Scotland - Birth - 1841-1854Edit This Page

From FamilySearch Wiki

Revision as of 14:42, 5 March 2010 by Cottrells (Talk | contribs)

The record categories below are arranged in the order most likely to help you find a birth in this time period.

Contents

Church records: Church of Scotland

The Church of Scotland was the 'state' or 'established' church in Scotland from 1690 onward. It was Presbyterian in form. Individual church units are called parishes. Parish church records fall into two primary categories: parish registers and Kirk session records (see below).

Parish registers contain the baptisms, marriages, and burials recorded by church officials at the time of an event. Baptism records usually give the name of the child, baptism date, names of parents (including the mother's maiden name), place of residence, and father's occupation. Sometimes the child's birth date and the names of witnesses are recorded.

Click here to read more about Church Records.

Indexes: You should begin by looking for your ancestor in an index. All of the extant baptism records and marriage records have been indexed. Read about Indexes in the article on Church Records. Click on the link above.

Accessing the records

For more information about Church of Scotland records and how to access them, read the article on Church Records. Click on the link above.

You can also search the Wiki for a particular parish's information and records page. In the search field above and to the left, type in the name of the parish and click on Search. From the list of possible page titles, select the one for the parish.

If you do not find your ancestor in the records of the Established Church of Scotland, it may be because:

  • Your ancestors were members but were not baptized or were not recorded in the records.
  • Names of your ancestors were misread or misspelled when copied from the film. Try spelling variations.
  • The records for the time period you need are missing or lost.
  • Your ancestors did not belong to the Church of Scotland---they were 'nonconformists.'
  • There were too many possibilities to choose from in the index. You need to find a record that will tell you where your ancestor was born.

Why go to the next record

1. You did not find any information in the above record.
2. You found information but it conflicts with what you know.
3. You found information but would like to find additional details.


Census Records

A census is a count and description of the population. Government census records were taken every ten years starting in 1841. The 1841 through 1901 censuses are currently available. They are especially valuable because they list the majority of the population, are well indexed, and are available at many repositories and online. In these records you may find names of the members of a household, and each person's age, gender, marital status, relationship to the head of the household, occupation, address, and place of birth. Census records can provide clues that may lead you to other records.

Look for your ancestor in as many census as you can and compare information.

Accessing the records

Microfilmed copies of the 1841-1891 census records, and some indexes, are available in the collection of the Family History Library and are listed in the library's catalog.  Do a Place search for your parish of interest and the topics of 'Census' and 'Census-Indexes.' Indexes may also be found under the county name rather than the parish name.

Information about census records for a particular parish can be found in the Wiki on that parish's information page. In the search field above and to the left, type in the name of the parish and click on Search.

Online indexes are available through several websites including these:

  • ScotlandsPeople (complete 1841-1901 indexes and images; use by purchasing points)
  • Ancestry.co.uk (1841-1901 indexes only; annual membership fee required; available for free at many libraries)
  • Censusfinder (free; starting in alphabetical order by county, the list is short but growing)
  • FreeCEN Scotland (free; almost every county has some years and some parishes indexed).

If you do not find your ancestor in census records, it may be because:

  • Your ancestor may have left Scotland before census records began in 1841 or before a particular census was taken.
  • Your ancestor was indexed incorrectly. Look for spelling variations, including other possible first letters, such as an S instead of an L, or an L instead of a T.
  • They were not enumerated, though it is less likely they were missed in more than one census year. Try another year.
  • They died before the census was taken.

Why go to the next record

1. You did not find any information in the above record.
2. You found information but it conflicts with what you know.
3. You found information but would like to find additional details.

Nonconformists: Church records

If you do not find your ancestor in an index to the records of the Established Church of Scotland, it may be because he/she was a 'nonconformist.'  Anyone who did not adhere to the teachings of the Established Church of Scotland was considered a 'nonconformist.'  For our purposes we will divide nonconformists into two basic categories: seceders and dissenters.

  • Seceders were people who left the established Church of Scotland and formed other presbyteries. These include those known as the United Presbyterian Church and the Free Church of Scotland.
  • Dissenters were people who belonged to religious organizations other than Presbyterian. These include Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, Catholics, etc.

To read more about nonconformists, go to the article on the Scotland Church Records Union List.

Nonconformist groups may have kept records of members. These can include baptisms, marriages, minutes of meetings, communion rolls, and other records of value.

Accessing the records

Not many nonconformist church records are available on microfilm and therefore are not in the collection of the Family History Library. Those records that are will be listed in the library's catalog under the town or parish of interest and the topic of 'Church records.' Some of the few records available at the library are included in the various indexes to church records. Read about them in the article on Church Records.

Information about nonconformist church records for a particular parish can be found in the Wiki on that parish's information page. In the search field above and to the left, type in the name of the parish and click on Search.

Most nonconformist church records are held in the collection of the National Archives of Scotland (NAS) or other repositories in Scotland. Other repositories can include regional archives, denominational archives, or individual churches. Contact information for other archives may be found in the directory of the Scottish Archives Network.

If you find that the records are available at an archive, you will need to visit in person or you may wish to hire a researcher in Scotland to search the records for you. The Remote Research page of the NAS website provides a list of professional researchers in Scotland.

If you do not find your ancestor in nonconformist church records, it may be because:

  • Your ancestors were nonconformists but were not baptized or were not recorded.
  • The records for the time period you need are missing or lost.
  • Your ancestors did belong to the Church of Scotland but are not found in the indexes to the records.
  • You do not know where to look for your ancestors in nonconformist church records.

Why go to the next record

1. You did not find any information in the above record.
2. You found information but it conflicts with what you know.
3. You found information but would like to find additional details.  

Civil Registration: Marriage certificate

If you cannot find your ancestor's birth in church records, and he/she was married in Scotland after 1855, you should look for a civil registration marriage record.

Civil registration is the government registration of births, marriages, and deaths beginning 1 January 1855. In these records you may find the names of the bride and groom; their ages (which you can use to determine a year of birth), marriage date and place, marital status, residences, occupations, fathers' names and occupations, and mothers' names and maiden names; whether they were married according to the forms of the Church of Scotland or another church; and the names of witnesses. This information may help you find the record of a birth that occurred before 1855.

Civil registration marriage records cover most of the population and are indexed countrywide. Use the general index to identify and obtain a copy of a marriage certificate.

Accessing the records

The general indexes, and the records for the first twenty years, are available on film at the Family History Library. They are listed in the Family History Library Catalog under the place of Scotland and the topic of Civil Registration. The correct record title is "Registers of births, marriages, and deaths, 1855-1875, 1881, 1891; and general index, 1855-1956." Most of the records of marriages for 1855-1875 are indexed in the International Genealogical Index.

Indexes and images of records are also available on the ScotlandsPeople web site (per-use fee-based).

Why go to the next record

1. You did not find any information in the above record.
2. You found information but it conflicts with what you know.
3. You found information but would like to find additional details.

Civil Registration: Death certificate

If you cannot find your ancestor's birth in church records, and he/she died in Scotland after 1855, you should look for a civil registration death record.

Civil registration is the government registration of births, marriages, and deaths beginning 1 January 1855. In these records you may find the name of the deceased; his or her cause of death, death date and place, rank or profession, marital status, sex, age (from which you can estimate a year of birth), spouse's name, father's name and rank or profession, and mother's name and maiden name; and the signature, relationship, and residence of the informant. This information my help you find the record of a birth before 1855.

Civil registration death records cover most of the population and are indexed countrywide. Use the general index to identify and obtain a copy of a death certificate.

Accessing the records

The general indexes, and the records for the first twenty years, are available on film at the Family History Library. They are listed in the Family History Library Catalog under the place of Scotland and the topic of Civil Registration. The correct record title is "Registers of births, marriages, and deaths, 1855-1875, 1881, 1891; and general index, 1855-1956." Most of the records of births for 1855-1875 are also indexed in the International Genealogical Index.

Indexes and images of records are also available on the ScotlandsPeople web site (per-use fee-based).

If you do not find your ancestor in civil records, it may be because:

  • Your ancestor did not live late enough to be recorded in civil records.
  • Your ancestor left Scotland before the government began civil records.

Why go to the next record

1. You did not find any information in the above record.
2. You found information but it conflicts with what you know.
3. You found information but would like to find additional details.

Kirk Session: Church records

Kirk is the Scottish word for church.  The Kirk session is the lowest ecclesiastical court of the Presbyterian Church, held on the parish level. It consists of the minister and elected elders of the parish. Kirk session records deal with the business and organization of the parish and discipline of members. They may include lists of communicants, accounts of money paid to the poor, testimonials of persons moving from one parish to another, and details about illegitimate births and alleged fathers. Christening and marriage information is sometimes included.

Kirk session records may exist and may fill in gaps in the parish registers. Whether or not you found your ancestor in baptismal and marriage records, you may learn more about them from Kirk session records.

Accessing the records

Most Kirk session records have not been microfilmed and therefore are not in the collection of the Family History Library. Those few that are will be found in the library's catalog under the town or parish of interest and the topic of 'Church records.' Most Kirk session records are held in the collection of the National Archives of Scotland and are classed with the reference number of CH2.

Information about extant Kirk session records for a particular parish can be found in the Wiki on that parish's information page. In the search field above and to the left, type in the name of the parish and click on Search.

Most Kirk session records are held in the collection of the National Archives of Scotland (NAS) and are classes with the reference number of CH2.  Click here to search the Archives' online catalogue.

If you find that the records are available at the Archives, you will need to visit the archives or you may wish to hire a researcher in Scotland to search the records for you.  The Remote Research page of the NAS website provides a list of professional researchers in Scotland.

If you do not find your ancestors in Kirk session records, it may be because:

  • They were not poor, did not serve on the Kirk session, and otherwise did not do anything that would get them mentioned in the Kirk session records.
  • The records for the time period you need are missing or lost.
  • You do not know where to look for your ancestors in Kirk session records.


Return to the strategies pages.

 


 

Need additional research help? Contact our research help specialists.

Need wiki, indexing, or website help? Contact our product teams.


Did you find this article helpful?

You're invited to explain your rating on the discussion page (you must be signed in).