Athelstaneford, East Lothian, Scotland Genealogy
This is a guide to the history and major genealogical records of Scotland as they pertain to the parish of Athelstaneford. To learn more about how to use these records to search for your ancestors, go to the Scotland: Research Strategies.
ATHELSTANEFORD, a parish, in the county of Haddington, 3 miles (N. E. by N.) from Haddington, and 9 (W.) from Dunbar. This place is said to have derived its name from Athelstan, an English warrior, who was killed in battle, together with the greater number of his forces, about the commencement of the ninth century, and was interred here. The old church, which belonged to the monastery founded at Haddington, by Ada, Countess of Northumberland, mother of Malcolm IV., was used till the year 1780, when, falling into a dilapidated state, the present church was erected, in a more convenient situation, for a congregation of 500 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 Film Number|
|Births:||1664-1854||1067794 item 1-3|
|Marriages:||1664-1854||1067794 item 1-3|
Condition of Original Registers—
Indexed: For an index to these records, see Scotland’s People website, a pay-for-view website. The Scottish Church Records Index is also still available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Some records may also be indexed in other FamilySearch collections for Scotland.
Births: This record seems to have been kept with care. One leaf at 1682 is imperfect. Mothers’ names not recorded until March 1673.
Marriages: The record is blank December 1676–July 1681. The margins of the early leaves have suffered from dampness.
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 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:
Note: Available at the National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh, record CH2/18.
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.
There are no known records for this parish.
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.
Athelstaneford was under the probate jurisdiction of the Commissary Court of Edinburgh 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 Edinburgh.
The library also has some post-1823 probate records for East Lothian. Look in the library catalog for the 'Place-names' of Lothian and the subjects of 'Probate Records' and 'Probate Records - Indexes.'
Read more about Scotland Probate Records.
- Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 72-84. Adapted. Date accessed: 04 April 2014.
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