
Births: Two leaves are imperfect at 1640. The record is blank May 1646–December 1661, March 1679–February 1682, excluding one entry 1680, May 1697–January 1698, and excluding a few irregular entries, August 1747–December 1751. Mothers’ names not recorded until 1684.
Marriages: Records are blank February 1635–December 1636, and June 1646–August 1659. There are no entries May 1681–July 1682. Marriages are intermixed with births after 1682. They are blank May 1697–October 1698, and defective 1747–1751.
Deaths: Records are blank 1637 to 1697. There are only “Mortcloth Dues” from 1697 on, and they are blank 1711–1751.
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.
Note: The Statistical Account of Scotland for Aberlady 1837 states: “The records of this parish go back two hundred years, but, as happens very commonly throughout Scotland, they do not appear to have been at any time very exactly kept“.
Established Church—Monumental Inscriptions
- Ellery, Craig. Aberlady Kirkyard & Cemetery East Lothian: monumental inscriptions. Edinburgh: Scottish Genealogy Society, 2010. Includes an index and a plan of the kirkyard. (FHL book 941.45/A2 V3e)
Established Church—Kirk Session Records
The Kirk session was the court of the parish. The Kirk session was made up of he minister and the land owners and business men of the parish, chosen to serve on the session. The Kirk session dealt with moral issues, minor criminal cases, matters of the poor and education, matters of discipline, and the general concerns of the parish. Kirk session records may also mention births, marriages, and deaths.
Here is a list of the surviving Kirk session records for this parish:
Records— FHL Film Number
Marriage Proclamations and Baptisms, 1828–1848 0304659 item 2
Minutes 1632–1645, 1697–1718 - with gaps, 1790, 1799, 1803, 1835–1936
Accounts 1711–1738, 1759–1783, 1826–1846
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/4.
Nonconformist Church Records
A nonconformist church is any church that is not the Established church. Read more about nonconformity in Scotland in the article on the Scotland Church Records Union List.
In 1837, the number of Dissenting families did not exceed 12.
Aberlady Secession Church, later United Presbyterian
This congregation originated in a sermon preached in a schoolhouse in 1840. A number of persons resident in the district desired to have regular sermon in the village. The United Associate Presbytery of Edinburgh adopted Aberlady as a preaching station. Attendance grew and it was organized as a congregation in January 1842. The following year they purchased a building and fitted it up as a place of worship.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Film #477618. More details may be given in the source including a list of ministers.
Session Minutes 1846–1894
Managers’ Minutes 1853–1891
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/5.
Civil Registration Records
Government or civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths (also called Statutory records) began on January 1, 1855 in Scotland. Each parish has a registrar's office and large cities have several. The records are created by the registrars and copies are sent to the General Register Office in Edinburgh. Annual indexes are then created for the records for the whole country.
See the article on Scotland Civil Registration for more information and to access the records.
Aberlady was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Dunkeld until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Haddington. Probate records for 1513- 1901 are indexed online at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. You must register on the website but use of the index to probate records, called 'Wills & Testaments,' is free. You may then purchase a copy of the document or, if the document is before 1823, it will be on microfilm at the Family History Library. To find the microfilm numbers, search in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of East Lothian and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Dunkeld.
The library also has some post-1823 probate records for East Lothian. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of East Lothian and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'
Read more about Scotland Probate Records.
Return to the East Lothian Parish List.
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