Bothwell, Lanarkshire, Scotland GenealogyEdit This Page

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Scotland Gotoarrow.png Lanarkshire Gotoarrow.png Bothwell

(Parish #625)

This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Bothwell. To learn more about how to use these records to search for your ancestors, go to the Scotland: Research Strategies.



BOTHWELL, a parish, in the Middle ward of the county of Lanark; including the villages of Bellshill, Chapelhall, Holytown, Newarthill, and Uddingston; 8 miles (S. E.) from Glasgow. The name is supposed, by some, to be derived from Both, an eminence, and wall, a castle, terms applied to the parish from the elevated situation of Bothwell Castle above the river Clyde. The church, which is a superior building, in the pointed style of architecture, opened in 1833, extends 72 feet by 45, and contains 1200 sittings. A church has been erected at Holytown, late a quoad sacra parish; and there is a Relief meetinghouse at Bellshill; also a meeting-house at Newarthill, belonging to the United Secession. The members of the Free Church have likewise a place of worship.[1]

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  Click on ‘Browse scanned pages’ then search the parish reports for Bothwell. Also available at the Family History Library.

Census Records

A census is a count and description of the population, taken by the government, arranged by locality and by household. Read more about Scotland Census Records.

Click here for a list of the Family History Library microfilm numbers for the census records of Bothwell.

The 1841 through 1911 censuses of Scotland, indexes and images, are available online at for a small use fee.  The censuses, index only, are also available on for a subscription price.

Church Records

The Established Church of Scotland was Presbyterian. Read more about Scotland Church Records.

Here are the pre-1855 records that exist for this parish with their Family History Library call number.

  Established Church—Old Parochial Records

Years Covered FHL Film Number
Births: 1671-1819 1042964 items 4-5
1791-1854 1042965 items 1-3
1820-1854 - index 1042965 items 1-3
Marriages: 1692-1702, 1761-1790 1042964 items 4-5
1827-1855 - proclamations 1042965 items 1-3
Deaths: 1754-1820 1042964 items 4-5
1820-1829 1042965 items 1-3
Mortcloth Records  1718-1829 British Book 941.43/B5 K22L

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 center.  Some records may be indexed in the Historical Records on
Births: There are no entries September 1671–January 1689 and January 1703–December 1709. A page preceding the latter date is lost. There are Irregular entries frequent 1792–1819. Mothers’ names are not recorded until 1709.
Marriages: Marriage records prior to 1702 are on occasional pages of the register of births for same period. There are no entries December 1702–February 1761, after which date a record of proclamations only. No entries November 1790–1827.
Deaths: Mortcloth Records Family History Library Book: 941.43/B5 K22L
Source: Key to the Parochial Registers of Scotland, by V. Ben Bloxham, pub. 1970. British Book 941 K23b.

Established Church—Kirk Session Records

The Kirk session was the court of the parish. The session was made up of the 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:

Minutes 1707–1713, 1754–1789, 1813–1827, 1837–1947
Accounts 1705–1885
Heritors Minutes 1756–1761
Testificates 1713–1811
Bothwell Friendly Society List of Members 1791–1798, 1825–1831
Statute Conversion Money 1810–1818
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/556.

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 Lists.

Only those founded pre–1855 are listed.

Bothwell Free Church

The congregation was formed here at the Disruption by local adherents of the Free Church. A church and manse were built in 1844. A new church was erected and additions made to the manse in 1860. Bothwell Free Church at first supplied the wants of a wide district, including Bothwell, Uddington and Blantyre. The provision of the churches at these places restricted the membership at Bothwell.
Membership: 1848, 220; 1900, 259.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914.Family History Library Film #918572. More details may be given in the source including a list of ministers.

Records—                                        FHL Film Number
Baptisms             1843–1854, 1881     0889485 item 3
Minutes               1844–1968
Communion Roll   1844–1856
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/476.

Holytown Free Church

A congregation was formed here in 1843. The church was built in 1844 and the manse in 1848. A cemetery was secured in 1849. A school, opened in 1861, was handed to the School Board in 1874. A new church was built in 1880 and a hall in 1893.
Membership: 1848, 125; 1900, 326.
Source: Annals of the Free Church of Scotland, 1843–1900, ed. Rev. William Ewing, D.D., 2 vols. pub. 1914. Family History Library Film #918572. More details may be given in the source including a list of ministers.

Records—                                                FHL Film Number
Baptismal Register               1843–1909      0889485 item 4
Minutes                               1845–1948
Deacons’ Court Minutes        1845–1943
Communion Rolls                 1845–1961
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/478.

Bellshill Relief, later United Presbyterian Church

This was the fifth church which arose in connection with the Relief Presbytery. The immediate occasion of its origin was the settlement of a new and unpopular minister in the parish church of Bothwell. The seceding members of Bothwell joined with seceders from several other parishes and erected a church at Bellshill in 1763. They also established a burying ground on the same property. The church was soon enlarged to accommodate the growing congregation. In 1840 membership stood at 1607. A new church was built in 1846. The congregation joined the United Presbyterian Church in 1847.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Family History Library Film #477618. More details may be given in the source including a list of ministers.

Baptismal Register 1764–1856
Burial Register 1797–1809, 1816–1889
Various Minutes 1832–1940
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH3/1037.

Newarthill Presbyterian Church United

A praying society in Bothwell acceded to the Associate Presbytery in 1739 and met with other seceders in Avondale. When the Avondale group was divided, the seceders in Bothwell met in Hamilton. In 1802 the Bothwell seceders were disjoined into a seperate congregation. The church was built that year in Newarthill. In 1836, the minister and part of the congregation removed to Airdrie and formed a congregation there, and a new minister was obtained for Newarthill. In 1840 the membership stood at 595. The congregation joined the United Presbytery in 1847.
Source: Annals and Statistics of the United Presbyterian Church, by Rev. William MacKelvie, D.D., pub. 1873. Family History Library Film #477618. More details may be given in the source including a list of ministers.

The extent of records is unknown.

Bellshill Congregational Church

This church was formed in October 1841 by members of the church in Hamilton. A church was erected in October 1842. The church was admitted to the Congregational Union but severed its connection in 1844. It joined the Evangelical Union in 1854.
Source: A History of Scottish Congregationalism by Harry Escott, pub. 1960. Family History Library Book 941 K2es. This book includes a list of ministers.

For information about records write to:
The United Reformed Church, Scottish Synod Office
PO Box 189
240 Cathedral Street
Glasgow G1 2BX

Holytown Branch, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter–Day Saints

A branch was organized in Holytown about 1843. It existed in some form until about 1880.

Records—                                  FHL Film Number
Record of Members 1843–1879     0104153 item 3

Other Nonconformists

There was no Catholic Church in Bothwell, but in 1836–1840 there were 118 persons of the Catholic faith living within Bothwell parish as well as 22 Old Light Burghers, who would have broken from the Newarthill congregation in 1805, 17 Episcopalians, 17 Unitarians, 16 Cameronians, and 5 Baptists. They would have attended services in neighboring parishes. New Statistical Account

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.

Probate Records

Bothwell was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Glasgow until 1823, and since then has been under the Sheriff's Court of Glasgow.  Probate records for 1513- 1925 are indexed online at  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 Lanark and the subject of 'Probate records.' Then click on the link to the records of the Commissariat of Glasgow.
The library also has some post-1823 probate records for Lanark. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Lanark and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'

Also see National Probate Registry for England and Wales which contains Scottish Probate Indexes 1858-1966 at

Read more about Scotland Probate Records.


  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 124-151. Adapted. Date accessed: 27 February 2014.

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  • This page was last modified on 4 February 2015, at 18:46.
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